“Since the beginning of the Order, lay people have participated and collaborated in the exercise of our redemptive mission, forming various associations and confraternities. Among the most important is the Third Order, an association of lay people integrated into the Mercedarian family, which participates in the redemptive spirit.” (Constitutions of the Order of the B.V.M. of Mercy, #117).
Members of the Third Order know and cherish the spiritual treasure of the Order so they are able to realize the Mercedarian ideal, according to the directives of the Church and of the Order, in keeping with the circumstances of each country.
Candidates for the Mercedarian Third Order receive the scapular of the Order during the initial stages. After a period of preparation-study of the history, spirituality, and charism of the Order-the candidates who have already received the scapular request their incorporation into the Third Order with full rights and receive the shield of the Order.
Many spiritual privileges have been granted by the popes to the Mercedarian Third Order members. Upon fulfilling the usual conditions of reception of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist and prayer for the Holy Father, they can gain a plenary indulgence on the day of their admission and on the liturgical feasts of the Order.
They also share in the merits of the prayers and good works of all the members of the Mercedarian Order. They share in the special suffrages many times throughout the year on the constitutional commemorations and on November 7th in remembrance of all the deceased religious, Third Order members, and benefactors of the Order.
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Read about the Mercedarian tertiary Blessed Mary Ann de Jesus.