Introduction to The Third Order
The Third Order of the Society of St. Pius X was established in 1981 (January 29, 1981) by Archbishop Lefebvre to "secure for souls living in the world a school of sanctity." The purpose of the Third Order is the sanctification of the souls of its members and of those souls for whom its members are responsible.
St. Pius X emphasized the absolute necessity of a laity that is "virtuous, enlightened, determined, and really apostolic" in order to save modern society. The Third Order provides a means for the faithful to realize this ideal.
By following the Rule of the Third Order, members are able to structure their spiritual lives in a practical way, and thus to sanctify themselves. In a world of spiritual chaos, spiritual discipline is essential for souls who seek eternal happiness. The Rule acts as a guide to the members of the Third Order, aiding them in the fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is a practical Rule, requiring no more than what the good Catholic should do to save his soul.
As a spiritual organization, the Third Order is open to men and women alike. The spirit of its members is one of generosity, loyalty to the ideals of the Society and her priests, and supportive of the pastors who have charge over them. The primary focus of the spiritual life of Third Order members is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and its mysteries, where the meaning and source of Christian life - a life of sacrifice and co-redemption - is found. A tender and filial devotion to Our Lady and to St. Joseph is cultivated in the hearts of Third Order members and reflected in their daily lives.
By joining the Third Order of the Society of St. Pius X, the faithful avail themselves of the graces that flow from the work of the Society's priests and religious, and from the prayers and sacrifices of fellow members.