Original Franciscan "Third Order"  -- Confraternity of Penitents

Make Every Day a Path to Holiness

Saint Francis Third Order Confraternity of Penitents shows Saint Francis of Assisi praying before San Damiano Crucifix

Faithful Catholic? Looking for more? More discipline? More prayer? More joy? More  God time?  Are you willing to give up some of what you don't want to get more of what you do want? Make every day a way to holiness through living the Rule of the Confraternity of Penitents.

Prayer. Penance. Fasting. Simplicity of Life. Works of Mercy. Community. Just what Our Lady is calling for today. Saint Francis knew the heart of lay people. That is why he accepted this Rule of life for his lay followers.


Our Rule of life also works well for those who would like to be in religious life but who are not able to enter or remain in religious life at this time. 

Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith,
certain hope and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord,
that I may carry out
Your holy and true command.
(St. Francis' Prayer before the San Damiano Crucifix)

We are the original Franciscan Third Order because as married and single lay men and women, we live, in our own homes, the original religious Rule for lay people , given in 1221 by Saint Francis of Assisi. Canonically approved Constitutions  enable us to live this Rule in the modern world. As a lay person, you, too, can live this freeing way of life!



"You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind, (and) you shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Jesus's words as recorded in Matthew 22:37-38)


To give glory to God and surrender to His Will through the living of a medieval, penitential Rule of Life, the Rule of 1221. This Rule is lived as closely as possible to its original intent, and in one's own home, in peace with all others, and in obedience to the Roman Catholic Church, its Pope, and its Magisterium.


Saint Francis Third Order Confraternity of Penitents shows Jesus on original crucifix of San Damiano in Assisi
How to Join

Go to the Formation Page and complete the Inquirer Application.


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Religious Rule for Catholic Lay People


Welcome, and thank you for visiting the Confraternity of Penitents! Around the world, our members live, in their own homes as Catholic married and single men and women, a religious Rule of Life for the laity, given originally by Saint Francis of Assisi to the people of his day. Our Constitutions, canonically approved by the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, enable us to live this holy and freeing Rule of Life as closely as possible to its original intent.



"Go and repair My House which, as you can see, is falling into ruin." (The message given to St. Francis in a voice from the San Damiano Crucifix. This scene is pictured above in the painting by Giotto.) We believe that, in order to bring God's love to the world, we must first be surrendered to God ourselves. Our Rule and Constitutions enable us to give ourselves more completely to our Lord and Savior so that we can follow His Will, not our own, in our lives.


We thank the Lord for a grace filled retreat. Talks on this link.


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Daily Prayers of the Confraternity of Penitents.

Saint Francis Third Order Confraternity of Penitents prays daily prayer office and also prays for intentions on a weekly prayer list.
Order? Confraternity?


The Confraternity of Penitents is both like a Franciscan Third Order and like a Confraternity. Here's how:


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