Secular Franciscan Order

Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

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The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) whose members are called to live a vocation of charity, a vocation of faithfully following the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, includes among its stages, initial formation -- the time after admission to the Order and before profession. This time is intended to deepen the maturation of the vocation, to enhance the experience of evangelical life in fraternity and to gain a better knowledge of the Order (Art.40 GGCC).

Formation at this stage should be aimed at becoming more aware of the Order and toward making the decision to profess. Prior to this stage is orientation. During this time, the formation team should ensure that the candidate have a basic understanding of the Catholic Church. The Rule and the General Constitutions should be reviewed. The candidate should be a practicing Catholic and should be integrated into the local fraternity.

Formation for the Secular Franciscan Order is not just academic. It will move the Secular Franciscan to a deeper experience of life based on faith and charism. It leads the candidate to make a commitment to fulfill the mission given to Francis of Assisi by God himself, a mission to faithfully and humbly live, bearing witness to God to the world, rebuilding the church, and becoming illuminated with the joy of love in the same Father.

This guideline is intended to form a responsible Secular Franciscan, committed, mature and convinced of the richness of fraternal life. At this stage, we seek to deepen Christian and Franciscan knowledge in communion with the Church and in the world and we become aware of the importance and significance of making Profession in the Secular Franciscan Order. (Art. 40 GGCC). Our way of life clearly states "... by virtue of their vocation, motivated by the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which the gospel calls ‘conversion.’ Human frailty makes it necessary that this conversion be carried out daily." (OFS Rule Art. 7a).

This guideline is meant for those Secular Franciscan brothers and sisters who have already been admitted and have gone through orientation (Art. 37-38 GGCC). They are starting the stage of initial formation as indicated in Art. 40 GGCC. This instrument should be life-giving and should be accompanied by concrete experiences of service and apostolates which should enrich the experience.

These are times of grace, but also very demanding times, times of violence and the increasing dehumanization of man. We must be more intensively prepared to offer our hand and to carry the message of mercy, love, hope and help, according to the invitation of our Holy Father St. Francis, to rebuild the moral and social fabric of the church and to reach out to everyone.

“Place your trust in the Lord and He will help you.” St. Francis of Assisi

With the joy of being children of God, we are called to live and serve joyfully in the world.

Formation Commission – Presidency CIOFS
Ana María Raffo Laos, OFS
Jennifer Harrington, OFS
Mary Stronach, OFS
Fr. Pedro Zitha, OFM