Joining the Order
Are you seeking a spirituality of joy? Are you looking for a community with a contemplative heart that pursues justice, peace, and the loving care of creation? The Third Order of the Society of St. Francis is an Anglican/Episcopal religious order for people of all kinds—single and in committed relationships, lay and ordained—who live by Franciscan principles “in the world.” This is the order founded by Francis himself for those who were drawn to his way but felt called to live it out right where they were.
Francis of Assisi is one of the most cherished saints in the history of the church. But he lived and died eight centuries ago. What is so attractive about his way that people still want to follow it? Francis had a genius for seeing the face of Christ in everyone he met: bishop or leper, Christian or Muslim, friend or stranger. Francis faced some of the biggest questions of his day: How to respond to the growing gap between rich and poor? How to make peace between enemies? What is our relationship to the world God made? Where is God when we suffer? Because these are also the questions of our own day, Francis has much to say to us.
Francis took on the challenges of his time with humility, love, and joy. We in the Third Order today are companions on this same road. We invite you to explore this site and consider whether this way might be for you, too. In the name of Christ and in the words of St. Francis, we wish you peace and all good!
Are you ready to start your Journey?
Stages On The Way
The first step is to contact the formation director. At this point you are officially known as an enquirer.
The Formation Director will email or phone you and put you in contact with the nearest Area Chaplain. This person will send you some initial material to read and invite you to begin writing an account reflecting on your spiritual journey. Where it is possible, you will be invited to attend a meeting with local tertiaries.
If you decide you wish to continue with your enquiry, you contact the Formation Director again, either directly or through the Area Chaplain. The Formation Director will send you a second set of material and invite you to write a Rule of Life. A Novice Counsellor will be assigned to help you from this time.
As an enquirer, you will be in the process of deciding whether God may be calling you to follow Christ within the Third Order.
The process of entry and life within the Order is as follows:
You become -
1. A Postulant:
You become a Postulant once the Formation Director signs your rule. Over a period of not less than six months you will work with a Novice Counsellor before applying to be admitted to the Order as a Novice.
2. A Novice
Once a Novice of the Order, you will formally test the call upon your life through:
- Committing yourself to a discipline of a prayer and obedience to the Rule of the Third Order
- The keeping of a personal rule of life
- Endeavouring to meet with other members of the Order
- Reporting quarterly to an appointed Novice counsellor
- Completing one Novice Study every three months.
3. A Professed Tertiary
A Professed Tertiary is one who has tested a vocation, and been elected to Profession, and intends to serve God in the Third Order for life.
Other matters of interest -
The Novice Counsellor, into whose care the Area Chaplain assigns Novices, is responsible for introducing them to the life of the Third Order and guiding them as they test their calling.
Novices and Professed Tertiaries are required to make an annual financial commitment to the Third Order as part of their stewardship. This is forwarded to the Treasurer at St Francistide (September 17 ~ October 4).
A Third Order newsletter is sent out with items of interest and up-to-date information on addresses, etc.
Each Novice and Professed Tertiary is given a copy of THE MANUAL which includes all matters concerning The Rule and life of the Order.
In most areas there is an area group which meets regularly and members are notified of local area meetings and encouraged to attend regularly.
If, after reading this and other information on this site, you wish to go further please contact the formation director enclosing an Outline story of your life, including what has brought you to this point of enquiry.
Aotearoa New Zealand
Marion Fairbrass TSSF
Regional Formation Director