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Tertiaries

third, world, saint and life

TERTIARIES, ter'slii-a-riz, members of the Third Order of various religious societies in the Roman Catholic Church. They are gen erally lay members of religious orders who follow ordinary avocations and duties in their communities, yet participate in certain work of a given order. Shortly after the institution of the Franciscan Order by Saint Francis of Assisi in the beginning of the 13th century, numbers of lay people were affiliated with the Franciscans under certain rules and restrictions, which hound them more systematically to a life of penance and devotion than ordinary per sons living in the world. In the course of time many of these Tertiaries desired to take solemn vows, live in community and still follow the regulations of the Third Order. In this way rose various Tertiary congregations, which gradually united under the one government. Benedict XIII in the beginning of the 18th cen tury recognized these Tertiary congregations and the laity affiliated with them as "a true and proper order, uniting in one seculars scattered all over the world and regulars living in com munity?' Leo XIII recommended the Third Order in an especial manner to the faithful throughout the world, as a means of personal sanctification to be embraced by lay people who desired to lead a more devout life.

The Dominicans also had their Tertiaries, instituted by Saint Dominic himself, though in what year is uncertain. It was known as the

Military Order of Christ, originally composed of knights and noblemen, whose duty it was to wage war against heretics. After the death of the founder this became the order of the penitents of Saint Dominic, for both sexes, and constituted the third order of Dominicans. These Tertiarians, without making any solemn vows, had the assurance of great spiritual priv ileges through the observance of a few fasts and prayers; they continued, also, in the enjoy ment of their civil and domestic relations. Some few companies of Dominican sisters of the Third Order, particularly in Italy, united in a monastic life, and became regular nuns; the most celebrated of whom is Saint Catharine of Sienna. Other religious orders after the ex ample of the Franciscans and Dominicans also established tertiary affiliations; the Augustinian hermits in the beginning of the 15th century, and later on the Minims, the Servites, the Carmelites and the Trappists. At the present time there are numbers of the laity throughout the world affiliated with the third orders and observing their regulations while still following their secular vocations in the world. See