Lay Dominican Fraternities, formerly called “Third Order”, were set up as early as the 13th century. They are governed worldwide by a Rule, whose text currently in force was established by the Montreal Congress in 1985, promulgated by Master of the Order Damian Byrne on 28 January 1987 and slightly amended by Master of the Order Bruno Cadoré on 9 March 2019.
This “fundamental law” for Dominican laity is completed by:
- General Declarations promulgated by the Master of the Order, which are developments, explanations or interpretations of the Rule;
- Provincial and national Directories, drawn up by the fraternities themselves and approved by the Master of the Order, which are specific norms applying to local fraternities and their cooperation at provincial and national levels.