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Third Order of St. Francis and Other Confraternal Organizations in Spanish Florida

The Third Order of St. Francis and other confraternal organizations in Spanish Florida served social functions similar to their roles throughout the rest of Spanish America. These brotherhoods helped to maintain religious conformity through an organization composed of laypersons, who performed charitable acts and provided goods and services for devotions and festivals. Within the highly structured military society of Florida, the brotherhoods offered opportunities for colonists to experience decision-making and leadership that was otherwise not available and possibly experience some social leveling. This presentation offers a look at religion from the perspective of the laity. Many studies have examined the Roman Catholic Church in Spanish Florida, but seldom have they considered the activities of the laity other than attendance at the Mass.

Susan R. Parker, St. Augustine Historical Society