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 are an Aspirant (aspiring to know St. Francis) and 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. Not a Catholic? To become a Secular Franciscan, you must be an actively practicing Catholic (of any of the rites in union with Rome). If you are Anglican/Episcopalian, please visit the Third Order Society of St. Francis. If you are a member of another Christian denomination or simply prefer an ecumenical Franciscan community, please visit the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans.