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This Constitution gives expression to the application of the Rule of the Order to the Third Branch, and compliments the Constitution of the First and Second Branches. The Third Branch is primarily for families but also for Single Laity who wish to live the Consecrated life of Minor Vows.

It is to be well understood that the Constitution of the Saint Charbel Third Branch does not, of itself, oblige under pain of sin. With regard to violations of the Rule and Constitution the following points should be remembered.

  • If a provision of the Constitution, which at the same time is prescribed by Divine or Ecclesiastical Law, is violated - e.g. any Minor Vows - the violation is a sin, even though the Constitution does not bind under pain of sin.
  • Even though the Constitution does not bind under pain of sin, a violation of the Constitution, if deliberate, may easily be, at least, a venial sin because of a sinful motive.
  • If a member violates the Rule or Constitution with formal contempt, the member is certainly guilty of sin.
The determinants of mortal sin are threefold:
  • the matter must be grave.
  • the member must have sufficient knowledge.
  • the member must have sufficient freedom.
If any one of these are absent, there is no mortal sin.


1.1 To observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ by living in a spirit of poverty, without attachment to property, and in Chastity - according to each individual's state of life - and under Obedience.

1.2 To offer obedience and loyalty to the Pope and his successors, and to the lawfully appointed Superiors of the Order of Saint Charbel


2.1 All Communities will have a Priest as Community Superior, except for the provision (Part (1) Section 6.4) for the appointment of a Lay Member from the Third Branch as a Temporary Superior during the Foundation stage. The Community Superior's role is strictly accountable to the Major Superior. All are accountable to the Supreme Moderator.

2.2 The Community Superior in consultation with members of the Community, appoints to the Community Council - which is responsible for the development and management of the Community property, its buildings, facilities, farm production and industry, subject always to the authority of the Community Superior. The Community Council will be formed from representation of all Branches in the Community, with its Office Bearer drawn from those with the skills necessary to fulfil the appointed tasks

2.3 The Community Superior, in consultation with the Major Superior, appoints the Superior (customarily called President) of the Third Branch, or Branch of Families, which includes any Internal Members of the Fourth Branch and Single Lay people who may be living in the Community. The Superior can be a Priest, a Deacon, a Religious Brother or Sister, or Lay Man or Woman, and is responsible to the Community Superior for the welfare of the members in his/her care.

2.4 The Superior of the Branch of Families convenes the Family Council to assist him/her with this task

2.5 For an outline of the Role, Responsibilities, and Operation of the Community Council and the Family Council, see Article 12

2.6 Members are bound to respect the Office of Superior; to endeavour at all times to separate the person from the Office, recognising that we are all sinners before God, but that by virtue of his Office the Superior represents Christ Our Lord



3.1 A Catholic would be wrong to regard the strict observance of the Commandments as a sufficient ideal or an uppermost limit. A fervent Catholic will endeavour to live on a plane which is above that of grave necessity. However, there are no fixed obligations for the Catholic who seeks to live on this plane to seek `perfection' - except that his or her life must be a life of love for God. In a Religious life, however, the obligation to perfection is fixed and definite, even while retaining its unlimited character of love. For a Member of the Third Branch of the Order the place above the lowest level becomes the practice of the Minor Vow, in which one chooses to bind oneself, under pain of venial sin, not to fall below this plane, but to strive for perfection.

"....Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the Will of God abides forever..." (1 John 2:15-17)


3.2 Poverty is that virtue which impels the heart to detach itself from temporal things, whereas the Minor Vow of Poverty is an Evangelical Counsel which calls a person to:

  • renounce his worldly possessions.
  • acquire or dispose of nothing without the consent of Superiors.
  • be content with what they have been given - housing, clothing, sustenance.
  • rejoice in growing detachment.
3.3 For Third Branch Members - particularly for those who are married and have children, or who are preparing a home for the rearing of children - the Minor Vow of Poverty calls for detachment from material possessions, but not the renunciation of all possessions. This means that in taking the Minor Vow of Poverty - the married couple bind themselves, under pain of venial sin, to live above the strict obligations of the First, Seventh and Tenth Commandments. The couple seek henceforth to live above this minimum level, on a plane where the will to love and serve God always takes precedence, in "....a life poor in spirit, industrious and sober in style, dependent and limited in the use of property..." (Canon 600.), where their possession and use of material goods is assessed differently; where, governed by a higher love, they seek perfection in their detachment from the world. This means that:

(a) Members should try always to recall that they are merely pilgrims through life; that they are but stewards for all things given by God!

(b) Members should regard the goods which they have acquired through their own means, or those with which they have been provided through the Community, as primarily for sustaining their simple life, and for carrying out the various Apostolic Works of the Third Branch of the Order.

(c) At the completion of their Novitiate, Members presenting for Profession in Minor Vows renounce the right to acquire or dispose of their temporal goods, and transfer to the Order title to all their temporal possessions.

(i) At Profession, the Member will enter into a legally binding Agreement with the Order, in which he/she - or both, jointly, in the case of a married couple - transfer title to all their worldly possessions such as property, investments, cash reserves, vehicles, tools, equipment, and machinery, which will be accepted by the Order as a gift - with the right to the use of the funds so accumulated.

(ii) The member, or married couple, will be required to provide an inventory of all their worldly possessions at the time of Profession, and which will form part of the Agreement.

(iii) Each member, at Profession, will be required to make a Will which is to recognise the Order as beneficiary in his/her, or in the case of a married couple, their estate.

(iv) Alternatively, a member or couple - when approaching the time of Profession - may make a gift of part of their estate to their children or close family who are not in the Order and to whom they have an obligation, transferring the balance to the Order in accordance with 3(c) (k) - (iii) above recognising the need to make over sufficient of their worldly possessions so that they may not be a financial burden on the Order.

(v) Any debts the member or married couple may have at the approach of their Profession are to be cleared by the sale of their goods, before the Agreement is prepared and signed.

(vi) Should a member or married couple subsequently leave the Order, they will be recompensed in full in accordance with this Agreement, subject to the normal lawful allowances for depreciation, wear and tear, etc. If the actual goods they entered with are no longer available, the member or couple will be recompensed in equivalent depreciated value.

(vii) When a member, or family, builds a house on Community Property, it is to be understood that the house becomes the property of the Order, and the member relinquishes all title to it.

(d) The Order, in turn, grants to the member, or family, the unlimited and exclusive use of items of a personal nature, or of sentimental value owned before Profession, and items such as tools and equipment essential to a person's trade or skill. This unlimited and exclusive use of certain goods would extend to clothing and personal effects of family members, and even to such items as refrigerators, washing-machines, vacuum cleaners and the like, which are conducive to healthy and neat housekeeping.

(e) In keeping with the life of Poverty and Community living of the Order, a prudent and moderate use of money will be permitted to Professed Members, under the authority and control of the Superior. Furthermore, members will be permitted to hold limited cash reserves, again under the authority and control of the Superior, to cater for the day to day health care of family members, and the continuing provision of essential clothing, footwear, and personal hygiene of their family.

(f) Those members who, after Profession, continue working outside the Community are required to give to the Order any salaries, wages, stipends, or compensation received for work done. The same applies to those members who are in receipt of Government pensions, Social Security and Welfare payments, and to members' business proceeds, annuities, superannuation, life insurance endowments, gifts and donations.

(g) Those members who, after Profession, may be permitted to either continue with, or undertake, a new project or business enterprise will do so either for or on behalf of the Order, for the Community self-sufficiency - and all assets and profits of the enterprise remain the property of the Order.

(h) Professed Members may be permitted to retain, for their personal or family use, non-essential items such as libraries of good books, records, tapes, compact discs, videos, and all the equipment necessary for these items. However, they need to reflect carefully on the manner in which they may be used, for, if these possessions become distractions from the Vowed objective of serving God before all else, they can be a potentially dangerous obstacle to the attainment of perfection.

(i) Members' personal memorabilia, photographs, family heir-looms, and all those personal items, even jewellery, which are part of the family heritage - particularly where these items have come down through several generations and might reasonably be expected to pass down to your children in the future - must be retained and treasured, though always with that spirit of detachment, in which the member sees oneself as a careful custodian rather than exclusive owner.

(j) The Community must live a `common life' in which - as an ideal - all things are held in common, and therefore no members or family must be in need while others have a surplus. Christian charity must always be an overriding consideration.

(k) In the Minor Vow of Poverty the member seeks also to use appropriately, and with care, material goods owned by the Order or other members, and to use Community resources only within the Community, unless permission is granted to do otherwise. (For example: a register will be kept listing all tools, recording their usage and return; and for large items of equipment and machinery, log books will be kept, recording usage and maintenance.)

(l) Members should dress simply and with dignity, when not required to wear the habit. They should not indulge in the excessive or unnecessary use of cosmetics or make-up, nor should they resort to the vanity of self-adornment.


3.4 To persevere in the Virtue of Chastity, the person in Minor vows will seek the virtue of humility, which will help them to beware of flattery, and all affectation or vanity in dress and appearance, to be distrustful of self, and - so through dependence on Grace - gain the Divine assistance without which one cannot remain chaste.".....God resists the proud, but He gives His Grace to the humble .... and ... Love is the guardian of virginity, but love dwells in humility...." (St. Augustine)

3.5 There are, in all, twelve principal means of preserving the Virtue of Chastity:

Guard the senses.

Avoid idleness: - rise early and start your day immediately with prayer.

Avoid occasions of sin: - people; places; books; TV or videos etc., which may stimulate unhealthy images, conversations, thoughts.

Temperance: - particularly in drinking.

Prudence in all social contact.

Christian modesty in dress and deportment.

Physical exercise.

Frequent Confession: - opening one's conscience frankly to our Confessor.

Frequent Holy Communion.

Humble devotion to and dependant trust in, Our Lady, the Queen and special Protectress of virgins.

Fidelity to the Rules of our Order.

Mortification and Prayer


3.6 For Third Branch Members who are married, the `Minor Vow' of Chastity relates to `conjugal Chastity'. This means that, in taking the Minor Vow of Chastity, the married couple bind themselves, under pain of venial sin, to live above the strict obligations of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, which of course bind under pain of serious sin. In Minor Vows, the couple seek henceforth to live above this minimum level, on a plane where their conjugal acts are assessed differently, for they must be governed by that higher love which spontaneously embraces the Evangelical Counsel of Chastity - to seek perfection in their conjugal union - by the `practice of the vow' to elevate their conjugal union to a deeply personal union of heart and soul in which they seek always to fulfil the Will of God. This implies the following

(a) The couple will seek always to keep in mind that their enjoyment of each other - though primarily for the begetting of children - ("two are joined to become one flesh") is also for the strengthening of their bond of love.

(b) The couple will seek always to embrace the Will of God in trust, not confining their union to those times when conception is unlikely.

(c) The couple will seek always in their conjugal union to be open to procreation, and to accept with love any children which God's Holy Will may grant them.

(d) If medical or other serious reason suggests that it would be prudent for a mother to have a rest from child bearing, the couple should seek to abstain from marital relations, by mutual consent, for the time necessary, as a form of self-denial which expresses a deeper and more spiritual love for each other.

(e) The couple should seek to avoid all forms of arousal which might precipitate self-gratification as a motive for their conjugal union. The mutual desire for each other should arise from their love for each other, in which arousal is always born within a deep mutual respect for the dignity of whole person, body and soul.

(f) The couple should strive to reflect that God is intimately involved in their conjugal union, thus praying that God will Bless their love with the creation of another soul.

(g) The couple will strive to deport themselves always with dignity, dressing in modest and dignified clothing that reflects their deep respect and love for each other,. (See 8.0 Dress Regulations)


3.7 For Third Branch Members who are unmarried, the `Minor Vow' of Chastity relates to `Celibate Chastity'. This means that, in taking the `Minor vow' of Chastity, the single person binds himself or herself (under pain of venial sin), to live above the strict obligations of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, which of course bind under pain of serious sin. In his/her Vow, the person seeks henceforth to live above this minimum level, on a plane where their celibacy is governed by a higher love - to seek perfection in the consecration of their celibacy to God in preparation for either a future Married Vocation or a Religious Vocation. This implies the following:

(a) The single person in the Minor Vow of Chastity, will seek always to remember that their Chastity - indeed, their Virginity - is a treasure which they wish to bring untarnished to their future Spouse, (their earthly spouse in a Married Vocation or their Heavenly Spouse in the Religious Vocation.)

(b) The single person in the Minor Vow of Chastity will seek not only to preserve celibate chastity - which, after all, is mandated by the Commandments - but to cultivate purity of mind and heart by avoiding occasions and circumstances where offences against purity are treated as normal behaviour - even if this means not watching your favourite TV show, or not watching certain films or attending some shows at the theatre, or not going swimming at the beach, or perhaps avoiding certain company.

(c) The single person in the Minor vow of Chastity will continually seek the Grace of God, to overcome temptations against holy purity by rejecting an evil attraction, immediately, resolutely, and without anxiety, trusting in the help of Our Blessed Mother.

(d) The single person in the Minor Vow of Chastity is not hindered in any way in his/her aspiration toward marriage, nor toward a Religious vocation in the First or Second Branch.

(e) The Minor Vow of Chastity does not preclude courting, for those who intend to embrace the Married Vocation. However, prudence must be exercised when `keeping company' to avoid situations that may arouse or inflame mutual desire. Restraint needs to be exercised at all times for the sake of mutual respect and love, and in the much greater desire to always do the Will of God. A kiss, a hug, or a brief embrace are good healthy ways for a courting couple to show their love for each other, but it must be an expression of love, not a gratification of sexual desire. Kissing and cuddling, or fondling or any form of sexual arousal, belong to marriage and should be avoided. Such behaviour, would not only be a breach of the Vow, but might also be seriously sinful.

(f) Single persons in Minor Vows who wish to marry may wait until their Minor Vows embracing celibate chastity have lapsed, or may apply for a dispensation through the Order, and then - at the time of their marriage - renew their vows, embracing conjugal chastity.


3.8 The practice of Obedience teaches us to be submissive to one another, to curb our own will - our own inherent assertiveness. It is in such submissiveness that the virtues of humility, meekness and charity are nurtured.

3.9 Obedience is really the first of the Virtues, because it is obedience which calls us to all the other virtues. Obedience really becomes one with Charity:"...he that keepeth his word, in him - in very deed - the charity of God is perfected; and by this we know that we are in Him...." (1 John 2:5)

"......In a rational creature, obedience is, as it were, the mother and guardian of all the virtues..." (St. Augustine)

"......All acts of virtue come under obedience, inasmuch as they are contained in a precept...." (St. Thomas Aquinas)

3.10 Obedience is the Virtue which inclines the will to comply with the will of another who has the lawful right to command. The Evangelical Counsel of Obedience, undertaken in the spirit of faith and love in following Christ, "....who was obedient even unto death...." obliges submission of one's will to lawful superiors, who act in the place of God, when they give commands that are in accordance with the Rule and Constitution of the Order. (Canon 601) The extent of Obedience is as wide as the `authority' which commands it. Thus, obedience to God is without limit, while obedience to human beings is limited by higher laws that must not be transgressed, and by the competency or authority of the one who commands.

3.11 There are two aspects to obedience: There is the physical response - the execution of a command; then there is the motive for obeying; - the motive may simply be, because it is logical and reasonable, or because the consequences of refusal may be unpleasant. However, there can be a higher motive - the supernatural motive to obey without question, without counting the cost, even in things that entail hardship and go against one's preferences: - to do so cheerfully and without complaint, even with joy to be able to imitate more perfectly our Divine Model; to obey; precisely because it is commanded by a lawful Superior, who acts in the place of God.

3.12 In taking the Minor Vow of Obedience, the member binds himself/ herself, under pain of venial sin to seek henceforth to live above the minimum level; to unite oneself to that humble submission of Jesus; to submit his/her will (as one would to God) to lawful superiors, in all decisions made or commands given which are in accord with the Rule and Constitution of the Order, the Moral Law and the Teachings of Holy Church. This means that:

(a) The Member, once Professed is no longer free to do as he/she pleases, but must endeavour to subordinate his/her will to life under the Rule and Constitution of the Order; - to follow the particular requirements governing day to day life in the Third Branch.

(b) The Member is not bound to obedience when an instruction or directive is:

Contrary to Faith and Morals;

in conflict with the Rule and Constitutions of the Order;

Likely to be injurious to one's health;

Likely to seriously compromise the discharge of one's Christian duty to one's spouse or family.

The matter should not be left there but should be discussed with one's Superior, so that the issues are clarified; so that from a better understanding the instructions or directives may be readily complied with or, if found necessary, the instruction or directives modified.

(c) No Member is above the Rule and Constitution of the Order. Consequently, no Superior is above it either. Indeed the Superior is more dutifully bound to the Articles of the Rule and Constitution and to have goodwill in all his actions, for the sake of his own sanctification and the edification of all members. Moreover, the Superior, commanding in the Name of Our Lord, ought to imitate in his governing, the qualities and Virtues of Our Divine Master, requesting only those things that are reasonable, moderate, and normally possible.

(d) The Member should endeavour to comply with all commands of a Superior as long as he commands lawfully - (refer to Appendix E "Line of Grace" which deals with the question of "lawful" command) even if he knows the command may not achieve the result intended or that there is a better way to do it. "...Obedience lovingly undertakes to do all that is commanded it, with simplicity and without considering whether the command is good or bad, provided that the person who orders has authority to order, and that the command serves to unite our mind to God..." (St. Francis de Sales) In other words, the Superior may err in commanding, but we make no mistake in obeying!

(e) The Member will seek to be prompt in obedience; - for love, which is the prime mover of perfect obedience, should make us obey with readiness.

(f) The Member will seek to obey without reservations; - for to make a choice to obey in some things and disobey in other things is to forfeit the merit of obedience; to show that we submit in what pleases us, and therefore that our submission is not supernatural.

(g) The Member will seek to obey with perseverance; -"....for to do a thing cheerfully which we are commanded to do only once, costs nothing; but when our Superior says to us: you will do that always, and all through your life, there lies the virtue and there also the difficulty..." (St. Francis de Sales)

(h) The Member will seek to obey with cheerfulness;".....for God loves a cheerful giver..." (2 Cor.9:7) "....In those things that entail hardship, obedience cannot be cheerful unless it is animated by love. Nothing is painful to him who loves, because he thinks, not of the suffering undergone, but of the person for whose sake he suffers. Now, if we see Our Lord in the person of him who commands, how can we fail to offer - with our whole heart - the trifling sacrifice that He demands, Who died a Victim of Obedience for our sake. (Tanquerey - Obedience the Greatest Freedom)



4.1 Admission into the Third Branch is effected by the Community Superior in consultation with the Superior of the Family Council.

4.2 All who wish to join the Community must:

(a) have the right intention.

This is the most important requirement of all! Joining simply to escape from problems existing in society is not a valid reason. This is, after all, a Religious Order. Thus, all members should make their peace with the world first.

(b) be of a sufficient level of maturity.

(c) feel they have a vocation to the Third Branch.

(d) be aware of their obligations by studying the documentation, the Rules and Constitution of the Order, particularly as there are legal contracts to be entered into at the end of their Novitiate.

(e) freely petition admission in writing;

in the case of those who are married, both partners must be equally willing to join.

Single parents with children may be accepted.

In families, children over the age of 18 years must make separate application.

(f) have adequate physical health.

(g) have minimal outside family responsibilities:

Aspirants may be requested to defer joining the Order, if their doing so would place in serious difficulty other members of their family.

Aspirants may also be requested to defer joining the Order if they are needed to look after sick or aged relatives, unless alternative arrangements can be made.

4.3 The steps to be followed petitioning admission are:-

(a) Make a hand-written, signed and dated request to the Superior of the Community for admission as a Postulant to the Third Branch.

(b) Write clearly the motives for your petition, including documentary evidence of Baptism, and any supporting documentation to claims made in the Application.


4.4 Upon acceptance into the Order the candidates with their family, are admitted to a six month period of Probation or Postulancy. The candidate lives in Community and must strive to live according to the Rule and Constitutions of the Order.

4.5 The probationary period will allow both the candidates and the Community a trial time to determine the candidate's suitability for Religious Community living.

4.6 The existing Community should assist new candidates to be assimilated into their new environment.

4.7 During this probationary period all candidates are encouraged to engage in Community activities as much as possible. They should, to the best of their ability, live and abide by the Rule and Constitution.

4.8 If a candidate's behaviour is in direct confrontation with the behaviour fostered within the Order, and this behaviour is deliberate and with ill intent towards the Community, the Community Superior will terminate the individual's probationary period.

4.9 If for some reason the candidate must leave the Community temporarily during the six-month's period, the Community Superior may extend this period of probation.

4.10 Since candidates are not yet full members of the Community, they should, to the best of their ability, provide for family expenses so that they will not be a drain on the Community. This will vary from Community to Community, and the Community Superior will ensure that the Candidates are fully aware of any contributions necessary for their upkeep.

4.11 During the probationary period candidates should neither sell their goods nor completely separate themselves from the outside world.

4.12 During this Probationary period, what possessions they have are theirs, and it is up to the candidates to determine if the community has the right to use their private property.

4.13 During this probationary period the Community will not accept goods or financial remittance from the candidates unless it is absolutely necessary, and it is in the free will of those candidates if they so desire - and only then with a written and signed Agreement.

4.14 At the end of the six months probationary period the candidates come together with the Community Superior and the Superior of the Family Council to discuss their progress.

4.15 Issues at stake would include:

  • the suitability of the candidate for assimilation into Community life.
  • the development of the candidate's personal Religious life.
  • problems which may be of serious concern to candidates.
  • the cause of any problems experienced and in what way these problems can be solved.
  • the assimilation of the Rule and Constitution and its practical implementation.

4.16 After this discussion and evaluation the Community Superior, in consultation with the Superior of the Branch of Families, determines whether the candidate is considered ready to make application to enter the Novitiate.


5.1 Once accepted by the Community Superior after completing their probationary period, candidates now enter the Novitiate and are invested with the Habit of the Third Branch. (See Appendix B)

5.2 The Novitiate lasts for a usual minimum period of two years, because of the adjustments which must be made to accommodate family life to Community living, but may - in special circumstances - be reduced to one year, or extended to three years.

5.3 The Novices are under the spiritual guidance of their Superior, who not only nurtures growth in holiness but guides them in a way that ensures inner peace, which in turn leads to harmony within the Community.

5.4 During their Novitiate the Novices are expected to participate fully in all aspects of Community life.

5.5 Since this is a continuation of the training and assimilation stage, Novices' possessions are still classed as private, and nothing they own can be judged to be Community property.

5.6 Since the Novices are not full members of the Order, they should, if they are able to, pay for their food and other necessities.

5.7 If a Novice is absent from the Community for more than three months, whether the absence is continual or intermittent, the Novitiate becomes invalid, and must be recommenced.

5.8 If a Novice's behaviour is in direct confrontation with the behaviour fostered within the Order, and this behaviour is deliberate and with ill-intent towards the Community, the Superior may terminate the individual's Novitiate.


6.1 After living the three Evangelical Counsels for the two years the Novices should now be ready for Profession in the Minor vows, and will be interviewed by the Community Superior concerning their readiness for this step. They will each make application in writing, formally requesting permission to make their profession, setting out their motives.

6.2 The Community Superior will instruct each individual as to what Minor Vows entail. Before any person takes Vows they must satisfy the Community Superior by proving that they realise what Minor Vows mean, and how they will affect their future life within the Order. The individuals to be professed must not take Minor Vows simply because the Rule states it to be necessary, or because other members in the Order have Professed their Minor Vows.

6.3 These Minor Vows are a promise to God, binding them to live a more dedicated and regulated life. By the Profession of the Minor Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, the professed members:

(i) dedicate themselves in a special way directly and entirely to God.

(ii) are conformed to the life as shown through the example of Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the Charism of the Order.

(iii) are united in a special way to the Church and Her Mission.

6.4 The Minor Vows are Simple.

6.5 The Minor Vows are public, and are taken before a representative of the Order.

6.6 Minor Vows are termed `temporary' because they are taken for one year's duration, and at the completion of the year the Minor Vow becomes no longer binding, and must be renewed for a further year.

6.7 The Minor Vows are no longer binding if those concerned leave the Order permanently, to return to life in the world.

6.8 Temporary Vows as specified under Canon 655 are taken for three years. However, due to this being a Third Branch, this is not applicable; thus the duration of the Vows is for a period of twelve months only. At the completion of this twelve month Temporary Profession, the Minor Vows are again renewed, and will be renewed each year for the whole of the member's life within the Order. Under no circumstances are the members of the Third Branch of the Order permitted to make Perpetual Profession.

6.9 Only an individual reaching the age or 18 years may take Minor Vows.

6.10 For each person professing Minor Vows a form, supplied through the Order, must be filled out, and this must be sent to the Order's Registrar for purposes of record, signed and witnessed.

6.11 At Profession the candidate or couple will enter a legally binding Agreement with the Order, in which he/she - or both, jointly, for a married couple - transfer title to all their worldly possessions to the Order. The Agreement is to contain an inventory of all items for which title is to be transferred: property, investments, cash reserves, vehicles, tools, equipment and machinery etc.

6.12 In practice the Agreement - signed and witnessed by the Candidate or couple before a public Notary or Justice of the Peace, or equivalent - will declare the interest of the Order in all their possessions - as described in 6.11. This does not necessitate the immediate legal transfer of property titles, bank accounts, shares etc., but must declare the Order's prior interest for ultimate full transfer.

6.13 If the member or couple decides to leave, and property titles have already been placed in the name of the Order, they will be recompensed to an equivalent of the current value of the assets concerned.


7.1 The Members of the Third Branch must realise that they are part of an extended family and the Community is their home. Together with all other members of the Community - Priests, Brothers and Sisters - there are many activities they will share in common, and every member must endeavour to cultivate harmonious, mutually supportive, relationships with other members of the Community; to learn from each other, and to promote unity in all activities, irrespective of personal preferences and prejudices, likes and dislikes.

7.2 A co-operative spirit is needed in every aspect of Community life:-

  • in preparing meals, eating together, accepting graciously the food we are given - setting aside personal preferences, unless for health reasons.
  • in clearing up, washing up and cleaning kitchen and dining facilities.
  • in sharing the less pleasant tasks, like garbage disposal; cleaning of toilets; servicing of drains, sewage systems and the like, so essential to Community hygiene.
  • in commencing all communal activities on time, be it prayer, work or play - with all members playing their part by striving for personal punctuality.
  • by accepting the tasks we are allotted - whether they be menial, maintenance tasks, office work, or farm work - without complaint

7.3 Members should avoid judgements, words or conduct that could disturb peace, charity and the duties of Community living. All should be ready to forgive and forget, and strive to work together as brothers and sisters in Christ. "Guard against foul talk; let your words be for the improvement of others, as occasion offers, and do good to your listeners, otherwise you will only be grieving the Holy Spirit of God Who has marked you with His Seal for you to be set free when the day comes. Never have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names, or allow any sort of spitefulness. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ"] (Ephesians 4:29-32)

7.4 When problems do arise between members they should endeavour to resolve the difficulty in an amicable manner, remembering Our Lord's Words: "......to forgive seventy times seven..."  But, if the problem persists, it is to be brought to the Superior of the Branch of Families by the parties concerned. The Superior deals with the matter in the following way:

  • He will first listen to each member separately.
  • He will then hear any witnesses to the matter in dispute.
  • He will then bring the parties together, at which meeting the truth should come out and any misjudgements become clear, with the matter resolved by reconciliation.
  • If the matter is not resolved in this way it is to be brought to the Community Superior by the Superior of the Branch of Families. The Community Superior may consult with the Community Council to reach a decision and, if he considers it necessary, impose a penance on the offending parties.
  • As St. Bonaventure tells us:".....faults should not be permitted to go unpunished, in order that the erring brother may be cleansed from his sin and not be punished more severely by God later on..." (Ref. The Virtues of a Religious Superior. St. Bonaventure, p24, 1921 edition)
  • If the matter should continue to be intractable it may be referred by the Community Superior to the next higher authority.
  • It is to be understood that any problems between members should be first dealt with by their immediate Superior, and referred by him to a higher authority only if the matter cannot be resolved.

7.5 Each Community will develop a daily schedule for Community activities which will incorporate the Third Branch's application of the prayer-work relationship (See Sample Schedule - Appendix D). There will be scheduled times for Community prayer, which all Third Branch Members are required to attend, although it is recognised that the care of young children will often preclude this.

7.6 Members must respect the need for privacy between members and various family groups, for Community living does not mean living in a manner in which no one has any privacy. Also Third Branch Members are bound to respect the privacy of certain enclosures, etc., e.g.: in Houses for Priests, Brothers, and Sisters - and there will be curfew times at which all visiting members must leave and return to their domicile.

7.7 Respect for all property must be maintained. Tools, equipment and machinery should be used only by those competent to do so, and if a member borrows tools, etc., the articles must be returned to the place where they are kept, in the same condition as found - and if an item is broken, report must be made.

7.8 Guests of Third Branch Families - and all visitors must - as far as possible, be made aware of the basic nature of the Community so that from a better understanding, they might respect the Community's Chapel, its Shrines, customs, dress code, and the privacy of other members.

7.9 As there may be many families in Communities with many children, every member has to exercise a duty of care. Although the discipline and correction of children is first the responsibility of the parents, when a parent is not present and a child or children need correction, other members have a responsibility to admonish or correct. However, no member should interfere, or try to correct a child, in the presence of a parent unless the parent is distracted. It would be better to try to bring the matter to the parent's attention.

7.10 Simple common sense suggests that if every family entered Community life with their pets there would be chaos. Certain animals such as working dogs (sled-dogs, sheep dogs, cattle dogs etc.) may be kept by the Community for a specific purpose, but will be restrained as in any farm situation. A few neutered cats may also be kept by the Community where they serve a specific purpose in the control of rodents. In general, it is preferable that pets which have no useful function be given away or disposed of before a family joins the Community. In certain cases, for the sake of children, a long standing pet of no specific use may be permitted, but only on condition that the animal is effectively controlled and restrained, and with the understanding that the pet, when it dies, is not to be replaced.

7.11 Responsibility to parents takes special place. The need may arise where Community members may have to leave the Community, temporarily, to attend to sick relatives. Similarly, sick or aged parents may need to live in the Community with their families. There are no problems with this, as there are no problems with family members visiting the Community for limited periods of time, provided that their behaviour complies with the guidelines of this Article 7. The length of the stay would have to be determined by the Superior. Things which would have to be examined would include:

  • how the stay is being financed;
  • how it affects family commitments to the Community;
  • how it affects the family's attitude to the Community;
  • and how, and in what way, the visit affects other members of the family.


(For Religious Habit refer to APPENDIX B)

8.1 The Habit is to be worn by all Novices and Professed Members when within the Community, unless work requirements dictate a more appropriate clothing. The Habit need not be worn when in the privacy of one's house.

8.2 Modesty and decorum are necessary to foster self respect which promotes the dignity of the person.

When not wearing the Habit all Third Branch Members are to comply with the following dress code:

  • No see-through, or tight, clothing
  • Trousers, slacks or jeans may be worn for manual work, or for activities which require greater freedom of movement, but a long, loose-fitting tee-shirt or short skirt, or `lap-lap' should be worn over.
  • Long skirts - 5 inches from ground
  • Long petticoats under clothing
  • No sleeveless tops; no shorts
  • Neatness in attire, especially
  • Head covering in Chapel


  • No tight clothing
  • No shorts
  • No jogging attire
  • No long hair
  • No sleeveless tops

8.3 Adolescents are to comply with the same dress code, but young children are to be dressed at the parent's discretion, recognising, at all times, the need for modesty and decorum.


9.1 The Community Chapel is the focal point for all Community Prayer.

9.2 Members should, where possible, come together for Community Prayer. It is through Community Prayer that the Community will be strengthened and unified - remembering the Words of Our Lord: "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them". Developing a fervent interior life must take precedence over everything else. They must do all for the greater Glory of God.

9.3 The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest act of Worship we can give God and should be the centre or focal point of Community Living. All should attend Mass daily, if at all possible.

9.4 Members of the Third Branch are to pray the full fifteen decade Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mediatrix of all Graces. One five decade Rosary shall be said as a Community.

9.5 Members are to consecrate themselves and their families, daily, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, according to the way of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort.

9.6 Members are to recite the Holy Wounds Chaplet at 3.00pm daily, in remembrance of Our Lord's Crucifixion.

9.7 There are many different devotions and practices in Holy Mother Church. Members are urged to:

  • Where possible, spend one hour in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament each day.
  • daily read and meditate upon the Sacred Scriptures.

9.8 All members of the Order of Saint Charbel must, unless physically indisposed, receive Holy Communion kneeling. Holy Communion must be received on the tongue, as this is the most reverent manner in which to receive Our Lord and King. When it is impossible to receive the Blessed Sacrament kneeling, then, and only then, may members receive while standing, but only on the tongue. No member is ever to take Holy Communion in the hand.

9.9 The Community Superior - or, if he is a Priest, or Deacon, the Superior of the Branch of Families, or his delegate - is the Spiritual Director of the Third Branch.

9.10 The Order of Saint Charbel allows Priests from all true, recognised, Catholic Rites to say Mass within the Order. Set out in APPENDIX C are the recognised Catholic Rites. Priests of any of these Rites are permitted to say Mass for the Order, and members are encouraged to attend.

9.11 In order that they might grow in Purity of Heart and draw closer to Our Lord Jesus Christ, members should frequently receive the Sacrament of Penance.


10.1 Members are free to receive visits from family and friends, or to go and visit them in turn, but such visits should not impact on the prayer and work commitments of members without the permission of the Superior. On recreation days (such as Sundays, or declared special holidays) it would be necessary still to inform the Superior or his delegate of their intentions.

10.2 Every Community should endeavour to establish recreation facilities and areas for entertaining guests, and visitors should be encouraged to join in with Community recreation, prayers and even work.

10.3 When Members receive guests or have family gatherings, it is to be understood that after 11.00pm, out of respect for other Community Members, there must be careful control of noise level.

10.4 There are no restrictions in the socialising of members with other members in the Community provided it is done in moderation, and according to any lawful directives imposed by the Community Superior. The right to privacy must be respected


11.1 The main Apostolic Work entrusted to the Order of Saint Charbel is the re-evangelisation of the world - especially the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. It aims to do this by members firstly living the Word of God, then their imitation of the Life of Christ, showing others how they can do this also.

11.2 During the initial stages of growth the Works of the Community will centre around the Community. They are:

(a) Daily Prayer

(b) Agricultural and related works

(c) Development and maintenance of garden, shrines etc.

(d) House building/maintenance and construction/care of the other buildings on the property.

(e) Light industry for the support of the members.

(f) Administration

11.3 The Works of the Community will be determined and co-ordinated by the Community Council under the authority of the Community Superior. The activities chosen - and the rosters for their execution - will involve all Branches of the Community and are to be accepted by all members.

11.4 The operation of the farm and the industry of the Community are also under the jurisdiction of the Community Council and - although primarily the charge of the members specifically appointed to this task - will, from time to time, involve all members.

11.5 In a situation where a Community consists of only a few Religious, the Order should be responsible for their upkeep.

11.6 When a Community is reasonably established its works will extend to the outside world, and all members of the Community will be required to participate in accordance with their particular skills or gifts. These works will embrace the whole spectrum of the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy and the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy, as taught by the Church

  • to feed the hungry,
  • to give drink to the thirsty,
  • to clothe the naked,
  • to give welcome to strangers,
  • to visit the sick,
  • to visit the imprisoned,
  • to bury the dead.


  • to convert the sinner,
  • to instruct the ignorant,
  • to counsel the doubtful,
  • to comfort the sorrowful,
  • to bear wrongs patiently,
  • to forgive injuries,
  • to pray for the living and the dead.


12.1 The Community Council has responsibility for the overall supervision of the planning, administration, finances and management of the Community and its farm production and industry. The Third Branch will have representation on the Community Council, but its membership will actually be drawn from all Branches in the Community. The Community Superior appoints all the members of the Community Council.

12.2 The Office Bearers of the Community Council will also be appointed by the Community Superior from members - of all Branches - with the requisite skills, and may include, but not necessarily so, such Officers as Chairman, Secretary, Financial Officer, Farm Manager, Project Managers. The Branch Superiors will also sit on the Community Council.

12.3 The Community Superior will be present at all Council meetings, but may delegate control of the meeting to a Chairman. The meetings will usually follow a consultative pattern, and decisions be reached unanimously. The Community Superior will not normally go against a majority of the Council, but if a division of opinion exists the Community Superior will make the decision.


12.4 The Superior (or President) of the Branch of Families is appointed by the Community Superior to look after the particular needs of the members of the Third Branch.

12.5 To assist with this task the Superior of the Branch of Families will convene a Family Council. He may appoint Office Bearers to assist with the orderly preparation for, and control of, meetings - and, if warranted, a Treasurer to manage any funds the Family Council may be given to discharge its responsibilities. A Welfare Officer may also be appointed.

12.6 The Superior of the Branch of Families will be present at all meetings, which will usually follow a consultative pattern with decisions being reached unanimously.


12.7 During the Foundation Stage, if there are insufficient members of other Branches in the Community, the functions of both the Community Council and the Family Council may be combined in the Community Council, under direction of the Community Superior.

More information concerning the Function, Operation, and composition of the Community Council, and the Family Council, will be provided at a later stage in Appendix A, Government of the Order


13.1 If at any time a family or individual wishes to leave the Community all should be done to assist them in assimilating back into society. Those in the Postulancy and Novitiate take with them all they brought into the Community..

13.2 Professed members of the Third Branch who decide to leave may take all their personal possessions with them - and, in accordance with the Legal Contract made, the Community will reimburse them for the value of the money and goods transferred to the Order. The Community will also determine what further assistance may be given to make the transition into general society as easy as possible

13.3 It is to be clearly understood that if members leave the Community, the Minor Vows they have taken are no longer binding.


14.1 The Third Branch Single Laity is primarily to meet the needs of single people who have turned eighteen (18), live within families of the Third Branch, and who have not, as yet, made a decision on their vocation, e.g.: Religious or Married.

14.2 They have the choice of remaining in a family unit environment or they may live together with others of their age, in separate homes for men and women.

14.3 Other Single Lay people from outside who have not as yet decided to live in a married state - or have not yet decided to join the Priesthood, or Religious Brothers or Sisters - may also enter in the Third Branch Single Laity.

14.4 There is no Postulancy or Novitiate in the Singles group, unless desired by those concerned.

14.5 If the Single person desires to more fully follow the prayer life of the Order they may join the Fourth Branch in which case they must follow Constitution of the Fourth Branch, and its expression of the Rule of the Order.

14.6 If the Single person desires to fully embrace the Consecrated Life of the Third Branch he/she is to complete the Postulancy and Novitiate to the extent determined by the Community Council, and is to wear the Habit of the Third Branch.

14.7 It is not exclusively for those who have just turned eighteen (18), but is also open to those of more mature age who wish to live in the Community, having not, as yet, decided to live out their vocation.

14.8 The Single Laity will follow the daily life of the Third Branch in as much as prayer and work is concerned. They are permitted to work outside the Community, but in that case will be required to contribute to their upkeep. They are also to:

(a) attend daily Mass if possible

(b) say at least one Rosary in private

(c) join in Community prayers and works

14.9 The Single Laity will live together, in separate houses for men and women, with duties and a schedule worked out for them.

14.10 The Community Superior watches over the spiritual welfare of the Single Laity and guides them as he does for all other members of the Third Branch.

14.11 The main purpose of the Singles Group within the Third Order is to foster various vocations - whether it be the Priesthood, Brothers or Sisters, or even the married life - and to provide a House of Guidance for young people who might otherwise stray onto the wrong road. With the help of the other two Branches the Superior is able to encourage vocations and guide souls to a fulfilled life of dedication, in either the Religious or Married state.



  • you must dress with care (hair well combed; if long, tied back)
  • wear a veil in the Chapel of the Order and for all prayers.
  • no slacks, in general, except for special types of work.
  • always wear modest attire
  • short, clean hair.
  • clean clothing in the Chapel of the Order.
  • always dress with care and modesty


(a) No partying after 11pm.

(b) Common code of ethics regarding the watching of television and videos.

(c) Cleanliness

(d) Restrictive alcohol intake; restrictive smoking habits; visiting youth are to respect dress code.

(e) No formal vows or promises other than to abide by - and follow - the Rules set out in general.


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