Original Franciscan "Third Order"  -- Confraternity of Penitents

Make Every Day a Path to Holiness

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.


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.


I wake in the morning between 4am and 5am. I think I need to wake an hour eariler:-)


I try not to trip over two boxers reclining in front of my bedroom door and our small landing on the second floor. As I head downstairs for coffee, I try to navigate the dogs taking one step at a time. They are trying to figure out is it potty time or food.


I head upstairs to my room and collect myself. This is the most sacred part of my day. I start with lectio divine of readings of the daily mass. I then meditate or mental prayer using the prayer of the heart. I am always blessed and amazed at the words he speaks from lectio divine.

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Keep up with the Confraternity in  spiritual insights, humor, poetry, saint of the month, and photos.​

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We have no dues or fees, but, if you wish to help, we appreciate all donations to our mission of spreading the message of conversion (penance) worldwide.

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Order? Confraternity?


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


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 Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary and tender Mother of all people, I consecrate myself to your Immaculate Heart and recommend to you my family, my country, and the whole human race, Please accept my consecration, dearest Mother, and use me as you wish, to accomplish your designs upon the world. O Immaculate Heart of  Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth, rule over me and teach me how to allow  the Heart of Jesus to rule and triumph in me and   around me, as it has ruled and triumphed in you. Amen 
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Confraternity of Penitents

1702 Lumbard Street

 Fort Wayne IN USA 46803 




May God bless you and give you joy!