This article may be too technical for most readers to understand.(May 2020)
The Third Order of Saint Dominic, also referred to as the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic or Lay Dominicans since 1972, is a Roman Catholic third order affiliated with the Dominican Order.
Lay Dominicans are men and women, singles and couples living a Christian life with a Dominican spirituality in the secular world. They find inspiration following the same spiritual path taken by many saints, blesseds, and other holy men and women throughout the 800-year history of the Dominican Order. The Life of a Dominican layperson is all about having a passion for the Word of God. It is about committing one self to a community of like minded brothers and sisters that immerse themselves in the Word of God. There are Lay Dominican Provinces all around the world.
This was one of the earliest developments of the ancient Ordo de Poenitentia (Order of Penance). This was a status which developed in the ancient Church, in which those faithful who sought a more dedicated way of life embraced the lifestyle of a penitent then in effect in the Church. It was not the organization from which the Friars Preachers evolved, but rather represents that portion of the Order of Penance which came under Dominican influence. At first vaguely constituted and living without system or form, its members gradually grew more and more dependent on their spiritual guides.
Friar Munio of Zamora, the seventh Master General of the Friars Preachers, formulated a definite Rule for these lay penitents in 1285. By this the Ordo de Poenitentia was to be ruled in each local center by a Dominican priest II, 35 and was to be subject to the obedience of the Dominican priors provincial and Masters General. Henceforward this branch was linked to the fortunes of the Friars Preachers and wore their habits of black and white (with few minor differences varying according to time and country). They were not specifically called a third order until after papal recognition in 1405. but continued to be known as the "Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Dominic".:
A military order, called the Militia Jesu Christi (soldiery of Jesus Christ), also became a part of the third order. It owed its origin to Bishop Foulques of Toulouse, Simon de Montfort, I and probably to St. Dominic, then a canon regular. This connection with the founder of the Friars Preachers is first discussed in documents relating to the Blessed Raymund of Capua, who became a Dominican about 1350. As early as 1235, Pope Gregory IX confided the Militia to the care of Friar Jordan of Saxony, second Master General, by a Bull of 18 May; :10 and in the same year he decreed a habit of black and white for the knights. :14 Further, when the Militia was brought across the Alps and established in Italy, it is found to be always connected with some Dominican church. :I, 13 Lastly, it was very largely influenced by a famous Dominican, Friar Bartolomeo of Braganza, or of Vicenza, as he is sometimes called. :I, 12, 42, etc.:
Originally working side by side and independent of each other, because both received the same spiritual administration of the Friars Preachers, they appear to have been merged at the close of the 13th century. So too their ultimate merging is hinted at by Honorius III in 1221 when he designates the Militia "nomine poenitentiae", 12–16 and that of Munio de Zamora for the Order of Penance of St. Dominic in 1285 :28–36 would lead one to the same conclusion. The only considerable difference that could be cited against this identify is that Munio of Zamora expressly forbids the carrying of arms. But this is in reality but a further proof of their approximation, for he allows for the one exception which could possibly apply to the Militia, viz. in defence of the Church. :32 This amalgamation is admitted by the Bollandists to have become general in the 14th century.and a comparison also of the rules of the two institutions: that of Pope Gregory for the Militia in 1235 :
From this double movement therefore, i.e. from the Ordo de Poenitentia S. Dominici and the Militia Jesu Christi, was born the modern Third Order of St. Dominic. Though its source is therefore anterior to the First Order, its full perfection as an organized society, with a distinctive habit, a definite rule, and a declared ethos or spirit, is due to the genius of the children of St. Dominic. They took an ancient institution, and, with their characteristic love of order and systematic arrangement, brought it into something compact and symmetrical. From them this idea of subjection to a First Order was taken up by the Franciscans and has been adopted by all subsequent Third Orders.
Only for one period in its history was there any real fear of suppression. Many held that the condemnation passed on the Beguines and Beghards at the Council of Vienna in 1312 applied no less to the Orders of Penance. In consequence the master-general petitioned Pope John XXII in 1326 to settle definitely the difficulty. As a result, he answered by a Bull of 1 June 1326 (Cum de Mulieribus), which is a long eulogium on the work of the Dominican Third Order.
After the plague of 1348, a great deal of laxity and disorganization crept into the Third Order, but a wonderful throng of saints soon caused its rejuvenation. The influence of St. Catherine of Siena gave a powerful impetus to the movement in Italy and her work was carried on by Bl. Clara Gambacorta (died 1419) and Bl. Maria Mancini (died 1431). This new spiritual vigour reached across the Alps to the sisterhoods of Germany, where the effect was almost abnormal (Heimbucher, "Die Orden und Kongregationen der katholischen Kirche", Paderborn, 1907, II, 169–177). But there has never been any reform in the sense of a separate organization with a change of rule or habit. As in the First Order, there has been a peculiar gift of unity which has enabled it to last undivided for seven hundred years.
The work of the Third Order is to engage laypeople to help in reform of church discipline. Its initial purpose was the preaching of penance; but under Dominican influences it leaned to the intellectual aspect of the Faith and based its message to the world on the exposition of the Creed; it was to reform Church discipline by the more widespread knowledge of the mysteries of faith. It also helped to defend the Church, and to develop the communion of prayer. The medieval ideal of Christ's Mystical Body which has captivated all spiritual-minded people implies a harmony of prayer. To achieve this end the contemplative and monastic orders were begun; and the Third Order of St. Dominic endeavours to link pious souls to this great throng of religious (Proctor, "The Dominican Tertiary's Daily Manual", London, 1900, 15–20).
The Third Order as it exists today can be divided into two categories: regular, i.e. comprising Tertiaries, whether men or women, who live in community and wear the habit externally; and secular, i.e. whether married or single, cleric or lay, who live their lives like others of their profession, but who privately take up practices of austerity, recite some liturgical Office, and wear some symbol of the Dominican habit.
The origin of the conventual women Tertiaries has never been very clearly worked out. It is usual to trace them back to Emily Bicchieri, about the year 1255.But if the view taken above of the origin of the Third Order in the Ordo de Poenitentia be correct, we are forced to the conclusion that the communities of women established by St. Dominic at Prouille, S. Sisto, etc. were really of this Third Order. Their constitutions, approved first for S. Sisto, though previously observed at Prouille, expressly speak of the nuns as "de Poenitentia S. Mariae Magdalenae". It would seem then that the Ordo de Poenitentia did not exclude convents of enclosed nuns from its ranks, and this was due probably to St. Dominic himself.
Very much later came a conventual order of men, originated by the genius of Père Lacordaire. He considered that the democratic spirit of the Dominican Order fitted it especially for the task of training the youth. But he knew how impossible it was for his preaching associates to tie themselves down to schoolwork among boys; as a consequence, he began, in 1852, a Third Order of men, wearing the habit, living in community yet without the burdens of monastic life. The rule was approved provisionally in 1853 and definitely in 1868.
But by far the greatest portion of the Third Order consists of secular Tertiaries. These are of every rank of society, and represent the old Ordo de Poenitentia and the old Militia. In certain countries they are grouped into chapters, having a lay prior and sub-prior or prioress and sub-prioress, and hold monthly meetings. Since the Rule of Muñon de Zamora (1285), they have always been subject to a Dominican priest appointed by the Dominican provincial. For the actual reception of the habit, the master-general can give faculties to any priest. The full habit is the same as that of the members of the First and Second Orders, but without the scapular (granted, however, to communities since 1667). Though the habit is not worn during life many procure it so that they may be buried in the recognized dress of St. Dominic's children.
It is practically impossible to obtain, even in a vague way, the number of the secular Dominican Tertiaries. No general register is kept, and the records of each priory would have to be searched. From the time of St. Louis — who wished to join the Dominican and Franciscan Orders ( Acta Sanctorum , August, V, 545), and is represented in old illuminations, sometimes in the habit of one, sometimes in the habit of the other (Chapotin, Histoire de dominicains de la province de France, Rouen, 1898, p. 497), but probably never joined either— to our own time, it can be stated only that with the rise and fall of the First Order's greatness rose and fell the number of the Tertiaries. In England during the 13th century very many are said to have become Tertiaries. But of this nothing for certain can be specified.
At the time of St. Catherine of Siena, the Mantellate (women secular Tertiaries) made difficulties about receiving her to the habit as they included at the date only widows (Gardner, St. Catherine of Siena, London, 1907, II), and there were no men at all in the Third Order in Italy at that date (Acta Sanctorum, April, III, 1881). Under Bl. Raymond of Capua, her confessor and, after her death, twenty-third master general, attempts were made to re-establish the order and no doubt much was done (Mortier, "Maîtres généraux", III, 605–606). But by the time of St. Antoninus (died 1450) the numbers had again dwindled down to insignificance ("Summa Moralis", Verona, 1750, III, 23, 5, 5, pp. 1291–2). Just previous to the Reformation there are a few isolated notices; thus Bl. Adrian Fortescue, the martyr, notes in his diary: "Given to the Black Friars of Oxford to be in their fraternity 12d" ("Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII", London, 1883, Rolls Series, VII, 101). But these give us no ground at all for any surmise as to statistics. In the Americas, the first canonized saint (St. Rose of Lima, died 1617) and the first beatified person of mixed-race (St. Martin de Porres, died 1639) were both Dominican Tertiaries, and later in France were men like M. Olier and St. Louis de Montfort.
In the United States, Lay Dominican Provinces include the Southern Province,Central Province, Western Province, and Eastern Province.
Then came the influence of Lacordaire, from whose time there dates a new enthusiasm in the Third Order ("Année Dominicaine", Paris, 1910, 149–65). Of the regular Tertiaries it is easier to speak more definitely. The numbers of all the sixteen approved congregations existing in 1902 are given, and they amount to some 7000 nuns ("Analecta Ord. Praed.", Rome, 1902, 389). To these must be added another 7000 of congregations not yet definitively authorized by Rome. But many fresh convents were opened and the numbers continually increased. In England they began under Mother Margaret Hallahan (died 1868) in 1842, and now in all the separate groupings there are 22 convents with some 500 sisters; in the United States their success has been remarkable. Founded in 1846 by Mother Amalie Barth (died 1895), the congregation in 1902 included 34 convents and over 2000 nuns. In 1876 they passed into California, where they are rapidly increasing. In Ireland they have many establishments, especially for educational purposes, for their work is as varied as the needs of humanity require. Some are enclosed, others teach, visit the sick, nurse the lepers, look after old people, take care of penitent girls, work among the poor in the slums, etc. As for the congregation of teaching men, they have been greatly disorganized since their expulsion from France. At present they comprise but a half-dozen colleges in Fribourg, San Sebastian, and South America, and do not amount to more than 100 members in all. Finally, a citation from Faber's "Blessed Sacrament" (2nd ed., p. 565) may be made: "Those who are conversant with, indeed who find the strength and consolation of their lives in, the Acts of the Saints well know that there is not a nook in the mystical Paradise of our heavenly spouse where the flowers grow thicker or smell more fragrantly than this order of multitudinous child-like saints. Nowhere in the Church does the Incarnate Word show His delight at being with the children of men in more touching simplicity, with more unearthly sweetness, or more spouse-like familiarity than in this, the youngest family of S. Dominic."[ citation needed ]
The Order of Preachers, whose members are known as Dominicans, is a mendicant order of the Catholic Church founded in Toulouse, France, by the Spanish priest Saint Dominic. It was approved by Pope Honorius III via the Papal bull Religiosam vitam on 22 December 1216. Members of the order, who are referred to as Dominicans, generally carry the letters OP after their names, standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers. Membership in the order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and affiliated lay or secular Dominicans.
The Carmelites, formally known as the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel or sometimes simply as Carmel by synecdoche, is a Roman Catholic mendicant religious order for men and women. Historical records about its origin remain very uncertain, but it was probably founded in the 12th century on Mount Carmel in the Crusader States. Berthold of Calabria has traditionally been associated with the founding of the order, but few clear records of early Carmelite history have survived. The order of Carmelite nuns was formalised in 1452.
The Franciscans are a group of related mendicant Christian religious orders, primarily within the Catholic Church. Founded in 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi, these orders include the Order of Friars Minor, the Order of Saint Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis. They adhere to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of the founder and of his main associates and followers, such as Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, and Elizabeth of Hungary. Several smaller Protestant Franciscan orders exist as well, notably in the Anglican and Lutheran traditions.
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is a religious order of Franciscan friars within the Catholic Church, one of two "First Orders" that sprang from the Franciscan Friars Minor Observant, the other being the Conventuals. The Capuchins arose in 1525 with the purpose of returning to a stricter observance of the rule established by Francis of Assisi in 1209.
A friar is a brother and a member of one of the mendicant orders founded in the twelfth or thirteenth century; the term distinguishes the mendicants' itinerant apostolic character, exercised broadly under the jurisdiction of a superior general, from the older monastic orders' allegiance to a single monastery formalized by their vow of stability. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites.
Munio of Zamora, O.P., was a Spanish Dominican friar who became the seventh Master General of the Dominican Order in 1285, and later a bishop.
Saint Dominic, also known as Dominic of Osma and Dominic of Caleruega, often called Dominic de Guzmán and Domingo Félix de Guzmán, was a Castilian Catholic priest and founder of the Dominican Order. Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers.
Mendicant orders are, primarily, certain Christian religious orders that have adopted a lifestyle of poverty, traveling, and living in urban areas for purposes of preaching, evangelization, and ministry, especially to the poor. At their foundation these orders rejected the previously established monastic model. This model prescribed living in one stable, isolated community where members worked at a trade and owned property in common, including land, buildings and other wealth. By contrast, the mendicants avoided owning property at all, did not work at a trade, and embraced a poor, often itinerant lifestyle. They depended for their survival on the goodwill of the people to whom they preached.
The term Third Order signifies, in general, lay members of religious orders, who do not necessarily live in community and yet can claim to wear the habit and participate in the good works of some great order. Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism and Anglicanism all recognize Third Orders. They were a twelfth-century adaptation of the medieval monastic confraternities.
The Lay Carmelites, formally known as the Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is a third order of the Carmelite Order of the Ancient Observance, established in 1476 by a bull of Pope Sixtus IV. It is an association of lay people who choose to live the Gospel in the spirit of the Carmelite Order and under its guidance.
The Christian movement known as the Penitents goes back to the 4th century. Those who had committed serious sins confessed their sins to the Bishop or his representative and were assigned a penance that was to be carried out over a period of time. After completing their penance, they were reconciled by the Bishop with a prayer of absolution offered in the midst of the community. Penance assumed many forms, such as pilgrimages to holy sites; constructing, repairing and rebuilding churches; and caring for the poor and sick.
Raymond of Penyafort, OP, was a Catalan Dominican friar in the 13th century, who compiled the Decretals of Gregory IX, a collection of canonical laws that remained a major part of Church law until the 1917 Code of Canon Law abrogated it. He is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church and is the patron saint of canon lawyers.
The Third Order of Saint Francis, is a third order in the Franciscan order. The preaching of Francis of Assisi, as well as his example, exercised such an attraction on people that many married men and women wanted to join the First Order (friars) or the Second Order (nuns), but this being incompatible with their state of life, Francis found a middle way and in 1221 gave them a rule according to the Franciscan charism. Those following this rule became members of the Franciscan Third Order, sometimes called tertiaries. It includes religious congregations of men and women, known as Third Order Regulars; and fraternities of men and women, Third Order Seculars. The latter do not wear a religious habit, take vows, or live in community. However, they do gather together in community on a regular basis. "They make profession to live out the Gospel life and commit themselves to that living out the Gospel according to the example of Francis."
The Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance is a mendicant order rooted in the Third Order of St. Francis which was founded in 1447.
The Anglican Order of Preachers is an Anglican religious order sometimes referred to as the "Dominicans".
The Secular Franciscan Order is the third branch of the Franciscan Family formed by Catholic men and women who seek to observe the Gospel of Jesus by following the example of Francis of Assisi. Secular Franciscans are not like the other third orders, since they are not under the higher direction of the same institute. Brothers and sisters of the Secular Franciscan Order profess to their own Rule, and Secular Franciscan fraternities can exist without the presence of the first or second Franciscan Orders. The Secular Franciscan Order was the third of the three families founded by Francis of Assisi 800 years ago.
The Militia or Order of the (Holy) Faith of Jesus Christ was an ephemeral military order founded in Languedoc in or shortly before 1221. It owed its origins probably to Folquet de Marselha, the Bishop of Toulouse; Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, leader of the Albigensian Crusade; and possibly to Dominic of Caleruega, the founder of the Friars Preachers.
The Dominican Order was first established in the United States by Edward Fenwick in the early 19th century. The first Dominican institution in the United States was the Province of Saint Joseph, which was established in 1805. Additionally, there have been numerous institutes of Dominican Sisters and Nuns.
When referring to Roman Catholic religious orders, the term Second Order refers to those Orders of cloistered nuns which are a part of the mendicant Orders that developed in the Middle Ages.
Emilia Bicchieri was an Italian Roman Catholic professed religious from the Order of Preachers. Bicchieri – born to a patrician – is best known for the construction of a Dominican convent in her hometown of Vercelli where she served as prioress.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Third Orders". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.