The Secular Franciscan Order is a community of Catholic men and women in the world who seek to pattern their lives after Christ in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. Secular Franciscans are members of the Third Order of St. Francis founded by St. Francis of Assisi 800 years ago.
Originally known as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, the Order is open to any Catholic not bound by religious vows to another religious order and is made up of both the laity (men and women non-clergy) and secular clergy (deacons, priests, and bishops).
Although Secular Franciscans make a public profession, they are not bound by public vows as are religious living in community. The Third Order Regular (TOR), which grew out of the Third Order Secular, do make religious vows and live in community.
Because the Order belongs to the spiritual family of the Franciscan movements, the Holy See has entrusted its pastoral care and spiritual assistance to the Franciscan First Order (Order of Friars Minor) and Franciscan Third Order Regular (TOR), which belong to the same spiritual family.
Below is a link to the rule of the Order of Franciscan Secular