The Franciscan Family
Speaking very simply, the Franciscan Family refers to all those who share in the Franciscan Charism. We include in this all those who are members of the First, Second or Third Orders of St Francis.
Who are the members of the Franciscan Family?
1. All members of the First Order of St Francis, namely, members of the Order of Friars Minor of the three obediences:
a) The Order of Friars Minor (OFM)
b) The Order of Friars Minor Conventual (OFM Conv.)
c) The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap )
2. All members of the Second Order of St Francis or Poor Clares (OSC, PCC, OSC Cap, PCPA)
3. All members of the Third Order Regular (TOR, OSF, etc.) These are members of men and women congregations such as the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn.
4. All members of the Secular Franciscan Order (Third Order Secular).
The distinctions that exist among the Three Franciscan Orders are not distinctions implying difference in status, but differences of emphases in the spirituality and mission of each Order. Together we comprise one worldwide family, inspired by the Gospel Spirit of Francis and Clare of Assisi.
The Third Order Regular began to be formed within the lifetime of St. Francis. Franciscan lay penitents began living in community, professing vows – the canonical definition of religious – and performing works of charity. Therefore, the Third Order Regular of St. Francis traces its origin to the time of St. Francis.
Whenever they meet each other, they should show that they are members of the same family.
-Third Order Regular Rule