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Third Order of Saint Francis

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Title: Third Order of Saint Francis  
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Third Order of Saint Francis

The Third Order of St. Francis is a third order within the Franciscan movement of the 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). The Lutheran Church also has a Franciscan Order in the tradition of the Third Orders.

It has been believed that the Third Order of St. Francis was the oldest of all Third Orders, but historical evidence does not support this. Similar institutions are found in documentation of some monastic orders in the 12th century. In addition, a Third Order has been found among the Humiliati, confirmed together with its rule by Innocent III in 1201.[1]


  • Early history 1
  • Third Order Secular or Secular Franciscan Order 2
    • Notable members 2.1
    • 20th century 2.2
    • Third Order of St. Francis in Canada 2.3
    • Third Order of St. Francis in the United Kingdom 2.4
    • Third Order of St. Francis in Ireland 2.5
    • United States of America 2.6
  • Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis 3
  • Third Order Regular 4
    • Origin and development till Leo X 4.1
    • Single congregations after Leo X 4.2
    • Congregations of Sisters 4.3
    • Canada 4.4
    • United Kingdom 4.5
    • England 4.6
    • Scotland 4.7
    • Ireland 4.8
  • The United States 5
    • Congregations of men 5.1
      • Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance 5.1.1
        • Province of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
        • Province of the Immaculate Conception
      • Congregation of the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis 5.1.2
      • Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, New York 5.1.3
      • Franciscan Brothers of the Holy Cross 5.1.4
      • Franciscan Missionary Brothers of the Sacred Heart 5.1.5
      • Franciscan Brothers of Ireland 5.1.6
      • Little Brothers of St. Francis 5.1.7
      • Franciscan Brothers of Peace 5.1.8
      • Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist 5.1.9
      • Capuchin Tertiary Friars 5.1.10
    • Congregations of women 5.2
      • Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) 5.2.1
      • Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi (OSF) 5.2.2
        • Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore (OSF)
      • Sisters of St. Francis (Oldenburg, Indiana) 5.2.3
      • Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (OSF) 5.2.4
        • Franciscan Sisters of Ringwood (FSR)
      • Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities (OSF) 5.2.5
        • Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child (FMDC)
      • Franciscan Sisters of Allegany 5.2.6
      • Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate 5.2.7
      • Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity 5.2.8
      • Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart (FMSC) 5.2.9
      • Sisters of St. Francis (Clinton, Iowa) (OSF) 5.2.10
      • Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio 5.2.11
      • Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary 5.2.12
      • Franciscan Sisters of St. Louis, Missouri 5.2.13
      • Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity 5.2.14
      • Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of the Holy Family (Dubuque, Iowa) 5.2.15
      • Sisters of Saint Francis of Rochester, Minnesota (OSF) 5.2.16
      • Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (Peoria, Illinois) 5.2.17
        • Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Rock Island, Illinois)
      • Sisters of St. Francis of the Sacred Heart 5.2.18
      • Franciscan Sisters, Minor Conventuals 5.2.19
      • Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity 5.2.20
      • Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart (OSF) 5.2.21
      • Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross 5.2.22
      • School Sisters of St. Francis (SSSF) 5.2.23
      • Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis (SSJ-TOSF) 5.2.24
      • Franciscan Sisters of the Poor (SFP) 5.2.25
      • Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (OSF/MFIC) 5.2.26
      • Felician Sisters (CSSF) 5.2.27
      • The Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph of the Perpetual Adoration 5.2.28
      • Hospital Sisters of St. Francis (OSF) 5.2.29
      • Franciscan Sisters of Mary (FSM) 5.2.30
        • Sisters of St. Mary
        • Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville
      • Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (SSM) 5.2.31
      • Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception 5.2.32
      • Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Little Falls, Minnesota) (OSF) 5.2.33
      • Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration 5.2.34
      • Franciscan Sisters of Chicago (OSF) 5.2.35
      • Bernardine Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (OSF) 5.2.36
      • Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help 5.2.37
      • Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph 5.2.38
      • Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (OSF) 5.2.39
      • Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (F.M.M.) 5.2.40
      • Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross (SCSC) 5.2.41
      • Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (FHM) 5.2.42
      • Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George 5.2.43
      • Servants of the Holy Child Jesus of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (OSF) 5.2.44
      • Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate 5.2.45
      • Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows (OSF) 5.2.46
      • Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa (OSF) 5.2.47
      • Franciscan Missionary Sisters of St. Joseph (F.M.S.J.) 5.2.48
      • Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FHIC) 5.2.49
      • Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist (FSE) 5.2.50
      • Franciscan Sisters of Peace (FSP) 5.2.51
      • Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (OSF) 5.2.52
      • Franciscan Apostolic Sisters 5.2.53
  • Lutheran Church 6
  • Anglican Communion 7
  • See also 8
  • Books 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11
    • Catholic 11.1
    • Anglican Communion 11.2

Early history

The Third Order of St. Francis was, and still is, the best known and most widely distributed of the third orders and has the greatest influence. There are two major opinions of its origins. According to church historians Karl Müller (Church historian) (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. Prior to that, the Church influenced the development of the First and Second Orders of the Friars Minor and the Poor Clares from this. Another group of scholars believe that St. Francis' name became associated with pre-existing penitential lay-confraternities, without his having any special connection with or influence on them.

Leading to a third school of thought, Thomas of Celano wrote,

"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. 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 Pope Gregory IX."

Thomas of Celano believed that the Third Order was first introduced in Florence, based on writings of of Mariano of Florence, or Faenza, for which the first papal Bull (Potthast, "Regesta Pontificum", 6736) known on the subject is given. The Fioretti (ch. xvi) is not regarded as an authoritative source but it says that Cannara, a small town two hours' walk from Porziuncola, was the birthplace of the Third Order. Mariano and the Bull for Faenza (16 December 1221) suggest that 1221 was the earliest date for founding of the Third Order. Thomas of Celano wrote that the oldest preserved rule was dated 1221.

This rule was published by P. Sabatier and H. Boehmer (see bibliography), and contained originally twelve chapters; a thirteenth was added under Pope Gregory IX (1227). 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).

Because of the prohibition of arms and unnecessary oaths (Chapter 6), the followers of this rule came into conflict with local authorities, which customarily required men to carry arms for service in militias. Numerous papal Bulls were issued through the 13th century 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) provides another, longer version of the rule. This is similar to one confirmed by Pope Nicholas IV through the Bull Supra montem, 17 August 1289. This last form was long considered to be the personal work of St. Francis. In the 19th century, historian Karl Müller did not have any part in this. The rule published and approved by Pope Nicholas IV was substantially the same as the oldest 1221 text. with the oldest text of 1221, we see that they substantially agree. Golubovich (Arch. Franc. Hist., II, 1909, 20) documented that some Italian Tertiaries petitioned Nicholas IV for approval of this Rule. Guerrini (Arch. Franc. Hist., I, 1908, 544 sq.) proves that in the 13th century, there were Third Order Confraternities with quite different rules.

Until Nicholas IV, no single Rule of the Third Order was generally observed, and there were versions of local characters. This was also true of the form of government of the confraternities. Beside their own officials, they had to have a visitor, who seems usually to have been 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). By about twenty years later, in practice the Tertiaries directed the Friars. Nicholas IV introduced unity of rule and of direction into the Third Order, which was put under the care of the Friars Minor.

By the 15th century, numerous individuals living under the Rule of the Third Order were living in small communities, many leading an religious Order with its own Rule of Life. From that point, members were defined either as Third Order Regular (i.e., living under a Regula or "Rule"), or as the Third Order Secular, for those members of the Order who lived in the world. In the later centuries of the Franciscan movement, the Order of Regular Tertiaries was considered as equivalent to the friars of the First Order

Third Order Secular or Secular Franciscan Order

Clement VII in 1526 and Pope Paul III in 1547 mitigated the rule on fasts and abstinence, but the Rule as given by Nicholas IV (ca. 1290) was essentially unchanged until 1883. That year, Leo XIII, who was himself a tertiary, modified the text. In the Apostolic Constitution "Misericors Dei Filius", he adapted the Rule to the modern state and needs of the society. All substantial points remained. The number of daily vocal prayers was reduced, as were the fasts and abstinences. Monthly communion replaced the former requirement of confession and communion three times a year.

The modified Rule of Leo XIII established important social and religious constraints: it prohibited pomp in dressing, frequenting theatres of doubtful character, and keeping and reading papers and books at variance with faith and morals. Three branches of the First Order were entrusted with direction: Friars Minor, Conventuals, and Capuchins, as was the Third Order Regular. By delegation, parish prieses were authorized to establish and direct confraternities. 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.

Notable members

The influence of the Franciscan Third Order Secular upon the feudal society of medieval Europe has been considered significant, particularly in its prohibition of brothers from bearing arms. The Church upheld the pacifism of the brothers in a society characterized by frequent feuds and wars. It 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 and equality of opportunity in a period of rigid social stratification. Notable members include the following:

20th century

After the adaptation of the Rule by Leo XIII, the Third Order increased in activity. In the early 20th century the total number of members was estimated at about two and a half million internationally. National and local congresses were 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 keeping with the colonization of and immigration to other areas, conferences were held in the New World, in Argentina, the last one at Buenos Aires in 1906; and in Canada, as well as in India. They were also held in Germany and Austria, together with general congresses of Catholics.

Numerous monthly periodicals were published in various languages. 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 a regular newspaper was founded, "Rinascita Francescana", Bologna, 1910; another in Germany, "Allgemeine deutsche Tertiaren-Zeitung", Wiesbaden, 1911. Some periodicals were 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 bi-monthly.

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 set up as an autonomous Order, with their own Minister General as head of the Order. They were removed from the jurisdiction of the friars of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular. This was the first time since the 15th century that the Order has been fully independent and self-governing, with a single unified, international government. The new Rule focused on the Secular Franciscan taking part in the work of spreading the Gospel as men and women fully engaged in the sphere of regular—usually married—life in the world. In 2012 the Minister General was Encarnación del Pozo of Spain.[3]

In 1990 a new set of Constitutions were written and approved by the General Chapter of the Order held in Madrid, Spain, to clarify issues related to the revised Rule. These were done on an experimental basis, to be disseminated and clarified through practice. 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.

The Order is now known as the Secular Franciscan Order (abbreviated as O.F.S.) 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. Compared to the sparse population of the country, it attracted numerous members. In 1681 a Recollect notes that "many pious people of Quebec belong to the Third Order". After the cession of Canada to England in 1763 following the French defeat in the Seven Years War, the Third Order, deprived of its directors, the Recollect Franciscan friars, seemed to have disappeared gradually. In the 1840s, it began to revive.

The Third Order was re-established about 1840 by Mgr. Ignatius Bourget, Bishop of Montreal. Activists 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.

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 had more than 200 tertiaries, while in the Province of Quebec several parishes had groups of tertiaries.

Additional priests active in developing the Third Order were Father Durocher, St. Sauveur, Quebec; L. N. Begin, later 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 particularly active. In 1866, having received faculties from the General of the Friars Minor, he established a 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. In 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 Father Frederic of Ghyvelde, O.F.M., arrived in Canada, giving 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 afterward 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. Friars of the First Order continued to develop the Third. 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. In the early 20th century, the Third Order in Canada numbered 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 directed 20 fraternities with 5000 members in the Franco-Canadian centres of the generally northern United States. All these large numbers of isolated tertiaries give a total of nearly 60,000. These tertiaries were mostly French Canadians, as they had deep Catholic traditions.

Few fraternities were founded by English-speaking tertiaries; but there were two at Montreal. The Third Order flourished most in the Province of Quebec. Three monthly reviews were 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. In the early 20th century, fourteen fraternities, with 9,741 members, were under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor. Subject to the Capuchin Friars Minor were four fraternities with 5,100 members.

United States of America

The early Franciscan missionaries established fraternities for the European settlers and soldiers and Indian converts, especially in the Southern and Southwestern states, where there was extensive French and Spanish Catholic influence. A fraternity was established at Santa Fe before 1680. Another fraternity operated in New Mexico almost from the time of the Reconquest (1692–1695), as reported by the Father Guardian (custos), José Bernal, dated Santa Fe, 17 September 1794. While evidence does not support existence of a Third Order for lay people anywhere else, single individuals among the Indians were sometimes classified as tertiaries. It is likely that a confraternity was founded at St. Augustine, Florida, before the close of the 16th century, as this was the first Spanish settlement in what is now the United States. One was established at San Antonio, Texas, before the middle of the 18th century. The establishment of provinces of the order of Friars Minor brought about the establishment of many confraternities.

In the early 20th century, there were 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. During that period, there were also hundreds of tertiaries in the US who did not belong to any congregation.

With the approval of a new Rule in 1978, the fraternities 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, as given by Pope Nicholas IV, as opposed to following the Rule approved by Blessed Pope Paul VI on 28 June 1978.

Third Order Regular

Origin and development till Leo X

The origin of the Regular Third Order, both male and female, possibly was inspired during the lifetime of St. Francis. His first official biographer, Beguines (women) and Beghards (men) in the Low Countries, sometimes entered the Third Order.

Toward the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th centuries, these free religious unions of the Third Order (bizocchi) were accused of having heretical opinions, as can be inferred 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" (1580).

Throughout the 14th century, the regular tertiaries of both sexes had in the most cases no common organization; it was not until the 15th century that there developed 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); this was revoked by his successor Pope Eugene IV. In the 15th century there were numerous independent male congregations of regular tertiaries with the three vows in Italy, Sicily, Dalmatia, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, and in the Netherlands.

There were also 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. Their statutes of 1483 were published by Henri Lemaître in Arch. Franc. Hist. IV, 1911, 713-31. A congregation was founded at Foligno in 1397 by Blessed Angelina of Marsciano (1435). To introduce uniformity into the numerous congregations, Leo XI in 1521 provided a new form to the Rule, now in ten chapters, retaining much as had been published by Nicholas IV. New points included the requirement for three solemn vows, and insisting on subjection to the First Order of St. Francis. On this last point, the Rule of Leo X met with resistance, and never was accepted by some congregations. On the other hand, it has continued to the 21st century 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 organized during the 15th century, were united by Pope Paul III. Since Sixtus V they had independence from the First Order. It had then already 11 provinces.

In the 17th 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 15th 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 16th century, all now extinct. In the 19th 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 19th century many of the new congregations adopted the Rule of the Third Order, but most have no further connection with the First Order. Many have widely varying names; a good many are of local character, others are of international importance. Almost all dedicate themselves to works of charity, either in hospitals, homes, or ateliers; others work in schools, and some 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 13th century; Franciscan Sisters at Dillingen, Diocese of Augsburg, founded in the 14th 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 15th 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 15th 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).

Switzerland at one time had many congregations of the Third Order. By the early 20th century, it still had several convents of strict enclosure. Two congregations founded by the Capuchin Theodosius Florentini have been particularly notable, 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. Its motherhouse is at Rome and communities have 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. Marie Bibeau was one of the founders and the first Superior General. 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.

United Kingdom

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.[4]


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 Mountbellew 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 as 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.[5]

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 in 1970 by Brother James Curran, LBSF (June 13, 1932 - June 28, 2015), 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.

This foundation was quickly approved by his Archbishop, Cardinal Medeiros, and slowly grew to a national presence for this type of innovative expression.

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.[6]

Capuchin Tertiary Friars

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.[7]

Congregations of women

(note: unless noted otherwise, all data is from 1913)

Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA)

Congregation with motherhouse at St. Rose of Viterbo Convent, La Crosse, Wisconsin. In 1849, six men and six women, members of the Third Order Secular, came from Bavaria at the invitation of Bishop John Martin Henni to serve the German-speaking population of the area. The women soon desired to form a formal religious community. To this end, Constitutions was compiled 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, they were assigned by Bishop Henni to perform domestic work at the seminary he had founded for German-speaking seminarians in Milwaukee.

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. The move was accomplished in 1871. In La Crosse, under the authority of Heiss, the Sisters become educators. 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.

After the separation in 1873, of the sisters who went on to form the "Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi", the 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. In 1973, 55 Sisters left to form a new congregation, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, located in Connecticut.

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, and Africa. They share with the other two congregations stemming from the same founders in mentoring the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis - Cameroon in Africa.[8]

Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi (OSF)

The motherhouse of the congregation is in St. Francis, Wisconsin. The congregation developed from the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. In 1856, the sisters were asked by Henni to move to Milwaukee in order to provide domestic service for the seminary he was building for German-speaking seminarians.

In 1864, the motherhouse was moved to Jefferson, Wisconsin. The Sisters there confirmed their desire to teach, and 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 happened 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 the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi

Among the sisters' ministries are St Ann Center, an intergenerational care center; Cardinal Stritch University (formerly St. Clare College); and St. Coletta's, a facility for persons with developmental disabilities.[9]

Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore (OSF)

Established in the United States in 1881, motherhouse in Baltimore. Founded in England in 1868 as the Franciscan Sisters of the Five Wounds by Mother Mary Francis of the Five Wounds. They served the African-American population of the region, operating an orphanage until 1950, and schools for children with special needs after that, as well as teaching in parochial schools on the American East Coast. They merged with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4, 2001.[10]

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 African-American 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.

In the 20th century, their work extended to Native Americans and overseas to Papua New Guinea and Korea.[11]

Sisters, 536; novices, 41; postulants, 7; schools, 67; pupils, 12,273.

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (OSF)

The congregation with a motherhouse in Aston, Pennsylvania, was founded by three women, Maria Anna Boll Bachmann, Barbara Boll, and Anna Dorn. An immigrant from Bavaria, Germany, Maria Anna Boll Bachmann 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.

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".

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. In January 1860 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. 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 the 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.

When Mother Agnes Bucher became the second Superior General 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.

In the 1870s the sister’s motherhouse was transferred from Philadelphia to Glen Riddle where it remains. Adjacent to the motherhouse is

  • Province of Australia, Papua New Guinea and East Asia
  • European Province
  • New Zealand Province

Anglican Communion

  • 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


External links

  • "Third Orders" & "Tertiaries" Catholic Encyclopedia
  1. ^ See text in Tiraboschi, "Vetera humiliatorum monumenta", II, Milan, 1767, 128.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ [9]
  4. ^ "Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  5. ^ [10]
  6. ^ [11]
  7. ^ "Casa de Niños Manuel Fernández Juncos". 2013-11-24. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  8. ^ "Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration". FSPA. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  9. ^ [12]
  10. ^ "Baltimore Franciscans Merge with Us". Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. 
  11. ^ "Welcome! We are the Sisters of St. Francis: Oldenburg, Indiana". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  12. ^ "Our History | Sisters". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  13. ^ "Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia". Neumann University. 
  14. ^ Adely, Hannan (October 14, 2010). "Nuns' longtime home goes up for sale". 
  15. ^ "Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities – Our History". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  16. ^ [13]
  17. ^ "". 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  18. ^ "Welcome to the Archives". Wheaton Franciscans. 
  19. ^ "Our History". Sisters of St. Francis. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Sisters of the Third Order of St Francis". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  21. ^ "St. Anthony's Hospital". Rock Island Preservation Society. 
  22. ^ "Peoria, Illinois [East]". Franciscan Third Order Regular Sisterhoods: United States. 
  23. ^ "About Us: Our History". Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart. 
  24. ^ "Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  25. ^ "School Sisters of St. Francis : Who We Are". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  26. ^ "Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  27. ^ "Welcome". Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. 
  28. ^ "Felician Franciscan Sisters". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  29. ^ "Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  30. ^ "About Us: Our History". Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls. 
  31. ^ "Franciscan Sisters of Chicago | History Timeline Photo Gallery". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  32. ^ "Bernardine Franciscan Sisters - An International Congregation of Women Religious". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  33. ^ "Who We Are". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  34. ^ "Its Statistics". FMM. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  35. ^ "History" (PDF). Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross. 
  36. ^ [14]
  37. ^ "Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George |". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  38. ^ [15]
  39. ^ "Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows (O.S.F.) - Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  40. ^ "Franciscan Missionary Sisters For Africa". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  41. ^ "Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  42. ^ "New Bethany | Residential Care and Skilled Nursing Community". 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  43. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  44. ^ "Catholic Diocese of Lincoln". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  45. ^ "Order of Lutheran Franciscans". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  46. ^ The Manual of the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis; part 2: European Province. Wantage: Printed by St Mary's Press, 1975
  47. ^ Third Order, S.S.F., Chronicle: the journal of the European Province. Freeland, Oxon: printed by St Clare's Press. (2 issues a year)
  48. ^ [16]


  • 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 also

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.[48]

The Society of St. Francis includes an Order of tertiaries, people who have taken promises and are followers of a version of the Franciscan Rule but do not live together in community.[46][47]

Anglican Communion

The Order of Lutheran Franciscans is an "undifferentiated" Order in the tradition of the Third Order of Saint Francis. Life-professed women and men, lay or ordained, make Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.[45]

Lutheran Church

Congregation with motherhouse in Cagayan, the Philippines. Founded in 1953 by Father (title) Gerardo Filipetto, O.F.M., to assist the missionary Franciscan 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, where the Latino population has been increasing.

Franciscan Apostolic Sisters

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.[44]

A religious congregation in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, established in 1990. 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.[43]

Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (OSF)

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.

Franciscan Sisters of Peace (FSP)

Congregation based in Meriden, Connecticut. Founded in 1973, by 55 Sisters who left the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Wisconsin.

Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist (FSE)

The Congregation of the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception was founded in Lisbon, Portugal in 1871 by Libânia do Carmo Galvão Mexia de Moura Telles e Albuquerque (Sr. Maria Clara), and is represented in fifteen countries. They came to the United States in 1960 in order to aid Portuguese immigrants. They serve in the state of California in the dioceses of San Jose, Fresno, and Monterey. The majority of the California sisters now are involved in healthcare.[42]

Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FHIC)

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.[41]

Franciscan Missionary Sisters of St. Joseph (F.M.S.J.)

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.[40]

Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa (OSF)

Founded in China in 1939, as a community of the missions, by Bishop Rafael Palazzi, an Italian Franciscan missionary. Due to the Communist takeover, the Sisters were forced to flee from the motherhouse in Hengyang, Hunan, to Hong Kong. After several years as refugees, the community came to the United States, opening retreat houses in California and Oregon. They became involved in the teaching apostolate in both locations, and in care for Navajo girls in Gallup, New Mexico.[39]

Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows (OSF)

Introduced to the United States in 1932, Provincial Motherhouse in Amarillo, Texas. 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. The Sisters serve in Texas, California and New Mexico.[38]

Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate

Provincial Motherhouse in Plainfield, New Jersey, founded in 1855 in Wurzburg, Germany, where they are still headquartered. They were founded by Mother Antonie Werr to minister to the needs of women who were neglected by society; in particular, prisoners, prostitutes and the destitute poor. The Sisters came to the United States in 1929 and established their first foundation on Staten Island, New York. Their principal ministries are in social work, health care and teaching.

Servants of the Holy Child Jesus of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (OSF)

This was established in the United States in 1923, and the Provincial Motherhouse is in Alton, Illinois. In 1869 Mother M. Anselma Bopp and a companion had founded this congregation. They had left the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Strassbourg responding to a request in Thuine, Germany; the motherhouse is based here. The Sisters immigrated to the United States to help a priest, Father Dunne, of St. Louis, Missouri, then a center of German immigration. The Sisters moved to Alton, where they established a nursing home. As of 2010, they have over 100 Sisters in the United States (the total congregation numbers more than 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.[37]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George

The Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary was established in 1916 in Ignatius Lissner, S.M.A., for the education of children of color. The public school system was racially segregated. The Motherhouse was moved to Harlem in New York in 1924, as part of the Great Migration of more than a million African Americans to the North and Midwest before World War II. The congregation operates St. Benedict Nursery in Harlem, and St. Edward Food Pantry on Staten Island. As of 2011, the Sisters number 17.[36]

Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (FHM)

Established in the United States in 1912, Provincial Motherhouse in Merrill, Wisconsin. Founded in Switzerland in 1856 by Capuchin friar Theodosius Florentini and Blessed Mary Theresa Scherer. They came to the country at the invitation of Vincent de Paul Wehrle, O.S.B., Bishop of Bismarck, North Dakota, to open a hospital. They eventually opened two more and taught in many schools. In 1987 they sold their hospitals and converted their convent in Merrill into a senior residence.[35]

Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross (SCSC)

The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary were founded by Mother Mary of the Passion (born Hélène de Chappotin de Neuville, 1839-1904) at Ootacamund, then British India, in 1877. The Missionaries form an international religious congregation of women representing 79 nationalities spread over 75 countries on five continents. They founded St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York and operate the Cardinal Hayes Home in Millbrook, New York for developmentally challenged individuals. Both facilities are on Long Island. As of 2013, there were 6,314 sisters.[34]

Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (F.M.M.)

In 1911 the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of Calais, France, a nursing congregation with origins dating back to the 15th century, sent Mother Marie de Bethanie Crowley with five companions to central Louisiana to serve the sick and needy. Their first foundation was a sanitarium in Pineville, Louisiana. They went on to found several medical facilities: St. Francis Hospital in Monroe, Our Lady of Lourdes in Lafayette, Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales. The North American Provincial Motherhouse is in Baton Rouge.[33]

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (OSF)

Motherhouse in Buffalo, N.Y.

Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph

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.

Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Provincial motherhouse in Reading, Pennsylvania, established in the United States in 1894. The congregation was founded in Cracow, Poland, in 1457, when a group of tertiaries, of the nobility, formed an active community of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis in St. Agnes Convent. Because these Franciscan Sisters attended Mass in a church dedicated to the then recently canonized St. Bernardine of Siena, they became known as the Bernardines. From the Convent of St. Agnes a new foundation, that of St. Joseph, was established in the same city in 1646; St. Joseph Convent gave rise to the Sacred Heart Convent, which was founded at Zakliczyn-on the-Danube in 1883. From there, the Bernardine sisters came to the United States, when they were sent to minister to the Polish immigrants at St. Joseph School in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, in 1895, they moved to Reading to teach at St. Mary’s School. It was in Reading that the motherhouse was built.[32]

Bernardine Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (OSF)

Congregation with motherhouse at Chicago, Illinois. Founded by Josephine Dudzik for Polish-speakers under the name Franciscan Sisters of St. Kunegunda (OSFK) in 1894. Sisters, 107; novices, 22; postulants, 18; orphan asylum, 1; home for aged and crippled, 1; day-nursery, 1; schools, 11; pupils, 2070.[31]

Franciscan Sisters of Chicago (OSF)

Congregation with Provincial Motherhouse at St. Francis Convent, Nevada, Missouri. Established in 1893 by Sister M. John Hau and some companions from the motherhouse at Grimmenstein, Switzerland. Sisters, 25; orphan asylum, 1.

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration

Congregation with motherhouse at Little Falls, Minnesota. Founded in 1891 from the original community of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception established by Mother Ignatius Hayes in Minnesota in 1873. Sisters 455, ; postulants, 3; orphan asylum, 1; hospitals, 19.[30]

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Little Falls, Minnesota) (OSF)

Congregation with motherhouse at Peoria, Illinois. Founded in 1890. Sisters, 47; novices, 20; postulants, 17; schools, 6; homes, 2; asylum, 1.

Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception

Congregation with the General Motherhouse in Rome, Italy. Founded in 1883 under the inspiration 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 the Sorrowful Mother (SSM)

Mother Mary Augustine Giesen led a new foundation of the congregation to Maryville, Missouri, in 1894, which separated from the original congregation and took this name.

Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville

The first congregation was established by Berger in St. Louis, Missouri in 1877. She and some companions had left Germany to provide nursing care to the German immigrant population of the city.

Sisters of St. Mary

Formed in 1985 from a merger of two separate congregations founded by Mother Mary Odilia Berger. The congregation operates 20 hospitals in the Midwestern United States.

Franciscan Sisters of Mary (FSM)

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.

Hospital Sisters of St. Francis (OSF)

Congregation with Provincial Motherhouse at St. Francis Convent, Lafayette, Indiana. Introduced into this country in 1875 by Sisters from the General Motherhouse at Olpe, Germany. Founded by the 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.[29]

The Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph of the Perpetual Adoration

Introduced into the United States in 1874. In 2009 the Provinces of Livonia, Michigan (1874), Buffalo, New York (1900), Chicago, Illinois (1910), Lodi, New Jersey (1913), Coraopolis, Pennsylvania (1920), Enfield, Connecticut (1932), and Rio Rancho, New Mexico (1953) amalgamated to form the new Province of Our Lady of Hope based in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. This province has 700 professed sisters who serve from Canada’s Northwest Territories to Haiti.

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi (CSSF) with general motherhouse in Cracow, Poland. Founded in 1855 by Sophia Truszkowska at Warsaw, then within the Russian Empire, now Poland. There are 1800 sisters, of whom 700 serve in the North American Province. Other Provinces are based in Crakow, Przemusl, and Warsaw, as well as, Curitiba, Brazil.[28]

Felician Sisters (CSSF)

Congregation with motherhouse in Rome, Italy. Founded by Mother Ignatius Hayes in 1873. The Sisters serve in the Archdioceses of New York, Newark and Boston, also the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Savannah.[27]

Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (OSF/MFIC)

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.

Franciscan Sisters of the Poor (SFP)

Motherhouse in Trinity High School (Garfield Heights, Ohio), Regina High School in Warren, Michigan and the Barlett Learning Center and Marymount Health Care Systems, both in Ohio.[26]

Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis (SSJ-TOSF)

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.[25]

School Sisters of St. Francis (SSSF)

In 1868 Father Edward Francis Daems, O.S.C., requested assistance in ministering with him among the immigrants on the peninsula of Wisconsin. Sisters Christine Rousseau, Pauline LaPlante, Mary Pius Doyle and Mary Immaculata Van Lanen responded. Together, they laid the foundation for the "Sisters of St. Francis of Bay Settlement", living a simple life, following the Rule of St. Francis, and educating immigrant children. The diversity of the immigrants' languages, the hard work of frontier life, poverty, and ill health presented great challenges for the founders, who received formal by the Bishop of Green Bay Francis Xavier Krautbauer on March 14, 1881. On its 75th jubilee as a Community in 1956, the community adopted the title, "Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross".[24]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross

Congregation with motherhouse in Frankfort, Illinois (formerly Joliet, Illinois). Founded in 1866 in Seelbach, then part of the Grand Duchy of Baden, by the Reverend Wilhelm Berger. Due to the Kulturkampf between the German government and the Catholic Church, in which only religious communities which provided nursing were allowed to remain functioning, in 1876 the community emigrated to the United States and established itself in Avilla, Indiana. They have taught in schools throughout the Midwestern United States. Sisters, 325; novices, 40; postulants, 12; hospitals, 10; home for aged, 1; orphan asylum, 1; schools, 9.[23]

Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart (OSF)

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 Christian Charity

Congregation with mother-house at St. Joseph's Convent, Buffalo, New York. Sisters, 58; novices, 16; postulants, 21.

Franciscan Sisters, Minor Conventuals

Motherhouse at Mercy Hospital, Burlington, Iowa. Sisters, 22; hospital, 1.

Sisters of St. Francis of the Sacred Heart

In 1989 this congregation merged with the Sisters of St. Francis of Peoria.[22]

Congregation with motherhouse at St. Anthony's Hospital, Rock Island, Illinois. Founded from the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls in 1893 to provide medical care for the city of Rock Island.[21] Sisters, 18; novices, 6.

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Rock Island, Illinois)

Congregation with motherhouse at St. Francis Hospital, Peoria, Illinois; founded in 1877 by the Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding, Bishop of Peoria, with the leadership of Mother M. Frances Krasse, from a local community of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, dedicated to nursing care. The Sisters later expanded into the field of education. Sisters, 163; novices, 38; postulants, 26; hospitals, 10; patients, 5320, colleges, 2.[20]

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (Peoria, Illinois)

The Franciscan Sisters of Rochester have served in over fifteen states from the Midwest to California, as well as in Sierra Leone, Colombia, and Cambodia.[19]

This congregation, known formally as the Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis, with its motherhouse in Rochester, Minnesota, was founded in 1877 by Mother Mary Alfred Moes, after her expulsion from the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate in Joliet by the local bishop. Intending to establish a school in Rochester, after the devastation of the city by a tornado, her new congregation built St. Mary's Hospital. It is now part of the Mayo Clinic, which grew out of her work. They also served in schools throughout Minnesota and established the College of St. Teresa in Winona.

Sisters of Saint Francis of Rochester, Minnesota (OSF)

Congregation with motherhouse at Mount St. Francis, Dubuque, Iowa. Founded in 1876 by Mother Xaveria Termehr and and the other Sisters from the House of Bethlehem in Herford, Germany, who, on account of the infamous Falk 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 the Third Order of St. Francis of the Holy Family (Dubuque, Iowa)

Congregation with motherhouse 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.

Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity

Motherhouse, Grand Avenue and Chippewa Street, St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1872 by Sisters from the General Motherhouse at Salzkotten, Germany. Sisters, 224; hospitals, 6, schools, 1; orphan asylums, 2; house of providence, 1; convent, 1.

Franciscan Sisters of St. Louis, Missouri

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 United States in 1872 in response to request to a call for medical care for the German immigrant community of St. Louis, Missouri. Five Sisters were sent in 1875 to add the fledgling 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.[18]

Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary

The history of the Sisters of St. Francis dates to 1867. As pastor of St. Joseph Church, Fr. Joseph Bihn asked for volunteers to help in the work of starting a home in Tiffin for orphaned children and the aged. Four women answered the call, including a widow, Elizabeth Greiveldinger Schaefer. This was the beginning of a new order, the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. Schaefer then became Mother Mary Francis, co-founder and first Mother Superior. The institution was incorporated in 1869.[17]

Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio

Congregation with Motherhouse at Mount 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 (Clinton, Iowa) (OSF)

The congregation established itself in the United States in 1865, motherhouse in Peekskill, New York. It 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 Fioravanti. They founded this institute to train religious Sisters for service among the poor, both in Italy and abroad.

Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart (FMSC)

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 Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity

The Sisters were founded in Joliet in 1865 by Mother Mary Alfred Moes with help from her spiritual advisor, Father Pamfilo da Magliano, OFM.[16]

Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate

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 of Allegany

In 2003, during the process of forming the new congregation, these Sisters, a diocesan congregation under the Bishop of Buffalo, merged with the sisters in Williamsville and thus were part of the new union.

Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child (FMDC)

In September 2007 they were joined by a fourth daughter congregation, the Sisters of St. Francis of Millvale (1868), of Mt. Alvernia, Millvale, Pennsylvania, also founded from the congregation in Buffalo.[15]

On 14 July 2004, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities was formed through the merger of three daughter foundations of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia: the Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order of Syracuse, N.Y. (1860), the Sisters of St. Francis Third Order Regular of Buffalo (Williamsville Franciscans) (1861), and the Sisters of St. Francis, Conventuals of the Third Order of St. Francis of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin (1893) of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, founded from Buffalo by the Rev. John Drumgoole, who spent his life caring for the orphans of New York City.

Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities (OSF)

Founded in 1911 by Mother Angela Clara Pesce as the Capuchin Sisters of the Infant Jesus, with their motherhouse in Ringwood, New Jersey, they ran schools to serve the Italian-speaking population of the region. They merged with this congregation in August 2003. [13] Reaching a peak of 100 Sisters, the congregation numbered 28 at the time of the merger.[14]

Franciscan Sisters of Ringwood (FSR)


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