Third Order Of Saint Francis
The Third Order of St. Francis is a third order within the Franciscan movement of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes both congregations of vowed men and women and fraternities of men and women living standard lives in the world, usually married. A parallel Third Order of Saint Francis (TSSF) exists in the Anglican Communion, alongside the 'Society of St Francis' and 'Community of St Francis' (the First Order Franciscans), and the 'Community of St Clare' (the Second Order Franciscan Sisters).
It has been believed that the Third Order of St. Francis was the oldest of all Third Orders, but historical evidence is against such an opinion. For, besides similar institutions in some monastic orders in the twelfth century, we find, before the foundation of St. Francis, a Third Order, properly so called, among the Humiliati, confirmed together with its rule by Innocent III in 1201.
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