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Formation in the OFS

This page describes the process for becoming a professed Secular Franciscan and the three stages of formation.


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.

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 eighteen months and culminates in permanent commitment to the gospel life.

Source: http://www.nafra-sfo.org/is_god_calling.html

Those in initial formation are expected to attend fraternity and formation meetings.

Participation in the meetings of the local fraternity is an indispensable presupposition for initiation into community prayer and into fraternity life. General Constitutions SFO, 40, 3.


The National Formation Manual, For Up to Now (FUN) was presented to the Regional Formation Directors at a national meeting in May, 2011, Then the Regional Formation Director for St. Joan of Arc Region gave a weekend workshop for local formation directors on the manual to explain the material and how to use it.

At the workshop, the formation director for Our Lady of the Pearl purchased a manual for each member of the fraternity as well as a DVD set “Forming the Formators (FUN)” which was a recording of the lectures from the national meeting in May, 2011. Order the DVD set here: http://www.franciscanvideos.com/p/forming-formators-fun-dvd-set.html

The fraternity watched all the DVD’s one summer, and then in the fall, at our regular fraternity meetings, all professed members plus others present started studying the FUN manual (beginning with Lesson One under Candidacy), a book entitled The Franciscan Journey and other recommended material. We followed the model format given to us by the Region.

Inquirers and Candidates also used the manual and book, following the model format and meeting at a separate time (although present at the fraternity meeting).

The FUN manual may be ordered here: http://iqfastprint.com/sfo/for-up-to-now.html or call (636) 281-2129.

FUN manual 5/12/11:  click  FUN MANUAL to view this manual.  Model formation program 5/12/11:  click 2011 Model Formation Program to view.

PATHWAY to Profession Diagram_

Order the DVD set at: http://www.franciscanvideos.com/p/forming-formators-fun-dvd-set.html

The Franciscan Journey may be ordered from Smoky Valley Printing at (785) 277-2364. See inside cover of TAU magazine.

We have many of the suggested readings in the model format, and if so, a few at a time may be e-mailed to you. Go to our Contact page to make a request.

After we finished the FUN manual, in the fall of 2015, we began studying another book on the Rule: To Set Themselves Free by Teresa V. Baker, OFS. It also may be ordered from Smoky Valley Printing at (785) 277-2364. This book was recommended by Anne Mulqueen in an article she wrote for TAU magazine.

Click on the Profession webpage in the Secular Franciscan dropdown menu above as it has to do with formation also.

Debra Powell, Formation Director
Our Lady of the Pearl
(228) 332-0603

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