RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
Alt Ref NoTSSF
Extent5 boxes (11 subfonds)
TitleThird Order of St Francis
DescriptionRecords of the English Province of the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis. Contents and arrangement as follows:
1. Personal papers of the society's co-founder Dorothy Swayne.
2. Miscellaneous records and obituaries of tertiaries who were part of the order during its earlier years.
3. Lists of the names and addresses of members of the Third Order [these records are CLOSED under the Data Protection Act for 100 years - the presumed life time of the data subjects].
4. Circulars and newsletters sent to members, including provincial updates and the newsletter 'Tertiary Tidings'.
5. Agendas, minutes and reports of the English Chapter, Council, Pastoral Officers, Standing Committee and Interprovincial groups of the Third Order.
6. Rules and statues of the Third Order including a file on the revision of the Third Order Manual in 1967.
7. Schedules of events, pilgrimages and retreats, including sermons and programmes for St. Francistide celebrations.
8. Records of the relationship between the English Province and overseas branches of the Third Order, including tertiaries in Central Africa, Sweden and Germany. Also includes reports of the Third Order of Saint Francis World Councils of 1973-1975.
9. Records tracing the formation and dissolution of the Third Order Regular.
10. Correspondence with the Sisters of the Charity of St. Francis of Assisi following an appeal by the sisters for help with their missionary work.
11. Research into the history of the Company of Saint Francis and essays on the Third Order and Franciscanism.
12. Catalogues of the Third Order Postal Library.
AdminHistoryThe Third Order was originally formed in 1930 as the English branch of the Third Order of the Christa Seva Sangha (CSS), a Christian ashram in India, and was under the guidance of Father Algy of the Brotherhood of the Love of Christ at St. Ives and its co-founder Dorothy L. Swayne. The society was composed of priests and laity who wished to live under a simple rule of religious life following the Evangelical Counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. Many of its members however were not particularly connected with the Franciscan mission in India and in 1930 it was suggested by Br. Douglas Downes that the English Third Order be united with other tertiary groups within the society.

This led to the creation of the Fellowship of the Way in 1931 (also known as the Fellowship of St. Francis), which provided a rule of daily prayer and communion for members but did not require members to take vows. The following years saw a debate between tertiaries seeking a simpler rule of life and those wanting a fully formed Third Order with a novitiate and professed members under vows. In 1933 it was decided that the CSS tertiaries in Britain should become affiliated with other Third Order communities in England. The Fellowship of the Way was dissolved and replaced with the council of the Society of Saint Francis. In 1937, with the formation of the First Order of the Society of Saint Francis, it was decided that the affiliated tertiary communities should become the Third Order of the newly unified Society of Saint Francis.

See also:
'This Poor Sort: History of the European Province of the Society of St. Francis' by Peta Dunstan (1997) [LPL H5193.2F7]
'The Manual of the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis' by the Society of Saint Francis (1975) [LPL H5193.2F7]
AcquisitionReceived from the Third Order in 2010.
RelatedMaterialPublished material (including members' manuals and the Tertiary Newsletter) were transferred to Lambeth Palace Library printed book collection

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Related name records
GB/109/21646Third Order of Saint Francis; 1931-1931-
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