Vocations to the Secular Franciscan Order

If you feel a calling to serve God in a special way, to work as the least among the most, to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, you might have a vocation to the Secular Franciscan Order.

Formation is a time of study, fraternity, and prayer.

The Formation Process

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.

Inquiry is the first formal period of initiation during which 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.

Candidacy is the final formal period of initiation. It is a time of preparing for permanent commitment by immersion into fraternity life. The period of Candidacy is a minimum of 18 months and culminates in permanent commitment to the gospel life, and profession to the Order.

Qualification for Candidacy

  • Age 18 or older
  • Baptized Catholic living in communion with the Church
  • Not professed to any other Religious Order

Signs that a person may have a call to the Secular Franciscan Order.

1. A person who is a good practicing Catholic.

2. A person who has a desire to follow Jesus. Jesus and his Gospel are at the heart of the Franciscan way of life.

3. A person who has a personal faith relationship with Jesus, not simply intellectual knowledge about him. Franciscans follow Francis’ example in loving God, our sister earth, and all its people.

4. A person who is hope-filled and willing to deal with life’s issues.

5. Pessimists, nay-sayers, and persons who want to hide from the world are typically not good candidates for the OFS.

6. A person who realizes that we are all sinful people in need of conversion.

7. “Perfect” people do not need the OFS, and the OFS certainly does not need them!

8. A person who has at least some knowledge of the persons and spirits of Francis and Clare of Assisi.

9. A person who is willing and able to make a commitment to the Rule of the OFS and to live in fraternity. Basic communication skills are needed to listen to and interact with our brothers and sisters in fraternity.

10. A person who trusts in God and realizes that God is needed in his/her life.

11. Anyone who is prejudiced, arrogant, and closed-minded will not make a good candidate for the OFS.

12. A person who has a reverence for all of creation. Courtesy and respect are part of the spirit of reverence for all of creation.

13. A person who is willing to live the countercultural reality of a life in fraternity.

14. Secular Franciscans live in fraternity and are willing to share creative ideas and life with others.

(Adapted by David and Thérèse Ream, S.F.O., from: Lester Bach, O.F.M. Cap., Catch Me A Rainbow Too, 1999, pages 49-51. Lindsborg, KS: Barbo-Carlson Enterprises, 2005)