Is God Calling You to the Secular Franciscan Order?
“They have been made living members of the Church in Baptism; …
Therefore, they should go forth as witnesses and instruments of her mission among all people
Proclaiming Christ by their life and words.”
The process of becoming a professed Secular Franciscan is a journey that involves three separate stages and culminates in a lifelong commitment to live the gospel following the example of St. Francis of Assisi. This formation process unfolds in regularly scheduled formation sessions during which the home study material is thoroughly discussed.
The first stage, Orientation, provides time for dialogue and developing relationships in fraternity. During Orientation you will be introduced to the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare and share in Franciscan prayer life. You will be given general information about the Secular Franciscan Order. Orientation is a time to discern if the Spirit is calling you to a Secular Franciscan vocation. The period of Orientation is a minimum of three months.
The second stage, Inquiry, is the first formal period of initiation. It is a time of in-depth study of the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare. During Inquiry you will learn about the Franciscan charism and Franciscan history. You will deepen your understanding of what it means to be secular and Franciscan, and you will continue to discern if the Spirit is calling you to the Secular Franciscan way of life. The period of Inquiry is a minimum of six months. If a vocation is discerned, the Inquirer is received into the Order as a Candidate.
The third stage, Candidacy, is the final formal period of initiation. It is a time of preparing for permanent commitment by immersion into fraternity life. Central to this stage of formation is Article 4 of The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order which states, “The rule and life of the Secular Franciscan is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.” The period of Candidacy is a minimum of 18 months and culminates in permanent commitment to the gospel life.
After profession of the Rule and permanent commitment to the gospel way of life, the newly professed member joins the rest of the fraternity in ongoing formation.
Conditions for admission are: to profess the Catholic faith, to be an actively practicing Catholic (of any of the rites in union with Rome), to live in communion with the Church, to be of good moral standing and to show clear signs of a vocation.
Membership in the Order is attained through a time of initiation, formation and the Profession of the Rule. The journey of formation, which should develop throughout life, begins with entrance into the fraternity. Mindful that the Holy Spirit is the principal agent of formation and always attentive to collaboration with Him.
Those responsible for formation are: the candidate, the entire fraternity, the minister with the council, the master of formation, and the assistant as spiritual guide.
Profession is the solemn ecclesial act by which the candidate, remembering the call received from Christ, renews the baptismal promises and publicly affirms his or her personal commitment to live the Gospel in the world according to the example of St. Francis and following the Rule of the SFO.
”Is God Calling You to the Secular Franciscan Order?”, The National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order – USA [Online] February 24, 2017: https://www.nafra-sfo.org/is_god_calling.html
”Secular Franciscan Order”, Wikipedia [Online] February 24, 2017: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_Franciscan_Order