Becoming a Third Order Franciscan can help you to combat and resist the modernist crisis of the Church; Fr. Emily demonstrates how from the life of St. Francis of Assisi himself.
Letter from Fr. Jacques Emily, TOSF chaplain for SSPX
We are all in joyful expectation of the approaching visit of our Capuchin Fathers from Morgon, France, who will be visiting the Tertiaries of the Third Order of St. Francis in our countries next month [October 15-November 19]. Fr. Francois-Marie, who is the superior of the Third Order of St. Francis for the English-speaking countries, will be accompanied by Fr. Fidele-Marie, who was ordained by Bishop de Galaretta last year.
This will be the first North American visit of Capuchin Fathers faithful to Tradition since the collapse of the Order of St. Francis, which followed the conciliar reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Like all other religious orders, the main Order, being poisoned by the liberal spirit of the conciliar Church, left in its wake the Third Order of the faithful, who had just the bad example given by the clerics to follow.
It is then quite remarkable to witness the wonderful fidelity of so many Tertiaries of St. Francis who, in spite of this devastation of the Franciscan Order and of their own Third Order, have regrouped around the chapels and priories of our Society and have faithfully kept the Rule, the Constitutions, and the spirit of St. Francis. St. Francis, who in his time had been called by God to save His Church, obviously continues his mission from above and diligently cares for his children who wish to remain faithful to their Seraphic Patriarch.
In the historical context of the present crisis in the Church, this first visit of traditional Capuchin Fathers to our countries is particularly important. It fills the hearts of our faithful Tertiaries with great joy in the expectation of the consolation that the presence of the Capuchins will bring to them after having suffered marginalization and exclusion from the Regular Order for so many years. Thus, this visit truly is an important milestone in the History of the Third Order of St. Francis in the United States and Canada. This is why, dear faithful I entreat every one of you, and in particular the faithful of the parishes receiving our two Fathers, to be generous with your support and your prayers for the success of this visit, which, undoubtedly, will bear abundant graces for so many souls.
Our Capuchin Fathers will visit most of our groups of Tertiaries which have grown up around our chapels and priories these past years. They will attend their meetings in order to assess their situation and help them become better organized. They will preside over ceremonies of reception of the new novices and will give them the habit of the Tertiaries of St. Francis. They will also receive the final profession of those who have completed their one year and a half novitiate. They will give conferences and sermons in our chapels and priories to explain the purpose and role of the Third Order of St. Francis.
The purpose of the Third Order is nothing else but to lead souls and families to a state of perfection according the recommendation of Our Lord: “Be ye, perfects as your heavenly Father is perfect”. As the Handbook of the Tertiaries explains: “St. Francis established the Third Order as a training school to give perfect Christians to the Church.” But, since the Catholic Church, infected by modernism from inside, is now crumbling apart, as it was at the time of St. Francis, it is most important that the Tertiaries who want to restore the Church on the solid bases of the Catholic Faith, focus also on the learning of and the defense of the authentic traditional doctrine of the Church.
In doing so, the traditional Third Order of St. Francis represents then a powerful instrument of spiritual and doctrinal combat at the service of our Society for the restoration of the Church. More than ever, the traditional Order of St. Francis along with its traditional Third Order valiantly work today in the strict fidelity to the vocation of their Seraphic Founder who received from God the mission to restore the Church. “Francis,” Jesus said to him from the crucifix of the Church of St. Damien, “go, repair my house, which, as you see, is falling completely to ruin.”
This is still the mission of the children of St. Francis! This is the vocation of our courageous Tertiaries who, by their prayers and sacrifices, and by living in the spirit of poverty and true charity of St. Francis, are discreetly, but efficaciously supporting the missionary work of our Society for the restoration of the holiness and of the sound doctrine in the Church.
There is then no doubt that this first visit of our Capuchin Fathers enters into the plan of God for the restoration of the Church in our districts of the United States and Canada. This is why I encourage all the faithful of our chapels and priories to come and hear the Capuchins preach the message of the Seraphic Doctor. I hope and pray that many generous souls and devoted families, upon hearing this beautiful, evangelic and true Catholic message, will decide to join this powerful militia of Christ—the Third Order of St. Francis.
For those who would like to know more about the Third Order of St. Francis, I have included below more specific information on the spirituality of the Third Order, on the rules, and the conditions for admission to the novitiate. For those also, who would like to attend the conferences and meet with the Capuchin Fathers, the contact information in the United States and Canada has been provided as well as the schedule of the visit in these two districts.
The Third of St. Francis “is a most powerful antidote against all the evils which harass the present age ...there is no means more apt to lead the world back to a true and solid observance of the Gospel.” “It is Our desire that all Christian families join the Third Order.” (Pope Leo XIII)
Fr. Jacques Emily
USA Director of the TOSF