Third Order of Saint Francis
The Third Order of St. Francis is a third order within the Franciscan movement of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes both congregations of vowed men and women and fraternities of men and women living standard lives in the world, usually married. A parallel Third Order of Saint Francis (TSSF) exists in the Anglican Communion, alongside the 'Society of St Francis' and 'Community of St Francis' (the First Order Franciscans), and the 'Community of St Clare' (the Second Order Franciscan Sisters).
It has been believed that the Third Order of St. Francis was the oldest of all Third Orders, but historical evidence is against such an opinion. For, besides similar institutions in some monastic orders in the twelfth century, we find, before the foundation of St. Francis, a Third Order, properly so called, among the Humiliati, confirmed together with its rule by Innocent III in 1201.
- 1 Early history
- 2 Third Order Secular or Secular Franciscan Order
- 3 Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
- 4 Third Order Regular
- 5 The United States
- 5.1 Congregations of men
- 5.1.1 Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance
- 5.1.2 Congregation of the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis
- 5.1.3 Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, New York
- 5.1.4 Franciscan Brothers of the Holy Cross
- 5.1.5 Franciscan Missionary Brothers of the Sacred Heart
- 5.1.6 Franciscan Brothers of Ireland
- 5.1.7 Little Brothers of St. Francis
- 5.1.8 Franciscan Brothers of Peace
- 5.1.9 Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist
- 5.1.10 Capuchin Tertiary Friars
- 5.2 Congregations of women
- 5.2.1 Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi
- 5.2.2 Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
- 5.2.3 Sisters of St. Francis (Oldenburg, Indiana)
- 5.2.4 Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
- 5.2.5 Franciscan Sisters of Allegany
- 5.2.6 Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
- 5.2.7 Franciscan Missionary Sisters of St. Joseph
- 5.2.8 Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity
- 5.2.9 Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart
- 5.2.10 Sisters of St. Francis (Clinton, Iowa)
- 5.2.11 Sisters of St. Francis (Dubuque, Iowa)
- 5.2.12 Sisters of St. Francis (Peoria, Illinois)
- 5.2.13 Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity
- 5.2.14 Franciscan Sisters of St. Louis, Missouri
- 5.2.15 Sisters of St. Francis of the Sacred Heart
- 5.2.16 Franciscan Sisters, Minor Conventuals
- 5.2.17 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity
- 5.2.18 Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart
- 5.2.19 School Sisters of St. Francis
- 5.2.20 Hospital Sisters of St. Francis
- 5.2.21 The Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph of the Perpetual Adoration
- 5.2.22 Franciscan Sisters of the Poor
- 5.2.23 Franciscan Sisters of Mary
- 5.2.24 Franciscan Sisters of Chicago
- 5.2.25 Franciscan Sisters of St. Kunegunda (English)
- 5.2.26 Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother
- 5.2.27 Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception
- 5.2.28 Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration
- 5.2.29 Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception
- 5.2.30 Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Little Falls, Minnesota)
- 5.2.31 Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Rock Island, Illinois)
- 5.2.32 Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
- 5.2.33 Felician Sisters
- 5.2.34 Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes
- 5.2.35 Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph
- 5.2.36 Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis
- 5.2.37 Sisters of St Francis of the Martyr St George
- 5.2.38 Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate
- 5.2.39 Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa
- 5.2.40 Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist
- 5.2.41 Franciscan Sisters of Peace
- 5.2.42 Franciscan Apostolic Sisters
- 5.2.43 Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother
- 5.1 Congregations of men
- 6 Anglican Communion
- 7 See also
- 8 Books
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The Third Order of St. Francis was, and still is, the best known and most widely distributed and has the greatest influence. About its origin there are two opposite opinions. According to Karl Müller (Church historian) (de) (Die Anfänge des Minoritenordens und der Bussbruderschaften), Mandonnet, and others, the Secular Third Order is a survival of the original ideal of Francis of Assisi, viz. a lay confraternity of penitents, from which, through the influence of the Church, the First and Second Orders of the Friars Minor and the Poor Clares have been detached. According to others, St. Francis merely lent his name to pre-existing penitential lay-confraternities, without having any special connection with or influence on them. The two opinions are equally at variance with the best texts we have on the subject. According to these sources, St. Francis really founded a Third Order and gave it a Rule. If we complete these notices with some early papal Bulls bearing on the penitential movement and with the account given by Mariano of Florence (end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth century) we can state what follows:
The preaching of St. Francis, as well as his own living example and that of his first disciples, exercised such a powerful attraction on the people that many married men and women, even hermits, wanted to join the First or the Second Order.
- Rule of St Francis
This being incompatible with their state of life, St. Francis found a middle way: he gave them a rule animated by the Franciscan spirit. In the composition of this rule St. Francis was assisted by his friend Cardinal Ugolino, later Gregory IX. As to the place where the Third Order was first introduced nothing certain is known. Of late however the preponderance of opinion is for Florence, chiefly on the authority of Mariano of Florence, or Faenza, for which the first papal Bull (Potthast, "Regesta Pontificum", 6736) known on the subject is given, whilst the "Fioretti" (ch. xvi), though not regarded as a historical authority, assigns Cannara, a small town two hours' walk from Porziuncola, as the birthplace of the Third Order. Mariano and the Bull for Faenza (16 December 1221) point to 1221 as the earliest date of the institution of the Third Order, and in fact, besides these and other sources, the oldest preserved rule bears this date at its head.
This rule was published by P. Sabatier and H. Boehmer (see bibliography), and contained originally twelve chapters, to which at the time of Gregory IX (1227) a thirteenth was added. It prescribes simplicity in dress (Chapter 1), considerable fasting and abstinence (Chapters 2-3), the canonical office or other prayers instead (Chapters 4-5), confession and communion thrice a year, and forbids carrying arms or taking solemn oaths without necessity (Chapter 6); every month the brothers and sisters have to assemble in a church designated by the ministers, and a religious has to give them an instruction (Chapter 7); they also exercise the works of charity with their brothers (Chapter 8); whenever a member dies the whole confraternity has to be present at the funeral and to pray for the departed (Chapter 9); everyone has to make his last will three months after his reception; dissensions among brothers and sisters or other persons are to be settled peaceably; if any troubles arise with local authorities the ministers ought to act with the counsel of the bishop (Chapter 10). No heretic or anyone suspected of heresy can be received, and women only with the consent of their husbands (Chapter 11); the ministers have to denounce shortcomings to the visitor, who will punish the culprits; every year two new ministers and a treasurer are to be elected; no point of the rule obliges under pain of sin (Chapter 12). On account of the prohibition of arms and unnecessary oaths, the followers of this rule came into conflict with local authorities, a fact of which we have evidence in many papal Bulls all through the thirteenth century, issued to safeguard the privileges of the Tertiaries (see list of these Bulls in Mandonnet, "Les Règles", 146-47).
Wadding ("Annales Min." ad a. 1321, n. 13) gives another longer redaction of the rule, which is almost identical with the one solemnly confirmed by Pope Nicholas IV through the Bull "Supra montem", 17 August 1289. This last form has for long been considered as the work of St. Francis, whilst Karl Müller denied any connection of St. Francis with it. If we compare the rule published and approved by Nicholas IV with the oldest text of 1221, we see that they substantially agree, slight modifications and different dispositions of chapters (here 20 in number) excepted. Through a most interesting text published by Golubovich (Arch. Franc. Hist., II, 1909, 20) we know now that this Rule of Nicholas IV was approved on the petition of some Italian Tertiaries. Another publication by Guerrini (Arch. Franc. Hist., I, 1908, 544 sq.) proves that there existed in the thirteenth century Third Order Confraternities with quite different rules. On the whole, it can safely be affirmed that until Nicholas IV there was no single Rule of the Third Order generally observed, but besides the one quoted above, and probably the most widely spread, there were others of more local character. The same might be said as to the government of the confraternities. Besides their own officials, they had to have a visitor, who seems to have been usually appointed by the bishop. In 1247 Innocent IV ordered that the Friars Minor were to assume the direction of the Tertiaries in Italy and Sicily (Bull Franc., I, 464), but about twenty years later when St. Bonaventure wrote his question: "Why do not the Friars Minor promote the Order of 'Penitents'?" (Op. om., VIII, 368) the contrary had practically prevailed. Nicholas IV introduced unity of rule and of direction into the Third Order, which henceforward was entrusted to the care of the Friars Minor.
By the 15th century, various individuals living under the Rule of the Third Order were living in small communities, many leading an eremetical life (cf. Celano). They had been living under the same rule as the married penitents leading more routine forms of life. A papal decree of 1447 formed these various communities into a new and separate religious Order with its own Rule of Life. From that point onward, one began to differentiate the members of the Order either as Third Order Regular (i.e., living under a Regula or "Rule"), or as the Third Order Secular for those members of Order who lived in the world. This Order of Regular Tertiaries came to be viewed as equivalent to the friars of the First Order in the latter life of the Franciscan movement.
Third Order Secular or Secular Franciscan Order
If we except a few points—bearing especially on fasts and abstinence, mitigated by Clement VII in 1526 and Pope Paul III in 1547—the Rule as given by Nicholas IV (ca. 1290) remained in vigour till 1883, when Leo XIII, himself a tertiary, through the Apostolic Constitution "Misericors Dei Filius", modified the text, adapting it more to the modern state and needs of the society. All substantial points, however, remained; only the daily vocal prayers were reduced, as also the fasts and abstinences, whilst the former statute of confession and communion thrice a year was changed into monthly communion. Other points of the modified Rule of Leo XIII are of great social and religious importance, such as the prohibition of pomp in dressing, of frequenting theatres of doubtful character, and keeping and reading papers and books at variance with faith and morals. The direction is entrusted to the three branches of the First Order: Friars Minor, Conventuals, Capuchins, and to the Third Order Regular. By delegation, confraternities can be established and directed by any parish priest. Those who for serious reasons cannot join a confraternity may be received as single tertiaries. Finally, great spiritual privileges are granted to all members of the Third Order.
The impact of the Franciscan Third Order Secular upon the feudal society of medieval Europe has been held to be considerable. Among its ways of impacting that era was the prohibition on the brothers of the Order from bearing arms. This stance of pacifism in a society with frequent feuds and wars was upheld by the authority of the Church, and limited the ability of the nobility and towns to demand that all men be subject to serving in battle.
Also, the admission to the Order of members from all stations in life on an equal basis was a mechanism for promoting social change in a period of rigid social stratification.
The Third Order has known many notables among its members. Outstanding among them is Saint Elisabeth of Hungary, though it is not established to all that she ever formally joined; she is, however, Patroness of the Order. Additionally, she is traditionally paired with St. Louis, King of France, declared Patron of the Order.
Tradition holds the Blessed Luchesius of Poggibonsi to have been the first tertiary received by St. Francis, later joined in the Order by his wife, Buonadonna. They chose not to follow the traditional method of conversion of life and separate to enter monasteries. Instead they continued as a married couple, living simple lives marked by generosity to all those in need whom they met.
Among other notable figures were: St. Ferdinand, King of Castile; St. Elizabeth of Portugal, grand-niece of the first St. Elizabeth; St. Rosa of Viterbo; St. Margaret of Cortona; St. Thomas More; Blessed Umiliana Cerchi; Blessed Angela of Foligno; St. Ivo of Kermartin; Saint John Vianney, the famed Curé of Ars, France and St. Joan of Arc. Of names celebrated in history for literature, arts, politics, inventions, etc., Blessed Raymond Lull; Dante, Giotto, Petrarch, Michelangelo, Lucrezia Borgia, Raphael, Cola di Rienzo, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Galvani, Alessandro Volta, Garcia Moreno, Franz Liszt, and Lady Georgiana Fullerton. Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII were members of the Third Order, as also were Pope St. Pius X and Pope John XXIII.
After the adaptation of the Rule by Leo XIII, the Third Order grew more active than ever. In the early 20th century the total number of members was esteemed about two and one half million, spread all over the world. National and local congresses have been held in different countries: seven in the period from 1894 to 1908 in France, others in Belgium, some in Italy, the first General Congress in Assisi (1895), many local ones from 1909 to 1911; others have been held in Spain, the last one at Santiago in 1909; in Argentina the last one at Buenos Aires in 1906; in India, Canada, and in Germany and Austria, in the last two instances in connection with general congresses of Catholics. There exist almost in all civilized languages numerous monthly periodicals which, whilst keeping up the union amongst the different confraternities, serve also for the instruction and edification of its members. The "Acta Ordinis Frat. Min.", XXVI, Quaracchi, 1907, 255-58, gives the names of 122 such periodicals. French periodicals are indicated by P. B. Ginnet, O.F.M., "Le Tiers Ordre et le Prêtre", Vanves, 1911, p. 51 sq.; German periodicals by Moll, O.F.M. Cap., "Wegweiser in die Literatur des Dritten Ordens", Ratisbon, 1911. In Italy even a regular newspaper was founded, "Rinascita Francescana", Bologna, 1910; another in Germany, "Allgemeine deutsche Tertiaren-Zeitung", Wiesbaden, 1911.—We may mention also the special organs for directors of the Third Order, e.g. "Der Ordensdirektor", published at Innsbruck by the Tyrolese Franciscans, "Revue sacerdotale du Tiers-Ordre de Saint François", published by French Capuchins. Both reviews appear once every two months.
In 1978, under the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, a new Rule of Life was written and approved. Under this new Rule, the tertiaries of the Franciscan movement were removed from under the jurisdiction of the friars of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular, and set up as an autonomous Order, with their own Minister General as head of the Order. This was the first time since the 15th century that the Order has been fully independent and self-governing, the first time it has had a single unified, international government. The new Rule focused on the place of the Secular Franciscan as taking part of the work of spreading the Gospel as men and women fully engaged in the sphere of regular—usually married—life in the world. The current (2012) Minister General is Encarnación del Pozo of Spain.
A new set of Constitutions were written and approved in 1990 by the General Chapter of the Order held in Madrid, Spain to clarify the new reality given through the revised Rule. These were done on an experimental basis, so that they could be disseminated through the Order and their viability be clarified. In A.D. 2000, the appropriate agencies of the Catholic Church, in the name of Pope John Paul II, gave the official approval to the final form of the Constitutions, with an effective date of February 8, 2001.
This process brought to a close the renewed status of the Order, now to be known as the Secular Franciscan Order (abbreviated as O.F.S.) in compliance with the challenge of Vatican II. The present active membership of the Order worldwide is about 350,000.
Third Order of St. Francis in Canada
The Third Order of St. Francis was established by the Friars Minor Recollects at Quebec in 1671, and some years later at Three Rivers and Montreal. Considering the sparse population of the country, it was in a flourishing condition. In 1681 a Recollect notes that "many pious people of Quebec belong to the Third Order".
After the cession of Canada to England, the Third Order, deprived of its directors, the Recollect Franciscan friars, seemed to have disappeared gradually, only to flourish anew thirty years after the death at Montreal in 1813 of the last Recollect friar.
The Third Order was re-established about 1840 by Mgr. Ignatius Bourget, Bishop of Montreal. Fervent fellow-labourers helped the holy prelate to spread the Third Order in Montreal, notably Canon J.A. Paré and the Sulpicians C. E. Gilbert and A. Giband. Mgr. Bourget established a fraternity of women, 6 May 1863, and one of men, 13 June 1866; both were directed by the Sulpicians till 1874, by Canon P. E. Dufresne from 1874 till 1881, by the Jesuits from 1881 till 1888, and by the Sulpicians from 1888 till 1890; since then by the Friars Minor. Mgr. Fabre, successor to Bishop Bourget, in a letter (3 September 1882) to the priests and faithful of his diocese, says: "We have in our midst the tertiaries of St. Francis, who are known to you all by the edification they give, and by the good odour of all the virtues which they practise in the world." The Third Order was reintroduced at Quebec almost at the same time as at Montreal. On 19 November 1859, Father Flavian Durocher, O.M.I., received the profession of two women, after a year's novitiate. These were joined by others, until in 1876 Quebec City alone possessed over 200 tertiaries, while in the Province of Quebec several parishes had groups of tertiaries.
Among priests zealous for the spread of the Third Order at this epoch we must name, besides the above-mentioned Montreal priests: Father Durocher, St. Sauveur, Quebec; L. N. Begin, now Archbishop of Quebec; James Sexton, Quebec; Oliver Caron, Vicar-General of Three Rivers; E. H. Guilbert, Léon Abel Provancher, and G. Fraser, all three of the Quebec diocese. Father Provancher was one of the most zealous. In 1866, having received faculties from the General of the Friars Minor, he established a very fervent fraternity in his parish of Portneuf. He propagated the Third Order by his writings. For two years he edited a review, in which he published nearly every month an article on the Third Order, or answered questions appertaining thereto. At that epoch (1876) the brothers' fraternity at Montreal counted 137 members; the sisters, a still greater number. At Three Rivers the tertiaries were less numerous—enough, however, to form a fraternity a little later. Quebec with its 200 tertiaries did not have a fraternity till 1882.
In 1881 the arrival in Canada of Father Frederic of Ghyvelde, O.F.M., gave new spirit to the Third Order. He spent eight months in Canada, and worked actively for the Third Order. He began at Quebec, where he held the Holy Visit prescribed by the rule and admitted 100 new members. At Three Rivers he found "a numerous and fervent fraternity". His visit to the fraternities of Montreal was followed by a notable increase in membership. Shortly afterwards Leo XIII published his Encyclicals on the Third Order. The Canadian bishops, in obedience to the pope's wishes, recommended the Third Order to their clergy and faithful. But only the friars of the First Order could give the Third a fitting development; hence, when Father Frederic returned in 1888, several bishops, among them Bishop Louis-François Richer Laflèche of Trois-Rivières and Archbishop Taschereau, welcomed him as its promoter.
The foundation of a community of Friars Minor at Montreal in 1890 inaugurated a new era of growth for the Third Order. The Franciscans took over the direction of the Third Order at Montreal. The fraternities of other districts were visited regularly, and new ones were formed. The Third Order has since spread rapidly. To-day the Third Order in Canada numbers nearly 200 fraternities with over 50,000 members, under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor. The Capuchins have a small number of fraternities. The Friars Minor have also the direction of 20 fraternities with 5000 members in the Franco-Canadian centres of the United States. All these large numbers of isolated tertiaries give a total of nearly 60,000. These tertiaries are mostly French Canadians. There are very few fraternities for English-speaking tertiaries; of these there are two very flourishing ones at Montreal. It is in the Province of Quebec that the Third Order is most flourishing. Three monthly reviews, treating specially of the Third Order, are published in Canada: (1) La Revue du Tiers Ordre, founded in 1884 by the tertiaries of Montreal, and directed since 1891 by the Friars Minor of that city; (2) The Franciscan Review and St. Anthony's Record, founded in 1905 by the Friars Minor of Montreal; (3) L'Echo de St. François, published since 1911 by the Capuchins of Ottawa. The principal social works of the Third Order in Canada are: three houses of the Third Order in Montreal and one in Quebec, directed by lady tertiaries; a lodging-house and an industrial school at Montreal, directed also by lady tertiaries; several work-rooms for the benefit of the poor; and public libraries, one in Quebec and two in Montreal.
Third Order of St. Francis in the United Kingdom
In its earlier structure, the Third Order Secular comprised ninety-six fraternities, of which forty were under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor and fifty-four under that of the Capuchin friars, with about 12,000 members, among whom included several diocesan bishops, a number of the clergy, and laity of all ranks. In their organization, the British tertiary congregations follow the common rule, but many of them add some corporal works of mercy, reclaiming negligent Catholics, and so forth.
All the tertiaries were governed by a Commissary Provincial, who would be appointed by the Minister Provincial of the friars of the First Order. His duty was to grant the necessary faculties to directors of congregations, to hold visitations, and generally supervise the affairs of the Third Order under his jurisdiction. A national conference of British tertiaries with a view to strengthening and consolidating the order, was held in 1898 at Liverpool in the hall attached to the Jesuit church, and was presided over by the bishop of the diocese. The opening address was delivered by the Archbishop of Paris. A second national conference was held at Leeds. Since the institution of the English national Catholic congress, in 1910, the tertiaries have taken part in these and have had their sectional meeting in the congress.
Today (2009), as with other regions of the world, the members of the Order are self-governing, under the auspices of a National Fraternity. In 2006, Leon Davidson was elected as National Minister of Great Britain.
Of the Third Order in Britain in pre-Reformation days little is known. It is, however, certain that there existed in Scotland several houses of Sisters of the Third Order Regular. Saint Thomas More is honored within the Order as a tertiary of St. Francis, but there seems to be no historical evidence to support this statement.
The Third Order, however, was known in England in the penal days. Fr. William Staney, the first Commissary of the Order in England after the Dissolution, wrote "A Treatise on the Third Order of St. Francis" (Douai, 1617). An interesting fact in connection with the Third Order in England is the appointment in 1857, as Commissary General, of Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Manning, by letters patent, dated 10 April 1857, given by the Minister General of the Capuchin Friars, empowering him to act as "Superior, visitor and Our Commissary of each and all the brothers and sisters of the Third Order Secular dwelling in England". Among notable English tertiaries of modern times, besides Cardinal Manning, may be mentioned Cardinal Vaughan, Lady Herbert of Lea, the late Earl of Denbigh, and the poet Coventry Patmore.
Third Order of St. Francis in Ireland
Unlike England and Scotland, the fraternities of the Third Order Secular in Ireland were almost exclusively attached to churches of the First Order. Under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor were, in the early 20th century, fourteen fraternities, with 9,741 members, and subject to the Capuchin Friars Minor there were four fraternities with 5,100 members.
The United States of America
Established in the United States by the early Franciscan missionaries for the European settlers and soldiers and Indian converts, especially in the Southern and Southwestern states. A fraternity existed at Santa Fe long before 1680. Another fraternity existed in New Mexico almost from the time of the Reconquest (1692–1695). The document stating this fact is a report of the Father Guardian (custos), José Bernal, dated Santa Fe, 17 September 1794. There is no documentary evidence of the existence of a Third Order for lay people as a regularly organized confraternity anywhere else, though we learn from documents that single individuals were termed tertiaries among the Indians. It is most probable, however, that a confraternity existed at St. Augustine, Florida, before the close of the sixteenth century, and at San Antonio, Texas, before the middle of the eighteenth century. The establishment of provinces of the order of Friars Minor brought about the establishment of many confraternities.
There were in the early 20th century 186 fraternities of Franciscan Tertiaries in the USA, with a membership of 35,605. Of these, 142 fraternities with 27,805 members were under the direction of the Friars Minor, 32 with 6800 members under the direction of the Friars Minor Capuchin, and 12 fraternities with 1000 members under the direction of the Friars Minor Conventual. Besides these, during that period, there were many hundreds of tertiaries throughout the US not belonging to any congregation.
With the approval of a new Rule of Life in 1990, as elsewhere in the world, the fraternaties were reorganized as an independent arm of the Franciscan Movement. The National Fraternity of the United States was formed and divided into thirty regions. The current National Minister (2009) is Deacon Tom Bello, S.F.O.
Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis is a Third Order founded in 1996 by members of the Archdiocese of St. Paul in Minnesota. It was established for those who wanted to follow the original Rule of the Order, given by Pope Nicholas IV, as opposed to following the new Rule of Life established by the Third Order of St. Francis in 1990.
Third Order Regular
Origin and development till Leo X
The origin of the Regular Third Order, both male and female, possibly was rooted in the lifetime of St. Francis. His first official biographer, Thomas of Celano, lists hermits as among the categories of lifestyle of those who flocked to follow the Saint. The organized form of this life, though, can be more reliably traced back to the second half of the thirteenth century, but no precise date can be indicated. It was organized, in different forms, in the Netherlands, in the south of France, in Germany, and in Italy. Probably some secular tertiaries, who in many cases had their house of meeting, gradually withdrew entirely from the world and so formed religious communities, but without the three substantial vows of religious orders. Other religious associations such as the Beguines (women) and Beghards (men) in the Low Countries, sometimes passed over to the Third Order, as has been clearly shown.
Towards the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth century some suspicion of heretical opinions fell on some of these free religious unions of the Third Order (bizocchi), as we can infer from the Bull of John XXII "Sancta Romana", December, 1317 (Bull. Franc., V, 134). More than a century later St. John of Capistran (1456) had to defend the Tertiaries in a special treatise: "Defensorium tertii ordinis d. Francisci", printed with other minor works of the saint at Venice in 1580.
Throughout the fourteenth century, the regular tertiaries of both sexes had in the most cases no common organization; only in the following century we can observe single well-ordered religious communities with solemn vows and a common head. Pope Martin V submitted in 1428 all tertiaries, regular and secular, to the direction of the Minister-General of the Friars Minor (Bull. Franc., VII, 715), but this disposition was soon revoked by his successor Pope Eugene IV. We meet thus in the same fifteenth century with numerous independent male congregations of regular tertiaries with the three vows in Italy, Sicily, Dalmatia, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, and in the Netherlands. Contemporaneously there existed sister congregations of the Third Order with solemn vows, for instance, the Grey Sisters of the Third Order, serving in hospitals, spread in France and the Netherlands, whose remarkable statutes of 1483 have recently been published by Henri Lemaître in Arch. Franc. Hist. IV, 1911, 713-31, and the congregation—still existing—founded at Foligno in 1397 by Blessed Angelina of Marsciano (1435). Leo X, to introduce uniformity into the numerous congregations, gave in 1521 a new form to the Rule, now in ten chapters, retaining of the Rule as published by Nicholas IV all that could serve the purpose, adding new points, especially the three solemn vows, and insisting on subjection to the First Order of St. Francis. For this last disposition the Rule of Leo X met with resistance, and never was accepted by some congregations, whilst it serves till the present day as the basis of the constitutions of many later congregations, especially of numerous communities of sisters.
Single congregations after Leo X
The two Italian congregations, the Lombardic and Sicilian, which had constituted themselves in the course of the fifteenth century, were united by Pope Paul III, and since Sixtus V enjoyed entire independence from the First Order. It had then already 11 provinces.
In the seventeenth century the congregations of Dalmatia and the Netherlands (of Zeppern) were united with the Italian family. In 1734 Clement XIII confirmed their statutes. Whilst the French Revolution swept away all similar congregations, the Italian survived with four provinces, of which one was in Dalmatia. In 1906 a small congregation of Tertiary lay brothers in the Balearic Islands and a little later two convents with colleges in the United States joined the same congregation, which in 1908 numbered about 360 members.
The dress is that of the Conventuals, from whom they can hardly be distinguished. The residence of the Minister General is at Rome, near the Basilica of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. After the time of Pope Leo X, the Spanish congregation often had troubles on the question of its submission to the First Order. After Pius V (1568) had put the whole Third Order again under the care of the Minister-General of the Friars Minor, the superiors of the three provinces constituted in Spain could, after 1625, partake at the General Chapters of the Friars Minor and since 1670 they have had even a definitor-general to represent them.
The French congregation, named from their house at Paris "of Picpus", was reformed by V. Mussart (d. 1637), and maintained close ties with the First Order till its extinction in the French Revolution. A well-known member of this congregation is Hyppolit Helyot, the author of an important history of the religious orders. In 1768 it had four provinces with 61 convents and 494 religious.
Other congregations of Tertiaries existed after the fifteenth century in Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, Ireland and England. They perished either at the time of the Reformation or in the French Revolution. We may mention also the Obregonians, the "Bons-Fils" ('Good Sons') in northern France founded in 1615, and the "Penitents gris" at Paris after the sixteenth century, all now extinct. In the nineteenth century some new congregations arose, e.g. the Poor Brothers of St. Francis, the Brothers of St. Francis at Waldbreitbach (Rhine) after 1860, the Grey Friars of Charity ("Frati Bigi"), founded in 1884 at Naples by Ludovic of Casoria, O.F.M. (suppressed by the Vatican in 1971). Most of these modern tertiary communities consist only of lay brothers and depend on their diocesan bishop.
Congregations of Sisters
Whilst Leo X in the reform of the rule had left it free to the congregations to adopt papal enclosure or not, Pius V (1568) prescribed it to all convents of tertiary sisters with solemn vows. Still this order was not carried out everywhere. In this regard the custom prevailed that the Friars Minor refused to take the direction of those convents which had only episcopal enclosure. Besides those already mentioned above, we may add the different offshoots of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and France (there, under the name of Soeurs du Refuge, some of them still exist). The first Ursulines, also, founded by St. Angela Merici (1540), belonged to the Third Order.
In the nineteenth century many of the new congregations adopted the Rule of the Third Order, but most of them have no further connection with the First Order. Many of them have widely varying names; a good many are of mere local character, others again are of international importance. As to their activities, almost all dedicate themselves to works of charity, either in hospitals, homes, or ateliers; others work in schools, not a few are in foreign missions. We can give here scarcely more than a list of the names, with the dates of the foundation.
In Germany there are the Poor Sisters of St. Francis, founded 1845 (1851) by Mother Frances Schervier at Aachen, with a daughter branch in America; the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family, founded in 1857 at Eupen, Diocese of Cologne; the Franciscan Sisters, at Münster, Westphalia, founded in 1850; the Poor Franciscan Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration, at Olpe, Diocese of Paderborn (1857) as well as the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (1860), of whom five died in the noted shipwreck of the SS Deutschland; the Poor Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, at Salzkotten, near Paderborn (1863); the Sisters of Mercy of the Third Order, at Thuine, Roman Catholic Diocese of Osnabrück (1869); the Sisters of Mercy of St. Francis, at Waldbreitbach, Diocese of Trier (1863); the Franciscan Sisters at Nonnenwerth, an island on the Rhine, founded in 1872 at Heythuysen in the Netherlands; Franciscan Sisters of Maria Stern, at Augsburg, whose first foundation can be followed back to the thirteenth century; Franciscan Sisters at Dillingen, Diocese of Augsburg, founded in the fourteenth century; the Poor Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family (also known as the Nardini Sisters), at Mallersdorf, Diocese of Ratisbon (1855); the Congregation of Ursperg (1897); the Franciscan Sisters of Kaufbeuren, Diocese of Augsburg, founded in the fifteenth century, to which had belonged Saint Maria Crescentia Höss (+1744). In the Diocese of Rottenburg, in Württemberg, we note the communities of Bonlanden near Erolzheim (1855); of Heiligenbronn (1857); of the Sisters of Christian Charity, at Reute, founded 1849 at the same place where in the fifteenth century Blessed Elizabeth of Reute, called also the "good Beta" (d. 1420), had professed the Rule of the Franciscan Third Order; the Franciscan Sisters of Sussen (1853). In Baden is noteworthy the Congregation of Gengenbach (1867), since 1876 also in the United States at Joliet, Illinois. At Mainz there is the Convent of Perpetual Adoration (1860).
In Austria-Hungary were the School Sisters of the Third Order (1723), with motherhouses at Hallein, Diocese of Salzburg, at Vienna (III), and at Judenau, Diocese of Sankt Pölten; the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis at Vienna (V), (1857); the Poor School Sisters at Voklabruck, Diocese of Linz (1850); the Sisters of Mercy of the Third Order of St. Francis at Troppau, Archdiocese of Olmütz (1853); Congregation of School Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, at Mahrisch-Trubau, Diocese of Olmütz (1851); the School Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis at Marburg an der Drau, Diocese of Lavant (1864); the Grey Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, at Prague (I), 1856; and three small communities in Tyrol.
In Luxembourg there is the Congregation of Pfaffenthal; the Sisters of Mercy of St. Francis with the mother-house in Luxembourg City, and communities in Sweden and the Carolines. In the Netherlands there are the Congregations of Roosendaal, of Breda, of Heythuysen, all of which have communities in foreign missions; lastly the Congregation of Heerlen. In Belgium there exist, besides the old congregation of the Grey Sisters of Hospitals (see above) at Antwerp, Zoutleeuw, Tienen, Hasselt, and Tongeren, the more recent communities of Ghent (founded 1701), of Hérines, Diocese of Mechelen, of Macon-lez-Chimay, of Opwijk, Diocese of Mechelen (1845).
In Switzerland there once existed many congregations of the Third Order, and even now there are several convents of strict enclosure. Of the active congregations the most noteworthy are the two founded by the Capuchin Theodosius Florentini, viz. the Sisters of the Holy Cross for schools, with motherhouse at Menzingen (1844), with numerous convents outside Switzerland, and the Sisters of the Holy Cross for hospital work (1852), with motherhouse at Ingenbohl.
In France, before the last suppression of convents, there were about fifty communities of the Third Order; the most important was that of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, founded by Mother Helen of the Passion (born Helène de Chapotin de Neuville) (+1904) in India, with motherhouse at Rome and communities spread all over the world.
In Italy there are the Stigmatines, founded near Florence by Mother Lapini (+1860); the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, founded for missionary work in Egypt, with their motherhouse at Rome; the Sisters of Gemona, Italy; finally, the Franciscan Sisters of the Child Jesus, with motherhouse at Assisi. On the whole, the Sisters professing the Rule of the Third Order Regular amount at least to 50,000.
The friars, cloistered nuns and Religious Sisters of the Third Order Regular have produced several saints, most notably: Hyacintha of Mariscotti and Maria Crescentia Höss of Kaufbeuren, and several Blessed: Lucia of Callagirone, Elizabeth of Reute, Angelina of Marsciano, Severin Girault murdered in the September Massacres of Paris and Jeremias Lambertenghi.
The Third Order Regular is represented in Canada by three flourishing institutions:
A. Little Franciscan Sisters of Mary, founded at Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1889 and transferred to Baie-St-Paul, Canada, in 1891; their constitutions were approved in 1903. They follow the Rule of the Third Order Regular. Their habit comprises a brown tunic and scapular, a white hood and wimple, and a white woollen cord; they wear a silver crucifix. Work.—Assistance of the sick, the poor, the aged, of orphans and instruction of the young—in a word, all the works of mercy. Development.—This congregation possesses 8 houses, nearly all in the United States. The mother house is at Baie-St-Paul, Province of Quebec, Canada. The institution numbers 150 professed sisters, 7 novices, 30 postulants, and 8 associates.
B. Franciscan missionaries of Mary, founded in India, and following the Rule of the Third Order Regular. They have six houses in Canada: (1) Quebec, founded 1892; novitiate, perpetual adoration, printing, embroidery, workshop, house of probation for aspirants, patronage, visiting the sick. (2) St. Anne of Beaupré (1894); patronage, workshop, hospitality for pilgrims, visiting the sick. (3) St. Lawrence, Manitoba (1897); boarding-school, parochial schools, dispensary, visiting the sick. (4) Pine Creek, Manitoba (1899); school, model farm, dispensary, visiting the sick. (5) St. Malo, Quebec (1902); day nursery, primary schools, school of domestic economy, dispensary, pharmacy, visiting the sick. (6) Winnipeg (1909); day nursery, embroidery, patronage, visiting the poor and the hospitals. These houses possess 150 sisters, novices included. Since its establishment in Canada, the congregation has had 290 Canadian members, many of whom are now engaged in mission work in China, Japan, India, Ceylon, Congo, Zululand, Natal, Mozambique, Madagascar, and South America. The mother-house of Quebec has founded six others in the United States: Woonsocket in 1904; New York and New Bedford in 1906; Boston in 1907; Providence in 1909; Fall River in 1910.
C. Religious of St. Francis of Assisi, founded at Lyons, France, in 1838. Their object is the care of the sick and of orphans and the education of the young. They were introduced into Canada in 1904, and have at present 5 houses, comprising a hospital, a boarding-school for girls, and model and elementary schools.
The Third Order Regular was represented in England in the early 20th century by nineteen convents of Sisters and in Scotland by six convents, with no communities of Brothers. These convents belong to various congregations, most of which are of English institution. They devote themselves either to education or to parochial works of mercy or to the foreign missions.
Most notable historically amongst these congregations are the convents at Taunton and Woodchester, which represent the English convent of the Third Order established at Brussels, Belgium, in 1621. Their founder was Father Gennings, the brother of the martyr Edmund Gennings. This was, in fact, the first convent of the Third Order Regular, enclosed, founded for English women. The community later on emigrated to Bruges, where it remained until 1794, when, owing to the troubles caused by the French Revolution, it crossed over into England and, after eleven years' residence at Winchester, settled finally at Taunton in Somerset. The congregation was under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor until 1837 when, owing to the dissolution of the Recollect province, it came under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop. In 1860 a second foundation was made at Woodchester.
In 1846, Fr Peter Forbes, a priest from Glasgow visited a convent in Tourcoing, France and invited some of the sisters there to Glasgow. In June 1847, the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception were founded in Newlands, Glasgow to teach the poor children of the area. It was established as an apostolic institute and followed the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St Francis. In 1854, Pope Pius IX approved their constitutions.
No current data is available (2009), but a century ago, the Third Order Regular comprised two houses of Brothers at Clara and Farragher, and eleven in the Archdiocese of Tuam, all devoted to educational work. At Drumshambo the sisters of the order had a convent where Perpetual Adoration was maintained day and night. There was also one convent of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary.
The United States
Congregations of men
Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance
In 1847 Bishop O'Connor of Pittsburgh obtained from the Irish congregation six brothers, who founded a monastery and college at Loretto, Pennsylvania. Pius IX, by a Rescript of 12 Nov., 1847, erected this foundation into an independent congregation under the obedience of the Bishop of Pittsburgh. This congregation in 1908 joined the Italian congregation, and together with the community at Spalding, Nebraska, which in 1906 had joined the Italian congregation, was erected into a province, 24 September 1910. Houses, 4; colleges, 2; religious, 62; novices, 5. (See below.)
There are currently two provinces of the Order in the United States. The larger, that of the Sacred Heart, is headquartered in Loretto, Pennsylvania. It operates parishes throughout the nation, as well as the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.
Province of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Prior to 1906, three separate and independent communities of men of the Third Order Regular existed in the United States; all of them were institutes of lay Brothers dedicated to teaching and other works of charity. These were located in: Brooklyn, New York (1858); Loretto, Pennsylvania (1847); and Spalding, Nebraska, which came about from a school founded for Native American boys (ca. 1882), at the request of Bishop John Ireland. The communities at Loretto and Brooklyn had been founded from Mount Bellew Monastery, in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland at the request of the Bishops of Brooklyn and Pittsburgh, respectively. The community in Nebraska was a branch of the Brooklyn community.
As communities of lay Brothers, they were under the authority of their local bishops, who acted canonically as the Superior General of the community within their diocese. The Brothers, however, came to desire a closer connection with the wider Franciscan Order. Additionally, due to the desire of some of the Brothers for ordination, as well seeing a need to have the pastoral care of both the Brothers and their students coming from within their community, Brothers Raphael Brehenny, O.S.F., and his successor, Brother Linus Lynch, O.S.F., the Superiors of the Brooklyn community, asked the bishop of that diocese for permission to have some of the members of that community ordained as priests. This request the bishop refused, as the community had been introduced into the diocese for the care of parish schools, and the bishop feared that in the event of its members becoming priests this work would suffer. Thus, in May 1906, a petition was then sent to the Minister General, the Most Rev. Fr. Angelus de Mattia, T.O.R., asking for union with the friars of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis in Italy. The Bishop of Brooklyn, however, worked actively to block this effort, and it was halted.
In November of that same year, the Spalding community made the same request to Fr. Angelo, the Minister General in Rome. In their case, however, the local bishop was in accord with their desire and gave his authorization for such a merger. The following December 8, the Minister General, Fr. Angelo, signed a Decree of Union of the Spalding community with the Third Order Regular. In January 1907, he formally petitioned the Holy See to allow the establishment of a community of the Order in Nebraska, and to receive the vows of any qualified Brothers there. This was granted immediately, with the official approval and blessing of Pope Saint Pius X being formally declared that following November. The Brothers were received into the Order by Fr. Stanislaus Dujmoric, T.O.R., of the Province of Dalmatia, who had been sent as the official Delegate of the Minister General to supervise the merger.
As their own union could not be effected, some of the Brooklyn Brothers determined to ask for a dispensation from their religious vows in order to join the friars in Nebraska. In the Spring of 1907, several left New York and transferred to Spalding. The former superior, Bro. Raphael, appears to have been among them. That July, led by Bro. Linus, 23 Brothers also left Brooklyn and went to Spalding. At that point, the Nebraska community had increased from the initial size of six to thirty. Relying heavily upon the teaching experience of the New York Brothers, the community opened Spalding College in January 1908.
During that year of upheaval for the Brooklyn foundation, the diocesan community of Franciscan Brothers at Loretto—now in the new Diocese of Altoona—also sought incorporation with the Third Order Regular friars with the approval of their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Eugene A. Garvey. This was done on December 29, 1907. Permission for their admission received papal approval on May 22, 1908, and the union was achieved on May 28. To oversee this process, the Minister General in Rome sent Fr. Jerome Zazzara, T.O.R., as his Delegate, assisted by Fr. Anthony Balastieri, T.O.R.. Brother Raphael and three other Brothers came from Spalding to help in the process.
At the request of Bishop Garvey, who was struggling to meet the needs of Italian-speaking Catholics, Fr. Jerome accepted charge of the Church of St. Anthony of Padua at Johnstown, Pennsylvania in November 1909 as a permanent ministry of the friars, appointing his fellow Italian, Fr. Anthony, as pastor. With the establishment of a small community of friars in that parish, there now existed three separate communities in the United States, the minimum canonically required for an independent Province. The following month, Fr. Jerome also accepted the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Altoona, Pennsylvania, and took on the office of pastor himself.
The four houses in the United States were erected into a province, 24 September 1910, under the title of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr. Jerome was appointed as the first Minister Provincial. The Archbishop of Chicago later gave the friars charge of Sts. Peter and Paul Slavic Church in that city, and a new college was to be opened at Sioux City, Iowa, in 1912. At that point, the American Province had five friaries, two colleges, sixty-five professed members, and twenty novices and postulants. Fr. Raphael Brehenny, original Superior of the Brooklyn Brothers, was elected the first native Minister Provincial in 1913.
The provincial motherhouse is at St. Francis University, Loretto, Pennsylvania
Province of the Immaculate Conception
The other province, Immaculate Conception, has its headquarters at St. Bernadine Monastery in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. This province came about as the result of a dispute over the eligibility of the Italian friars to vote in the Provincial Chapter of 1918. The Minister General was unable to oversee the proceedings due to the hostilities between the United States and Italy during World War I. He thus appointed an American friar as his Delegate, who oversaw that Chapter. This friar declared that the foreign friars still belonged to their Italian provinces and thus were ineligible to vote in the Chapter. These friars, along with some Americans, refused to accept the election of a new Minister Provincial which took place. This resulted in the newly elected Minister Provincial and the then-current one both claiming the office.
The matter was referred to the Sacred Congregation in Rome. That office declared that, for the sake of peace, a new Chapter should be held under the presidency of a friar from another Province, and that the Italian friars should declare their intention to transfer formally from their original Provinces. That Chapter, held in 1919, resulted in the same results as the previous one. By that time, however, discontent among the Italian friars and others was so deep that the Italian friars and their supporters petitioned to form a separate Commissariat (a semi-autonomous division in the Order). This was approved in 1920, and the new Commissariat numbered thirteen friars—five Italians and eight Americans. Fr. Jerome was appointed Commissary Provincial.
Five years later, the Dalmatian friar, Fr. Stanislaus, who had supervised the union of the Spalding community into the Order was now Minister General. He raised the Commissariat to the status of a Province. Fr. Jerome was elected the first Minister Provincial.
The Province still staffs the two original parishes in Pennsylvania, as well as two in Minnesota. It also runs retreat centers in Orlando, Florida and West Virginia. The current Minister Provincial (2010) is the Very Rev. J. Patrick Quinn, T.O.R.
Congregation of the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis
Founded Christmas Day 1857, at Aachen by John Hoever for the protection and education of poor, homeless boys, it was introduced into the United States in 1866.
Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, New York
Founded 31 May 1858, by two brothers from the Irish congregation, Pope Pius IX, by a Rescript of 15 Dec., 1859, erected the community into an independent religious congregation. While they existed as a diocesan congregation, the bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn served for over a century as their Superior General. They run a college, several high schools and teach at a number of elementary schools, as well as a retreat house and summer day camp in both the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre, which together serve Long Island.
In 1989, Pope John Paul II raised the congregation to one of Pontifical Right, making them independent of the local bishop, almost entirely subject only to the Holy See. As a result, they have begun to serve in other parts of the United States. They currently are the largest congregation of lay Brothers in the United States.
Franciscan Brothers of the Holy Cross
Starting as a member of the Third Order Secular in Germany in 1862, Brother James Wirth founded this community as an outgrowth of his service to the local town, Niederbreitbach, in order to educate orphans and to take care of the poor, the sick, the suffering and willingly respond to the needs of the time. The Brothers were invited to come to the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois in 1928 to establish a Monastery and a Trade School. As master craftsmen, they worked at laying the foundation of an industrial trade school.
This developed to the foundation of Brother James Court, which rose from the foundation laid by the early pioneer Franciscan Brothers to become what it is today. As an intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled licensed by the State of Illinois, it serves as an integral part of the state's continuum of care for meeting the needs of the developmentally disabled.
Franciscan Missionary Brothers of the Sacred Heart
Founded in Poland in 1888, this congregation of Brothers focuses on medical care. They established a longterm medical care facility in the U.S. in 1927 to extend their service. Located in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, they now operate a hospital and nursing home for mentally disadvanted men and boys, as well as Price Memorial Hall, a nursing home open to both men and women.
Franciscan Brothers of Ireland
The Irish congregation of Brothers from which the friars of the T.O.R. sprang, has maintained a presence in the U.S. since the 1970s. Originally working both in the Bronx, New York and California, they now serve only on the West Coast.
Little Brothers of St. Francis
Founded in Boston, Massachusetts by Brother James Curren in 1970, this small community arose from Brother James' desire to combine an outreach to the homeless of the city with his desire for a contemplative life among the poor. He was determined to do this as a lay Brother, in a community of Brothers.
Franciscan Brothers of Peace
The Franciscan Brothers of Peace were founded in 1982 by Brother Michael Gaworski, who desired to live an authentic and radical form of Religious life. Joined by another student at his seminary, he became active in the Pro-Life movement. Their common interests and desire to protect the innocent led to a close friendship. Their efforts led to their co-founding a new Pro-Life organization called Pro-Life Action Ministries in 1981, which grew to become one of the largest direct–action, pro–life apostolates in the United States. Being a tremendously gifted orator, Brother Michael became a nationally recognized Pro-Life speaker and was respected for his spiritual insight regarding right to life and sanctity of life issues.
In 1982, he attended a Charismatic conference, where he felt called to a vocation in a religious community. This led Brother Michael and a companion to seek a place to start their community. As their site says, they stumbled upon an apartment, where the previous occupant had left a plaque saying,
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.
This was taken as a sign that they were start their community there. Similar to the Little Brothers in Boston, they followed a life of prayer and community service in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist
Founded as a companion community to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist (themselves founded in 1973), the Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist engage in manual labor, working with our hands, working with the earth, sharing the work of land maintenance and creative work projects with one another and with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and lay associates.
Each Brother is assigned to work in a professional field suited to his personal talents and education. In this way, the mission of the Brothers is carried out to the people with whom the brothers work. As the community grows, we envision Brothers collaborating with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in each of their centers and apostolates in the U.S and abroad.
We see work - whether manual, intellectual or professional - as an opportunity to share as co-creators in building the Church. As we expend energy by giving ourselves to hard work, we in turn become energized through the transforming power of communal effort and interaction with the elements of creation.
These friars, formally titled the Capuchin Tertiary Friars of Our Lady of Sorrows, and more commonly as the Amigonian Friars, were founded in Spain in 1889 by the Capuchin Friar Luis Amigó Ferrer, later bishop, in Spain. They were established through Amigó's desire to help the young boys he saw caught up in the Spanish penal system. They soon established reform schools and trade schools to help these boys. In 1986 they took over the administration of two youth facilities in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Congregations of women
(note: unless noted otherwise, all data is from 1913)
Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi
Congregation with motherhouse at St. Francis, Wisconsin. Founded in 1849 by a group of six women and five men, all members of the Third Order Secular, from small village of Ettenbeuren (now part of the Municipality of Kammeltal in Bavaria). They came at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. John Martin Henni, Bishop (later Archbishop) of Milwaukee, to serve the German population of the frontier region. The women settled south of the bay of Lake Michigan, and started forming a religious congregation. Its constitutions were compiled in 1852 by the Rev. Michael Heiss, and approved by Bishop Henni.
In 1856, they were asked by Henni to move to Milwaukee in order to provide the domestic service for the seminary he was building for German-speaking seminarians. By 1860, the original group of six women from Germany had been overwhelmed by the work and discouragement and returned to Europe. The eleven Sisters who remained, led by Mother Antonia Herb, formed the new congregation, and continued caring for the seminary until the late 1870s, when they were allowed to teach children by the now-Archbishop Henni.
In 1864, the motherhouse was moved to Jefferson, Wisconsin. The Sisters there confirmed their desire to teach, and also wished to introduce the practice of Perpetual Adoration. By 1868, Heiss had become the first Bishop of LaCrosse, Wisconsin and invited the Sisters to move their motherhouse there, which was accomplished in 1871. In the new diocese they were now under the authority of that bishop, and they were finally authorized to launch into education.
As the Sisters spread out as teachers across the rural regions of Wisconsin, vocations grew and the congregation enjoyed a long period of continuous growth. In 1873, Mother Antonia directed the Sisters in Milwaukee to cease the domestic work and to relocate to LaCrosse. Thirty-seven Sisters chose to remain due to their desire to continue serving at the seminary, and they petitioned to form a separate congregation. The congregation based in LaCrosse became known as the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. This congregation was affiliated to the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, and Pope Pius X, on 6 December 1911, gave it its definite approbation.
In 1998, the Sisters of this congregation joined with the other two congregations which had developed out of this foundation to mentor the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis - Cameroon in Africa. In 2001, the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore merged with this congregation.
Sisters, 303; novices, 22; postulants, 30; academy, 1; orphanage, 1; institute for deaf mutes, 1; for feeble minded, 1; schools, 36; pupils, 4500.
Congregation with motherhouse at St. Rose of Viterbo Convent, La Crosse, Wisconsin. In 1849, six men and six women, all members of the Third Order Secular, came from Bavaria at the invitation of Bishop John Martin Henni to serve the German-speaking population of this frontier area. The women soon desired to form a formal religious community. To this end, Constitutions was complied for them by the Bishop's assistant, the Rev. Michael Heiss in 1853, and the Sisters were constituted as the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. In 1856, the Sisters were assigned by Bishop Henni to perform domestic work at the seminary he had founded for German-speaking seminarians in Milwaukee. By 1860, the German foundresses had been overwhelmed by the work and discouragement and returned to their homeland. The eleven remaining Sisters chose Sister Antonia Herb as their new Mother Superior.
When Heiss became the founding Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse in 1869, the Sisters were invited to move their motherhouse to that city. They agreed and this move was accomplished in 1871. In La Crosse, under the authority of Heiss, the Sisters were finally able to become educators, as many of them had wished. They quickly spread across the region as teachers in small, rural parish schools. This, in turn, led to an influx of candidates to the Congregation.
In 1873, Mother Antonia, now the Superior General, had come to feel that the domestic work at the seminary was no longer an appropriate service, and directed the Sisters in Milwaukee to discontinue that work and to relocate to La Crosse. Many of the Sisters at the seminary chose to remain, and the two groups separated into independent congregations. This congregation was made up of 65 Sisters, 12 novices and 12 postulants. The practice of Perpetual Adoration they had sought to introduce as part of their community's life was authorized in 1878.
As of 2011, there are about 275 Sisters in the Congregation. They serve as teachers, health care workers and pastoral assistants in 31 dioceses of the United States, as well as in Canada, Mexico and Zimbabwe, Africa. They have also served in China and El Salvador. They share with the other two congregations stemming from the same founders in mentoring the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis - Cameroon in Africa.
Sisters of St. Francis (Oldenburg, Indiana)
Congregation with motherhouse at Oldenburg, Indiana. Founded in 1851 by Mother Theresa Hackelmeier (1827–1860), who braved the journey to the United States from a convent in Vienna, Austria, alone, after her companion chose to return. They had set out at the request of the Rev. Francis Joseph Rudolf, the pastor in Oldenburg. His goal was the care and education of the German-speaking children in his parish and the many children left orphaned by a large cholera outbreak in 1847. Three other women soon joined her and the foundation for a new congregation was laid. Its rules and constitutions were soon approved by the Holy See.
Indiana had established state support of community-based schools before her arrival, so education became a major focus of the small community, both in Oldenburg, and quickly in other local communities. By the time of Mother Theresa's untimely death in 1860, the community had already established a mission in St. Louis, Missouri as well having to rebuild their convent after a devastating fire in 1857. By the 1890s they had spread out to schools in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and Kansas as well. In 1892 they established their first school for Negro children in a segregated Indianapolis. Shortly after that, they took on the care of children sent by an overflowing New York Foundling Hospital in New York City.
Sisters, 536; novices, 41; postulants, 7; schools, 67; pupils, 12,273.[clarification needed]
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
The congregation with a motherhouse in Aston, Pennsylvania, was founded by three devout women, Maria Anna Boll Bachmann (Mother Mary Francis), Barbara Boll (Sr. Margaret), Anna Dorn (Sr. Bernardine). An immigrant from Bavaria, Germany, Maria Anna Boll Bachmann (later known as Mother Francis) became a widow with three children and was pregnant with a fourth child when her husband Anthony was mortally wounded by Nativists in Philadelphia, PA, in 1851. To support herself and her young family, Anna operated a small shop and hostel for immigrant women while her sister, Barbara Boll, sewed for a tailor. Both Anna and a young guest in the hostel, Anna Dorn, a novice in the Franciscan Third Order Secular, concurred with Barbara’s wish to found a religious congregation. They sought the advice of Rev. John Hespelein C.Ss.R., who wrote to Bishop John Neumann in Rome. Bishop Neumann asked Pope Pius IX for permission to bring German Dominican Sisters into his diocese but was advised by the Pope, also a member of the Franciscan Third Order Secular, to establish a congregation of Franciscan Sisters in his own diocese.
Seeing God’s hand in the letter and the advice, Bishop Neumann instructed the women, provided spiritual guidance, and accepted them into religious life. On Easter Monday, April 9, 1855, the Bishop invested the three founding members in the habit of St. Francis, giving them new names: Maria Anna Boll Bachmann (Sr. Mary Francis), Barbara Boll (Sr. Margaret), Anna Dorn (Sr. Bernardine). Sister Mary Francis was elected leader of the new congregation: The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. Consistent with the practice of the times, as leader, she was given the title “Mother.”
The sisters served the people of God wherever a need existed. Initially, in addition to hosting immigrant women, the sisters nursed the sick and poor while supporting themselves and the sick by piecework sewing. At the time of the smallpox epidemic of 1858, they continued their care of the sick in patients’ homes or, when necessary, in their small convents. During that same year they responded to the need for teachers at St. Alphonsus Parish in Philadelphia. The following year, Mother Francis agreed that the sisters would staff an orphanage in Philadelphia but because of various difficulties, she withdrew them less than a year later. For the fledgling congregation, the year 1860 was memorable for its challenges and blessings. In January, Bishop Neumann died suddenly. In March, responding to the request of Franciscan Friars to teach German immigrant children in New York, nine sisters left Philadelphia for Syracuse. Later in the year, Bishop Neumann’s successor, Bishop James Wood, separated the Syracuse mission from the Philadelphia foundation, creating a first daughter congregation with Sister Bernardine as its Superior General. In December 1860, Mother Francis opened the congregation’s first hospital, St. Mary’s in Philadelphia, because the sisters’ convents could not accommodate all of their patients. The sisters themselves had few resources apart from their courageous spirit and their trust in God’s providence. These proved sufficient, because many people of Philadelphia supported their ministry in a variety of ways. The early operation of St. Mary’s Hospital demonstrates this collaboration. The sisters rented a house (the hospital) for which, Mr. Bernard Hulseman paid the rent for five years. In the hospital, Dr. J.H. Grove, a Quaker, provided medical care free of charge because he had been so impressed with the sisters’ compassion and commitment during the smallpox epidemic.
During the next step in the journey, Mother Francis sent sisters to Buffalo, NY in response to the plea of the Redemptorist priests to serve the people of this rapidly growing city. In late 1862, while visiting the sisters in Buffalo, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Exhausted from travel and ravaged by the disease, Mother Francis died on June 30, 1863, at the age of thirty-eight. With the transfer of sisters to Syracuse and Buffalo (which was later separated in the autumn of 1863 with Sister Margaret as Superior General), the congregation in Philadelphia consisted of only nine professed sisters and five novices.
Mother Agnes Bucher became the second Superior General and is often called the second foundress because of the achievements during her long leadership of forty-three years. When she became superior in 1863, her 13 sisters staffed one hospital and one school in one diocese. By the end of her tenure in 1906, there were nearly 800 sisters, serving in 88 missions, in 19 dioceses from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. Ministries included 12 hospitals, nine Native-American missions, six academics, seven orphanages, two homes for the aged, four African-American missions, and many elementary and secondary schools. Throughout their history the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia have been dedicated to serve those who are poor, directly and indirectly. In the Mission Statement of 1986, they reaffirmed their commitment to minister to those who are poor, marginal, and oppressed. In 1996, they recommitted themselves to be “willing to take the necessary risks to be a healing, compassionate presence in our violent world, especially with women, children, and those who have no voice.”
In the 1870s the sister’s motherhouse was transferred from Philadelphia to Glen Riddle where it remains. Adjacent to the motherhouse is Neumann University which was began by the sisters in 1965. Today, the sisters serve people of God in 22 states and in Haiti, Africa, and Ireland. They serve in a variety of ministries in a multitude of settings which include prayer ministry; education at all levels; spiritual and pastoral care; healthcare; elderly services; parish and diocesan ministry; ministry with immigrants, refugees, and those who are homeless, poor, or living with AIDS. They are also present in counseling, advocacy, and leadership in national religious organizations. 
By and from this congregation were established the following independent congregations:
- Motherhouse at St. Anthony's Convent, Syracuse, New York, 1860. Sisters, 173; novices, 9; candidates, 6; schools, 17; pupils, 4500; hospitals, 3; home for aged, 1; home for children, 1; convents at Hawaiian Islands, 4. (see below);
- Motherhouse at 337 Pine Street, Buffalo, New York in 1861. Sisters, 277; novices, 30; postulants, 16; asylums for aged, 3; schools, 30; pupils, 6540; orphan asylum, 1; hospitals, 2. (see below);
- Motherhouse at Mt. Alvernia, Millvale Station, Pennsylvania, in 1868. Sisters, 210; novices, 17; postulants, 13; schools, 14; pupils, 6429; orphan asylum, 1; hospital, 1; home for ladies, 1. (see below);
- Motherhouse at Tiffin, Ohio. Founded in 1867 by Rev. J. L. Bihn. Sisters, 56; novices, 9; postulants, 4; hospital, 1; orphan asylums, 2; homes for aged, 2; schools, 13.
- Motherhouse at Bay Settlement, Wisconsin, founded 6 Dec., 1867. Sisters, 35.
- Motherhouse at Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester Co., New York, 1893. Legal title: Sisters of St. Francis, Conventuals of the Third Order of St. Francis of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin. They were founded by the Rev. John Drumgoole, who spent his life caring for the orphans of New York City. Sisters, 182; novices, 19; postulants, 9; academy, 1; schools, 6. (see below)
Merger into a new institute
During the late 1970s, members of these different congregations started sharing and working together, where possible. By 1999, the Superiors General of the three congregations in New York declared that they wanted to explore a shared future. A task group was formed with participants from the three congregations to study the possibility of this. As a result of this work, a vote for the merger of the three congregations was taken on 29 November 2003. The resolution passed. Thus on 14 July 2004, the congregations of Buffalo, Hastings-on-Hudson and Syracuse were merged into a new institute, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, which is based in Syracuse, New York.
In February 2005, the Sisters of the Millvale congregation requested to merge with the new institute. After a process of study, this was approved by the member of both groups and took effect on 30 September 2007.
Congregation with motherhouse at St. Elizabeth's Convent, Allegany, New York. Founded in 1857 by the Very Rev. Father Pamfilo of Magliano, O.F.M., who was the founder of St. Bonaventure University, and pastor of St. Francis of Assisi's Church (New York City).
Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Provincial Motherhouse in Wheaton, Illinois. Founded in Olpe, Germany in 1860 by Mother Clara Pfaender to care for the sick poor. They came to the U.S.A. in 1872 in response to request to a call for medical care for the German immigrant community here. Five Sisters were sent in 1875 to add the fledging mission, but all perished in a much-noted shipwreck commemorated by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., in the famous poem "The Wreck of the Deutschland". They established hospitals, schools, orphanages and other fields of ministry.
Franciscan Missionary Sisters of St. Joseph
Motherhouse at Mill Hill, London, England, thus more commonly known as the Mill Hill Sisters. Founded 1883, introduced into the United States in 1952. Provincial Motherhouse is in Albany, New York. Sisters, 58; industrial school, 1; parochial schools, 4; pupils, 765.
Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity
Founded by Mother M. Gertrude and two Sisters from the general motherhouse in Gemona, Italy, who, at the request of Father Andrew Feifer, O.F.M., came to this country in 1865. Sisters, 284; novices, 18; postulants, 15; academy, 1; schools, 18; day nurseries, 3; institution for destitute children, 1; home for working girls, 1; children under the care of sisters, 7768
Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart
This congregation was founded in 1861 in Udine, Italy by the Servant of God, the Venerable Father Gregory Fioravanti, O.F.M., inspired by and with the collaboration of Lady Laura Laroux, Duchess of Bauffremont. The Duchess had been seeking to found a monastery, after an unhappy marriage, and happened to meet Friar Gregory. They founded this institute to train religious Sisters for service among the poor, both in Italy and abroad. The congregation established itself in the United States in 1865.
Sisters of St. Francis (Clinton, Iowa)
Congregation with Motherhouse at Mt. St. Clare, Clinton, Iowa. Founded in Kentucky in 1867 by Dom Benedict Berger, O.C.S.O., Abbot of Gethsemani Abbey to teach in the schools of the territory for which the abbey had the pastoral care, and approved by the Rt. Rev. Peter Joseph Lavialle, Bishop of Louisville, Kentucky. Due to difficult economic circumstances in which they found themselves, in 1890 the Sisters accepted the bishop's invitation to relocate to the Diocese of Dubuque, Iowa. Sisters, 130; novices and postulants, 40; hospital, 1; schools, 16; pupils, 2590.
Sisters of St. Francis (Dubuque, Iowa)
Congregation with Motherhouse at St. Francis's Convent, Dubuque, Iowa. Founded in 1876 by Mother Xaveria Termehr and Sisters from the House of Bethlehem, Herford, Germany, who, on account of the infamous "May laws", were compelled to leave Germany. Sisters, 399; novices, 34; postulants, 20; orphan asylums, 2; industrial school, 1; academy, 1; home for aged, 1; schools, 43; pupils, 6829.
Sisters of St. Francis (Peoria, Illinois)
Congregation with Motherhouse at St. Francis's Hospital, Peoria, Illinois; founded in 1877 by the Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding, Bishop of Peoria, and Sisters from the House of Bethlehem, Herford, Germany. Sisters, 163; novices, 38; postulants, 26; hospitals, 10; patients, 5320.
Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity
Congregation with mother-house at Stella Niagara, near Lewiston, New York. Established in 1874 by Mother M. Aloysia and three sisters from Nonnenwerth, near Rolandseck, Rhenish Prussia, Germany. Sisters 253; academies, 5; schools, 18; pupils, 6348; orphan asylum, 1; Indian schools, 2; pupils, 577; foundling-house, 1.
Franciscan Sisters of St. Louis, Missouri
Motherhouse, Grand Avenue and Chippewa Street, St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1872 by sisters from the general mother-house at Salzkotten, Germany. Sisters, 224; hospitals, 6, schools, 1; orphan asylums, 2; house of providence, 1; convent, 1;
Sisters of St. Francis of the Sacred Heart
Motherhouse at Mercy Hospital, Burlington, Iowa. Sisters, 22; hospital, 1.
Franciscan Sisters, Minor Conventuals
Congregation with mother-house at St. Joseph's Convent, Buffalo, New York. Sisters, 58; novices, 16; postulants, 21.
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity
Congregation with motherhouse at Holy Family Convent, Alverno, Wisconsin. Founded in 1869 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by the Rev. Joseph Fessler, it was affiliated to the Order of Friars Minor Conventual 19 March 1900. Sisters, 303; novices, 40; postulants, 10; hospitals, 2; home for aged, 1; schools, 53; pupils, 8500.
Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart
Congregation with motherhouse at St. Joseph's Hospital, Joliet, Illinois. Founded in 1867 at Avilla, Indiana, by Sisters from Germany. Sisters, 325; novices, 40; postulants, 12; hospitals, 10; home for aged, 1; orphan asylum, 1; schools, 9.
Provincialate located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They were founded in 1873 by three Sisters who left their small community in Schwarzach, Baden-Württemberg, German Empire, led by Mother Alexia Höll, and settled in New Cassel, Wisconsin. Their new community was formally established on April 28, 1874. The number of Sisters grew, until they were allowed to form a separate Province of the congregation in 1907. They established schools, hospitals and sanitaria throughout the nation. As of 2011, the province numbers 625 Sisters, located in 24 states.
Hospital Sisters of St. Francis
Congregation with Provincial Motherhouse at St. John's Hospital, Springfield, Illinois. Founded in 1875 by sisters from the General Motherhouse in Münster, Germany. Sisters, 299; novices, 29; postulants, 11; hospitals, 12.
The Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph of the Perpetual Adoration
Congregation with Provincial Motherhouse at St. Francis Convent, Lafayette, Indiana. Introduced into this country in 1875 by sisters from the general mother-house at Olpe, Germany. Founded by Venerable Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel on July 20, 1863. Sisters, 613; novices, 35; postulants, 21; academies, 3; orphan asylum, 1; home for aged, 1; schools, 36; hospitals, 18; high schools, 2.
Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, these Sisters were established in this country in 1868, as part of the work of the Poor Sisters of St. Francis founded in Aachen, Germany, by the Blessed Mary Frances Schervier. Within seven years of the congregation's founding, they came to New York City, New Jersey and Ohio, establishing medical centers in those regions to serve the needs of the large German emigrant communities in those areas. Originally the American Province of the European-based congregation, in 1959 they became independent from the European Sisters and adopted their current name. They serve throughout the Eastern and Midwestern region of the country, as well as overseas.
Formed in 1985 from a merger of two separate congregations founded by Mother Mary Odilia Berger. The first congregation, called the Sisters of St. Mary, was established by Mother Odilia in St. Louis, Missouri in 1877. Mother Mary Augustine Giesen led a new foundation in Maryville, Missouri in 1894, which separated from the original congregation and became known as the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville. The congregation operates 20 hospitals in the Midwestern United States.
Franciscan Sisters of Chicago
Congregation with motherhouse at Chicago, Illinois. Founded by Josephine Dudzik for Polish-speakers under the name Franciscan Sisters of St. Kunegunda in 1894. Sisters, 107; novices, 22; postulants, 18; orphan asylum, 1; home for aged and crippled, 1; day-nursery, 1; schools, 11; pupils, 2070.
Franciscan Sisters of St. Kunegunda (English)
Congregation with mother-house at Chicago Heights, Illinois. Foundation of English-speaking Franciscan Sisters. Sisters, 17.
Congregation with the General Motherhouse in Rome, Italy. Founded in 1883 under the inspiriation of the founder of the Salvatorians, independent in 1885. They came to the United States at the invitation of the Bishop of Wichita, Kansas in 1889, and within two years had opened four hospitals and an orphanage, as well as teaching in parish schools.
Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception
Congregation with mother-house at Peoria, Illinois. Founded in 1890. Sisters, 47; novices, 20; postulants, 17; schools, 6; homes, 2; asylum, 1.
Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration
Congregation with mother-house at St. Francis's Convent, Nevada, Missouri. Established in 1893 by Sister M. John Hau and sisters from the mother-house at Grimmenstein, Switzerland. Sisters, 25; orphan asylum, 1.
Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception
Congregation with motherhouse, Rome, Italy. Founded by Mother Ignatius Hayes. The Sisters conduct establishments in the Archdioceses of New York and Boston, the Diocese of Newark, Pittsburgh, and Savannah.
Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Little Falls, Minnesota)
Congregation with motherhouse at Little Falls, Minnesota. Founded by Mother Ignatius Hayes. Sisters, 60; postulants, 3; orphan asylum, 1; hospitals, 3.
Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Rock Island, Illinois)
Congregation with mother-house at St. Anthony's Hospital, Rock Island, Illinois. Sisters, 18; novices, 6.
Congregation was founded in St. Louis, Missouri on 29 May 1901, by three members of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Joliet, Illinois. Responding to the needs of the immigrants for Polish-speaking Sisters, these three separated from the Joliet Franciscans to remain at St. Stanislaus Kostka in St. Louis.
- Western Province of the Presentation of the B.V.M. Mother-house, Livonia, Michigan (1874). Sisters, 273; novices, 30; postulants, 55; candidates in preparatory course, 65; schools, 33; pupils, 12,500; orphan asylum, 1.
- Eastern Province of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (1900). Motherhouse at Buffalo, New York. Sisters, 278; novices, 32; postulants, 93; lay sisters, 66; novices, 6; postulants, 21; candidates in preparatory course, 73; schools, 55; pupils, 21,556; orphan asylums, 2; home for aged, 1; emigrant home, 1; working-girls' home, 1; day nursery, 1.
- North-western Province of the Mother of Good Council (1910). Motherhouse at Chicago, Illinois. Sisters, 170; novices, 17; postulants, 27; schools, 24; pupils, 6482; orphan asylums, 3.
- Province of the Immaculate Conception (1913). Motherhouse at Lodi, New Jersey. Administers Felician College.
- Province of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (1920). Motherhouse at Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.
- Province of Our Lady of the Angels (1932). Motherhouse at Enfield, Connecticut.
- Province of the Assumption of the B.V.M. (1953). Motherhouse at Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
- Province of Our Lady of Hope (2009).
Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes
Mother-house, Rochester, Minnesota. Established 1877 by sisters of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois. Sisters, 336; novices, 9; postulants, 16; academies, 5; normal school, 1; schools, 20; pupils, 5767; hospitals, 1; nurses' training school, 1.
Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph
Motherhouse in Buffalo, N.Y.
Motherhouse in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Founded in 1901 by a division which arose within the School Sisters of St. Francis between the German and Polish members of that congregation. The Polish Sisters withdrew and formed this new congregation, building St. Joseph Motherhouse the following year. After strong growth throughout the 20th century, many of their institutions have been either closed or transferred to other organizations. As of 2011, they run two high schools and the Barlett Learning Center and Marymount Health Care Systems, both of which are in Ohio.
Provincial Motherhouse in Alton, Illinois. Founded in 1869 by Mother M. Anselma Bopp together with a companion, who left the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Strassbourg in answer to a request for help in Thuine, Germany, which is still the Motherhouse of the congregation. Commonly referred to as Sisters of Mercy of St. Francis, they served the poor and sick of a financially depressed region. Established in the U.S.A. in 1923, they had come to help a priest, Father Dunne, of St. Louis, Missouri. They soon felt unequipped to do that work, however, and moved to Alton, where they established a nursing home. As of 2010, they have over 100 Sisters in the U.S.A. (out of a congregation of over 1,600). They operate facilities for elderly care for both the general public and also with special facilities for the clergy, as well as child care and education.
Founded in Colombia in 1893 by Blessed Maria Caritas Brader, a Swiss missionary Sister, who left her European congregation to promote religious life in Latin America. The Sisters combine social service with Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Introduced to the United States in 1932. The Provincial Motherhouse is in Amarillo, Texas. The Sisters serve in Texas, California and New Mexico.
Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa
Motherhouse in Dundalk, Ireland. Founded in 1952 by Mother Mary Kevin of the Sacred Passion (née Theresa Kearney in County Wicklow, Ireland) as an offshoot from the Mill Hill Sisters with the purpose of focusing on the African missions. A convent was established in Boston, Massachusetts in 1952, with an American novitiate being opened in 1954.
Congregation based in Meriden, Connecticut. Founded in 1973, by 55 Sisters who left the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Wisconsin.
Congregation with headquarters in Haverstraw, New York. Founded in 1986 by 112 Sisters, who chose to leave the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart for a simpler form of life. Today, they continue to spread their mission of peacemaking in a variety of ways as teachers, social workers, administrators, parish associates, prison chaplains, retreat directors, day care workers and health care workers in the New York metropolitan area.
Congregation with motherhouse in Cagayan, the Philippines. Founded in 1953 by Father (title) Gerardo Filipetto, O.F.M. to assist the missionary friars in their work of spreading the Gospel and caring for the poor and the sick. They established a community in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska in 1992.
Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother
A religious congregation in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. This community came from a split of several Sisters from the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, Franciscans, which had been founded in Mexico in 1873.
Around 1990, Sister Ana Maria Solis, O.S.F., and several companions in the Mexican congregation wanted a more Franciscan character to their way of life. To this end they formed a new congregation which served the Hispanic community in Wisconsin. After nine years, problems developed and they sought a new home. They were welcomed in 2000 to their current location by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz. They are currently involved in catechetical work and social service to the Hispanic population in the Nebraska City area.
This Third Order (T.S.S.F.) was founded in 1950. The T.S.S.F. consists of men and women, lay and ordained, married and single. It is divided into five provinces: Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the Americas.
- Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance
- Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn
- Little Brothers of St Francis
- Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist
- Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis - Cameroon
- Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King
- Secular Franciscan Order
- Franciscan Missionaries of Mary
- St. Francis and the Third Order: The Franciscan and pre-Franciscan Penitential Movement, by Raffaele Pazzelli, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8199-0953-4
- See text in Tiraboschi, "Vetera humiliatorum monumenta", II, Milan, 1767, 128.
- Such as Thomas of Celano, "Vita prima", I, 15; Julian of Speyer, "Office of St. Francis: Third Antiphon at Lauds"; Gregory IX, Bull of 7 June 1230 (Bull. Franc., I, 65); St. Bonaventure, "Leg. Maior", IV, 6; Bernard of Besse, in "Anal. Franc.", III, 686.
- See Kaspar Elm, "Die Stellung der Frau in Ordenswesen, Semireligiosentum und Häresie zur Zeit der heiligen Elisabeth" (Sankt Elisabeth: Fürstin, Dienerin, Heilige [Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1981; 7–28]), 7–8.
- Secular Franciscan Order: CIOFS Presidency
- Our History from Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception retrieved 14 September 2013
- "History of the Sacred Heart Province".
- Religiosos Amigonios(Spanish)
- History of the Congregationhttp://www.lakeosfs.org/who_we_are/history.asp
- Website of the Congregation
- "Logo and History", Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg.
- Our History", webpage, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.
- "History and Heritage", webpage, Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.
- History of the Congregationhttp://www.franciscansistersofmaryimmaculate.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=157
- The Manual of the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis; part 2: European Province. Wantage: Printed by St Mary's Press, 1975
- Third Order, S.S.F., Chronicle: the journal of the European Province. Freeland, Oxon: printed by St Clare's Press. (2 issues a year)
- The Third Order, Society of St. Francis, Province of the Americas
- Federation of the various congregations of men and women in the T.O.R.
- Secular Franciscan Order in the U.S.A.
- Friars of the Third Order Regular in the U.S.A.
- Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn
- Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis
- Franciscan Brothers of the Holy Cross
- Franciscan Friars of the Atonement
- Little Brothers of St. Francis, based in Boston
- Franciscan Brothers of Peace
- Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist
- The Brothers and Sisters of Penance
- Province of Australia, Papua New Guinea and East Asia
- European Province
- Province of the Americas
- New Zealand Province