Saturday, February 4, 2012

So, What Exactly Does TOR Mean? Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

What does TOR stand for?

Often times we are asked by curious people “What does TOR stand for?” T.O.R are the initials of our branch of the Franciscan Family - the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of Penance.

Franciscans serve the needs of the Church and participate in the mission of Christ to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Our Fraternal living provides a center from which our friars go out and are nourished and strengthened in our shared resources to be of service to the Church. Many of the religious communities in existence today were founded for a specific purpose or to meet a specific need in the Church.

The Franciscan family has three branches, there is the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), the Poor Clare's (religious sisters), and the Third Order Regular. Secular Franciscans, lay men and women bonded to Franciscan communities, have been known as Third Order Seculars and sometimes the terms are confused.

OFM Friars are what many people picture when they think of a Franciscans because there are so many different OFM groups, there are the Capuchins (Padre Pio for example was a Capuchin Friar), OFM Conventuals, etc. There are abundant OFM Provinces in the United States, and abroad the OFM Friars number into the thousands if not more. Poor Clares are religious sisters {CLOISTERED NUNS} who follow the footsteps of St Francis and Saint Clare, and then you arrive to our Order the Third Order Regular.

In the time of Saint Francis there existed a group of early Penitents. These lay men and women lived a life of penance and Francis was first called to join them. That is how the Franciscan Order began. Throughout the centuries the Third Order consisted of lay men and women, and the term "Regular" was added to distinguish between lay individuals and those who were priests and professed religious brothers, thus becoming known as the Third Order Regular, or the TOR’s. Many Congregations of religious brother and especially of sisters engaged in works of charity, education and hospital ministry also follow the TOR Rule

Today the Third Order Regular has about 900 Franciscan Friars who minister in seventeen countries around the world. The TOR's are indeed a small Order in numbers, but we are a great fraternity and blessed to have your support.

For more history on the Third Order Regular, view a video on our YouTube channel:


Victor S E Moubarak said...

Thank you. This is very informative and interesting.

God bless.