Tertiary Order of the Holy Paraclete in South Africa

What is it?

The tertiary order of the Holy Paraclete is a group of men and women from different walks of life. They choose to express their commitment to Christ through a way of life guided by Benedictine principles, although they do not live in a monastic community. They are helped to put these principles into practice by their close association with the Order of the Holy Paraclete.

What is the Order of the Holy Paraclete?

The Order of the Holy Paraclete is a community of Anglican sisters based in Whitby, Yorkshire, England. These sisters established the Anglican Retreat Centre at St. Benedict’s House in Rosettenville in Johannesburg.

How are the Tertiaries linked with OHP?

Tertiaries draw up their own individual Rule of Life which includes commitment to a balanced life of prayer, work and recreation. They do this with the assistance of their Warden, one of the OHP sisters, with whom they correspond every few months to discuss their application of this Rule. The sisters pray for the Tertiaries, who in turn support the Order in prayer and friendship.

Who are members of the Tertiary Order?

Members of the Tertiary Order are men, women, young, old, lay, ordained, married and single, and live in many parts of the world. In South Africa the largest group live in or near Johannesburg and can meet from time to time for retreat or discussion, while others live as far away as the Cape and Natal. Links are maintained with the Tertiary group in the United Kingdom, who provided overall leadership.

All members admitted to probation in the Order must be communicant members of a Trinitarian Church and must have reached the age of 18 years except in special circumstances.

What makes Tertiary Orders like that of OHP different from other Christian groups?

OHP Tertiaries find that shared discipline and commitment to one another, together with the prayerful support of the Sisters, make for stability and security which are infinitely valuable in times of change and stress.

How does one go about becoming a member of the Tertiary Order?

Initial discussions are help with one of the Tertiaries near where you live. After this the interested person is known as an aspirant and goes on to make a commitment as Postulant, Novice and Sister or Brother over the following three or four years. Thereafter promises of commitment to the Order are renewable every three years.




“Rooted and grounded in Love.” (Ephesians 3:17)

The Tertiary Order of the Holy Paraclete has been brought into being by God who calls each member uniquely to live for the glory of God in close association with the Order of the Holy Paraclete and under daily obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit within the context of his/her circumstances.

The love of God is the underlying reality which binds all our diversity into a unity of fellowship with one another and the whole Christian Church.

The rule, which is based on the Rule of the Order of the Holy Paraclete, embodies the spiritual ideals by which each member lives his/her Baptismal commitment.


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  (St Matthew 5:3)

We reverence all created things and rejoice in them as gifts from God. In response to His love we receive all that He gives us with contentment and gratitude.

We therefore have an obligation to be faithful in our stewardship of all created things, including money and the natural resources.

Our discipline also includes the right use of time. Aside from time set aside for worship, prayer and spiritual reading, it includes time for family and for other people, for service to others and time for recreation. The aim should be a balanced life, shared with others.


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  (St Matthew 5:8)

We are made in God’s image: therefore all people are respected, regardless of race, colour, class or creed. Tertiaries shall regard themselves as temples of the Holy Spirit and shall undertake to put God first in the state to which God calls them, whether married or unmarried, to live lives of purity and Christian love.


“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”  (St Luke 8:21)

Religious obedience is the consecration of the whole person to God: body, mind, and spirit. As disciples of our Lord, we grow in uniting our wills to His. We shall endeavour to listen to God however His will is perceived.

We shall persevere in the keeping of our personal Rule of Life, for it expresses the free gift of ourselves offered to God when we are blessed as Tertiaries. Growth in obedience comes from listening to God however He makes His will known to us.


“Worthy art Thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power.”  (Revelation 4:11)

The centre of our worship should be the Eucharist where we are one with Christ and each other. We join in the ceaseless worship of heaven as we are united in prayer and sacrament with Christ in His body the Church.

Our spiritual life is nourished by regular personal prayer and silence (additional to corporate prayer). We accept our responsibility to share in the Daily Office of the Church as an offering of praise to God and an act of intercession for the world.

Bible and spiritual reading enables us to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and so deepens our love for Him.

In order to persevere in life, we need to be able to acknowledge our failings and accept forgiveness. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a traditional way of starting afresh on our pilgrimage to God.

In our times of retreat, we turn our attention fully upon God and renew our covenant with Him. Times of silence are observed so that all may enter into the peace of God and wait upon His will.


“We, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12;4)

In our immediate family we should be open to listen to God and each other, to be generous with our love, time, forgiveness and trust, and this generosity should extend into the wider community of our neighbour and of the world.


“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.” (Hebrews 13:2)

It is customary for all persons connected with a religious house to welcome all, as they would welcome Christ. This way we show love for others and ourselves are enriched by them. Hospitality is an openness to all whom we encounter whether within the context of our homes or in the wider community.


“He who calls you is faithful and He will do it.”   (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

The life of the Tertiaries is a journey in which we press forward towards our goal, supported by our fellow Tertiaries and those who have gone before us.

Christ is both the reward of our seeking and our ever-present guide. Our task is to remain steadfast and unswerving in the way. We maintain this fidelity as we respond to God’s grace, and are changed into His likeness through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Each Tertiary undertakes to draw up a personal Rule of Life giving practical application of the ideals here laid down as is appropriate for his/her circumstances.

This personal Rule should be made after consultation with the Warden or a local fellowship of Tertiaries or with his/her spiritual director.

It should be reviewed not less than triennially before the renewal of vows in order to ensure that it is still an appropriate instrument for living in accordance with the Gospel ideals laid down in the Rule of the Tertiary Order.


Comments by Tertiaries

“The Rule is adaptable. It includes the guidance offered in the general rules of the Order and is chosen for its appeal and usefulness to each individual.”

“Anyone who embarks on this way of life is assured of support in their search to grow closer to God.”

“It is a practical way for men and women who live ordinary, busy, frustrating and pressured lives to become more closely in tune with God’s way in the 21st Century.”

“The Holy Spirit gave me a deep longing in my heart and I realised that I wanted to belong to the Order and experience a closer walk with our Lord. I am a member of the Presbyterian church …to my great joy permission was granted for me to become a Tertiary.”

“I know now that it was God who called, and I answered.”

“The meaning of my commitment to the Tertiary Order is expressed for me by the quotation, ‘Rooted and grounded in love.’”  (Ephesians 3:17)



For more information:

Contact Patricia on 011 681 0036 or 083 297 1750, or email