Who are we?
The FODC (ACC) is a traditional Franciscan family of brothers and sisters of the Third Order Secular.
Above all, our Franciscan family is a family of prayer. The object of the Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion is to build a community of those who accept Christ as their Lord and Master and are dedicated to him in body and spirit. They surrender their lives to him and to the service of his people. The Third Order consists of those who, while following the ordinary professions of life, feel called to dedicate their own lives under a definite discipline and promises. They may be female or male, married or single, lay or ordained.
Our Tertiaries are men and women who have dedicated themselves to God in a special way, as a result of an inward drawing which is believed to be the guidance of the Holy Spirit; but partly, at least, they have found inspiration in the life and good works of St. Francis of Assisi.
How to join the Third Order?
Well, the FODC is not a club or society, but an order. Only baptized and confirmed Anglican Catholics* are accepted and spend a time as a postulant, when directed study teaches the Franciscan spirituality and how it fits in the Anglican way. During postulancy, each individual drafts his or her own rule of life based on the Franciscan and Anglican ways.
Upon completion of postulancy comes the clothing as a novice, when temporary profession is made and the tertiary makes three promises of Simplicity, Purity, and Fidelity. In the Third Order, the promises are made with a lifelong intention, whereas the pledge is made and renewed monthly during the novitiate and annually after profession. The effect of this is three-fold.
First, it allows the Order to respect the lifelong intention, and to permit the promises, but to give it effect only for a specified period of time, so that it is possible for a Tertiary to take on and fulfill a lifelong dedication, provided he or she renews regularly.
Second, after a professed Tertiary or Oblate has made his or her annual renewal of promises/vow for at least one year, he or she may be permitted to renew promises/vow for a longer time period, if desired.
Third, if anyone fails to renew, or if the Order thinks it right not to accept the renewal for any reason, though the Tertiary would thereby cease to be a member of the Order, he or she would not be burdened by the lifelong obligation of the promises/vow. Since under this arrangement it requires the repeated action of two parties to maintain the promises/vow, if one is missing, the promises/vow lapse. The purpose of lifelong vows is thus secured, but both the Third Order and the individual Tertiary are protected. However, there is a moral duty for a Tertiary under promises/vow made with lifelong intention to renew the pledge when required, unless he or she is convinced that it is against God’s will to do so.
Is God calling you to the Franciscan life?
Enquiries may be made to ThirdOrderFODC@gmail.com
* By “Anglican Catholics” here is meant members of the ACC or of one of the four church bodies in full communion: The Anglican Catholic Church, The Anglican Church in America, The Anglican Province in America, and the Diocese of the Holy Cross.