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A Yearning Heart

Third orders and religious life

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A Yearning Heart

There are many third Orders. Generally speaking, my understanding of a third order is:-

-a way of helping to live out a person's baptismal promises

-members remain part of the lay faithful of the Church

-is not a form of religious consecration or vows

-members become part of the spiritual family they are connected with

-will often have other Order-specific characteristics

Often I have seen some who have take temporary promises as lay members of an order and then go on to become religious.

Historically, I have read of Saints who were lay members of different groups, but who made private promises of total self-giving to Christ (like St Catherine of Sienna). 

I'm wondering if being a member of a third order today (either temporary or professed for life) is compatible with a religious vocation later on? (or would that depend on the Order?)

Or would being a member of a third order be considered a part of discerning that one was not called to religious life? 

 

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sr.christinaosf

That's the big difference - 

I am a member of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis - we vow the three evangelical councils, wear distinctive garb, and live in community, yet we are part of a 'third order'. 

There is a group of 'Secular Franciscans' that meets here.  Some of them are married, they do not live in community and do not profess vows of the three evangelical counsels.

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A Yearning Heart

Thanks Graciandelamadre dedios and Sr Christina :) 

Yes, I meant secular, lay third orders, where there can be single or married members, and they don't profess the evangelical councils. So I'm not asking about third order regular or third order religious. 

I was wondering if being a member of a secular/lay third order would hinder someone later entering religious life or becoming a consecrated virgin?

A few years ago a friend of mine got really stuck on this point. She was drawn to religious life, but had some lifelong health issues that ended that idea. She continued to be drawn to their spirituality so considered joining a lay third order, but then wondered about the possibility of consecrated virginity and their compatibility.

Can one be, say, a life long member of the secular third Order Franciscans (or Carmelite or Dominican or ....) and then later enter religious life or become a consecrated virgin? Does this differ between lay third Orders? 

My understanding of it is that being a member of a lay, third Order is not a vocation like that of marriage or religious life, but only a help to living out a person's baptismal promises. As such, being a member of a lay third order, who is single, is still free to later get married. What about if a person is later drawn to religious life or consecrated virginity? 

As I said in my first post, I've seen those who have made temporary promises for their membership of a lay third Order and who then went on to enter religious life.  But I am not sure about those who have made life-long promises. Would that make a difference? 

 

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Sponsa-Christi

Joining a secular Third Order is not an impediment to either later entering religious life or becoming a consecrated virgin. 

Though with that being said, many consecrated virgins (myself included) generally tend to discourage aspiring consecrated virgins from also discerning with a secular Third Order. One reason for this is that there is a concern that striving to adopt the spirituality of a particular religious family might make it harder to interiorize the specific spirituality of consecrated virginity.

Also, I would be concerned that someone really interested in becoming a consecrated virgin while also being a member of a Third Order might be misunderstanding the vocation of consecrated virginity. That is, I would wonder if such a discerner was seeing consecrated virginity as sort of a watered-down version of membership in a religious community associated with her Order (e.g., if a woman was a Third Order Dominican and seeking to become a consecrated virgin, I would worry that perhaps she was seeing this as a sort of substitute for becoming a Dominican Sister). Or on the other hand, I would also be concerned that a consecrated virgin who was seeking to join a Third Order might mistakenly think that consecrated virginity somehow wasn't "enough" to be a vocation in its own right. 

But of course, these are all very general and abstract considerations, and are by no means absolute! It is technically possible for a woman to be both a consecrated virgin and a Third Order member, and ultimately it's a matter of personal discernment.  

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graciandelamadrededios
11 hours ago, A Yearning Heart said:

Thanks Graciandelamadre dedios and Sr Christina :) 

Yes, I meant secular, lay third orders, where there can be single or married members, and they don't profess the evangelical councils. So I'm not asking about third order regular or third order religious. 

I was wondering if being a member of a secular/lay third order would hinder someone later entering religious life or becoming a consecrated virgin?

A few years ago a friend of mine got really stuck on this point. She was drawn to religious life, but had some lifelong health issues that ended that idea. She continued to be drawn to their spirituality so considered joining a lay third order, but then wondered about the possibility of consecrated virginity and their compatibility.

Can one be, say, a life long member of the secular third Order Franciscans (or Carmelite or Dominican or ....) and then later enter religious life or become a consecrated virgin? Does this differ between lay third Orders? 

My understanding of it is that being a member of a lay, third Order is not a vocation like that of marriage or religious life, but only a help to living out a person's baptismal promises. As such, being a member of a lay third order, who is single, is still free to later get married. What about if a person is later drawn to religious life or consecrated virginity? 

As I said in my first post, I've seen those who have made temporary promises for their membership of a lay third Order and who then went on to enter religious life.  But I am not sure about those who have made life-long promises. Would that make a difference? 

 

Sponsa Christi is right, it is not a hindrance.  In fact, there are religious, monastic/cloistered and active religious who were members of third order secular.

Let me site an example, in the Philippines, a former professor and top ranking government employee became a member of TOCD for many years (more than 10 years).  She yearns to enter Carmel but she cant due to the fact that she is the sole breadwinner of the family and after providing for her family; in her 50's, she finally entered Carmel.  Her background as TOCD helped her a lot in her transition from being a secular member into a cloistered Discalced Carmelite Nun.

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katherineH
21 hours ago, A Yearning Heart said:

Thanks Graciandelamadre dedios and Sr Christina :) 

Yes, I meant secular, lay third orders, where there can be single or married members, and they don't profess the evangelical councils. So I'm not asking about third order regular or third order religious. 

I was wondering if being a member of a secular/lay third order would hinder someone later entering religious life or becoming a consecrated virgin?

A few years ago a friend of mine got really stuck on this point. She was drawn to religious life, but had some lifelong health issues that ended that idea. She continued to be drawn to their spirituality so considered joining a lay third order, but then wondered about the possibility of consecrated virginity and their compatibility.

Can one be, say, a life long member of the secular third Order Franciscans (or Carmelite or Dominican or ....) and then later enter religious life or become a consecrated virgin? Does this differ between lay third Orders? 

My understanding of it is that being a member of a lay, third Order is not a vocation like that of marriage or religious life, but only a help to living out a person's baptismal promises. As such, being a member of a lay third order, who is single, is still free to later get married. What about if a person is later drawn to religious life or consecrated virginity? 

As I said in my first post, I've seen those who have made temporary promises for their membership of a lay third Order and who then went on to enter religious life.  But I am not sure about those who have made life-long promises. Would that make a difference? 

 

I have a friend who is a secular Carmelite and a consecrated virgin.  She had been a secular Carmelite for years and later discerned the call to be a CV.  It is my understanding that her vocation as a CV is deeply embedded within her Carmelite spirituality.  She prays the liturgy of the hours in the style of our local Carmelite convent and still maintains her obligations as a secular Carmelite.

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Ave Crux

Depending on the order you may need a dispensation to later enter religious life, this is the case for example in the Lay Dominicans. But such dispensations are readily granted.

Some people within the lay fraternities also make private vows (i.e. of the evangelical counsels) but this is always separate and not a part of their membership of the order. However, as katherineH said, it's probable that they'll live these vows in the spirit of the order and for them to be an holistic spirituality for them, it's just it's not public and usually not appropriate to celebrate it publicly with the order.

I'm a Lay Dominican and have made private vows.

 

 

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PadrePio360

You obviously know nothing about Third Orders. Yes they are REAL vocations equal to any other religious vocation. There not just used to renew our baptismal promises and actually have nothing to do with that. We make a solemn promise to live whichever rule of the order for life. We are canonically bound. Our solemn profession is equal to a religious ones vows. You may want to do a whole lot more research into Third Orders before you comment with such ignorance, it's offensive. 

Maybe your display name should instead be A Yearning fluffy air extraction

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Luigi
6 hours ago, PadrePio360 said:

You obviously know nothing about Third Orders. Yes they are REAL vocations equal to any other religious vocation. There not just used to renew our baptismal promises and actually have nothing to do with that. We make a solemn promise to live whichever rule of the order for life. We are canonically bound. Our solemn profession is equal to a religious ones vows. You may want to do a whole lot more research into Third Orders before you comment with such ignorance, it's offensive. 

Maybe your display name should instead be A Yearning fluffy air extraction

Oooohh. A little testy, are we? 

Insults and name-calling are always the best way to inform people - at least, that's what I've found in my experience. 

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beatitude
13 hours ago, PadrePio360 said:

You obviously know nothing about Third Orders. Yes they are REAL vocations equal to any other religious vocation. There not just used to renew our baptismal promises and actually have nothing to do with that. We make a solemn promise to live whichever rule of the order for life. We are canonically bound. Our solemn profession is equal to a religious ones vows. You may want to do a whole lot more research into Third Orders before you comment with such ignorance, it's offensive. 

Maybe your display name should instead be A Yearning fluffy air extraction

It seems that you signed up to the forum for no other reason than to insult A Yearning Heart over a topic she made over a year ago.

She did not disparage Third Order life; she was wondering if being in a Third Order would be an impediment to being accepted into a religious community or becoming a consecrated virgin later on. Nowhere did she say anything negative about Third Orders. If you want to contribute to a topic, do other users the courtesy of reading it thoroughly first, and then post with charity. If you read our forum guidelines you will see that posting insults isn't OK here.

 

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DameAgnes
18 hours ago, PadrePio360 said:

You obviously know nothing about Third Orders. Yes they are REAL vocations equal to any other religious vocation. There not just used to renew our baptismal promises and actually have nothing to do with that. We make a solemn promise to live whichever rule of the order for life. We are canonically bound. Our solemn profession is equal to a religious ones vows. You may want to do a whole lot more research into Third Orders before you comment with such ignorance, it's offensive. 

Maybe your display name should instead be A Yearning fluffy air extraction

Wow. Whatever Third Order you are active in...you may need to practice the spirituality a bit harder, because you're coming off like an uncharitable blowhard, defensive and prideful and all-too-willing to unjustly serve the back of your hand. "Nasty and insulting" is not a good Christian look. "Pray, hope and don't worry" is a better one.

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PadrePio360

I'm sorry to offend but it's like this I've been practicing Christian Mysticism for over 10 years. Now I wouldn't go on a forum and speak on this topic if I had absolute no knowledge of Christian Mysticism since it'll give people the wrong idea. This goes the same for the original post on this forum. She assumes she knows everything about Third Orders when she didn't and it gave others the wrong idea and false information. That is why I corrected her. You're upset cuz I added the joke at the end of my post but it still was just a joke and I shouldn't have said and I apologise but  what's more important is if your representing Catholic teaching on this forum you should have the right knowledge to speak about it. 

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PadrePio360

I'm sorry but people make mistakes as myself for saying a rude comment. I wasn't trying to offend this user and I apologise. I myself am pretty intense when it comes to religion and spirituality so I'm sorry if I came off mean and rude. 

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Nunsuch
19 minutes ago, PadrePio360 said:

I'm sorry to offend but it's like this I've been practicing Christian Mysticism for over 10 years. Now I wouldn't go on a forum and speak on this topic if I had absolute no knowledge of Christian Mysticism since it'll give people the wrong idea. This goes the same for the original post on this forum. She assumes she knows everything about Third Orders when she didn't and it gave others the wrong idea and false information. That is why I corrected her. You're upset cuz I added the joke at the end of my post but it still was just a joke and I shouldn't have said and I apologise but  what's more important is if your representing Catholic teaching on this forum you should have the right knowledge to speak about it. 

No, we are "upset" (actually, annoyed and offended) because a total stranger comes onto a phorum where people ask questions and attempt to obtain information, and you proceed to "introduce" yourself by insulting a serious and polite inquirer. Frankly, whatever "mysticism" you have been practicing doesn't sound terribly Christian, in that it doesn't seem to have imbued you with much in the way of Christian charity. The OP does NOT assume s/he knows much of anything about Third Orders--which is why s/he is asking a question. For the record, I reported your original post because it is in violation of nearly every formal and informal guideline for this group. 

p.s. You might also learn how to spell.

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