Political / Social
- Acton Institute
- Catholic Vote
- Institute of Catholic Culture
- American Chesterton Society
- The Distributist Review
Scriptural / Liturgical
- Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
- The Dominican Province of St. Joseph
- New Mount Carmel Foundation
- Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Phoenix
- Tutorial on the Traditional Latin Mass
- The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Podcasts
- CatholicCulture.org Library
- New Advent
- Sontius Sanctus: Understanding the Scriptures Podcasts
St. Francis & Spiritual Books
- Franciscan Prayer by Ilia Delio, O.S.F.
- The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective by Ilia Delio, O.S.F.
- Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality by Richard Rohr, O.F.M.
- Francis and the San Damiano Cross: Meditations on Spiritual Transformation by Susan Saint Sing, Ph.D.
- The Threefold Way of St. Francis by Murray Bodo, O.F.M.
- The Road to Assisi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis by Paul Sabatier, translated by Jon M. Sweeney
- Merton’s Palace of Nowhere: A Search for God Through Awareness of the True Self by James Finley
Conflict Resolution Books
- “A Different Look at Power” by Robert O’Donnell
- Faith-Based Reconciliation: A Moral Vision that Transforms People and Societies by Brian Cox
- Forgiveness: Breaking the Chain of Hate by Michael Henderson
Franciscans belong to one of three orders founded by St. Francis of Assisi, Friars Minor, the Poor Ladies or Clares, and the Brothers and Sisters of Penance.
History of the Orders
The First Order dates from 1209 when Pope Innocent III provided unwritten approval of the simple rule Francis had composed for the guidance of his first companions. This rule was subsequently rewritten by St. Francis and solemnly confirmed by Honorius III, November 29, 1223. This Second Rule is professed throughout the First Order of St. Francis.
The Second Order was founded in 1212. St. Francis did not draw up a formal rule for the Poor Ladies. The rule imposed upon the Poor Ladies at San Damiano about 1219 by Cardinal Ugolino (Gregory IX) was recast by St. Clare toward the end of her life and was approved by Innocent IV, August 9, 1253.
The Third Order was founded in 1221. In founding the Brothers and Sisters of Penance St Francis had in mind a lay confraternity of penance, a middle step between the cloister and the world for those wishing to follow in the saint’s footsteps. It was for those debarred by marriage or other ties from entering the first or second order.
The Present Organization of the Three Orders
Today the Friars Minor, the First Order, is comprised of three distinct bodies. They are ” the Friars Minors founded in 1209; the Friars Minor Conventuals and the friars Minor Capuchins, both of which grew out of the parent stem, and were constituted as independent orders in 1517 and 1619 respectively. All three orders profess the rule of the Friars Minor approved by Honorius III in 1223, but each one has its own particular constitutions and its own general minister.
The Poor Clares today include all the monasteries of cloistered nuns professing the Rule of St. Clare approved by Innocent IV in 1253.
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance or Third order of St. Francis have two distinct bodies. One is Secular; the other is called Regular.
Men and women in the Third Order Secular do not take Vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. With Vatican Council II, the Third Franciscan Order (lay people without vows) became a unified Secular Institute in its own right, under one General Minister for the whole Order, thus putting aside the historical differentiations or divisions within the First Order. Vatican II strongly emphasized the lay person’s vocation in the Church and also felt it necessary to recognize the autonomous nature of the SFO, as the Third Order of St. Francis is now called. According to a 2002 consensus, the total number of members is over 431,000 organized in 49 constituted national fraternities and 31 emerging national fraternities.
The Third Order Regular comprises some 500 independent Franciscan congregations of men and women. John Paul II officially approved a new Rule for the Third Order Regular Brothers and Sisters in vows in 1982. The Rule and Life of the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis was written by members of the Order. It is an inspirational document that expresses the fundamental lines of Third Order spirituality and tradition and honors four fundamental values: Conversion, Poverty, Minority, and Contemplation—which are woven into the web of fraternity to be lived in simplicity and joy.