The call to the priesthood or consecrated religious life is one that takes much discernment and prayer. During this process, a person will naturally have many questions – both spiritual and practical. One of the most common questions people have when discerning a vocation is: what is the formation process like? What steps will I need to go through to answer my calling?
While the formation process varies from order to order, and is different for the consecrated life of a brother than it is for the priesthood, there generally tends to be the same basic steps. The following steps are what we, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, follow in our formation process.
STAGES OF FORMATION
Postulancy is the first stage of formation. This is a period of living in community, whereby the candidate experiences our way of life and prepares for entrance into the novitiate. The postulant’s knowledge of Catholic doctrine, the vowed life, our apostolate and spirituality are fostered during this period. The postulancy is for a period of nine to twelve months.
The novitiate is the second stage of formation and lasts for one year. The beginning of the novitiate is marked by the joyful occasion of receiving the Franciscan habit as well as a new religious name and title. The time of novitiate is for one to be more thoroughly instructed in the way of life and the works of our community, while at the same time cultivating that union with Christ which must be the wellspring of every apostolic activity.
The period of temporary vows begins when the friar makes his first profession of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and binds himself to observing the Rule and Constitutions of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. During this time, the goal is to perfect the formation begun in the novitiate, thus preparing for final vows. The friar renews his temporary vows once a year, generally from four to six years, while continuing to be engaged in the various areas of our apostolate.
It is also during this period that priesthood candidates take their philosophy courses in our House of Studies before beginning theology in the Seminary. Philosophy courses are also available for permanent brother candidates who show an interest.
When a friar makes his final profession of vows, he consecrates himself to God for the whole of his life. When a friar pronounces his perpetual vows, he should have reached the degree of spiritual and affective maturity required, so that the religious state to which he is committing himself, in a stable and certain manner, may really be for him a means of perfection and greater love.
Brothers discerning and pursuing the priesthood begin their formation/education at the St. Joseph’s House of Studies in Irondale, Alabama. There they study philosophy for two years. The program is accredited through the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico. After, the friar is sent to Mount St. Mary’s University and Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Friars with an undergraduate degree begin four years of intense graduate theology studies and those without bachelor’s go into the two-year pre-theology degree completion program. Following the third year of theology, the friar is usually ordained a deacon. At the conclusion of seminary academics he is ordained to the priesthood.
Since 1987, when we were founded by Mother Angelica, as a community of priests and brothers we have sought to live an authentic renewal of consecrated life in the Franciscan tradition. Living in obedience, without anything of our own and in chastity, we share a common life of prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament and in Total Consecration to the Mother of God.
If you are a single man between the ages of 21-35 who is discerning a calling to religious life, and particularly to a community focused on evangelization, we invite you to learn more about our community.
11 thoughts on “So, You’re Interested In Becoming A Franciscan…”
I was potentially looking to join and wanted to find out a few more details as I’m currently based in Sydney. I’ve worked across charities professionally over the last decade and wanted to take things the next step both in serving God and the community. I’ve just turned 41, and not sure if this precludes me, but am very much am keen to take the next steps in finding out more and the general practicalities involved.
I’m I am interested to join Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. I want to become a holy priest in Franciscan spirituality. I love Mother Angelica.
I have gradually grown to love and emulate the spirituality of the Franciscans.
I feel called to be a Franciscan missionary and am thirty.
I’m 32 and feel the spirit has lead me all my life and prepared me for a life of service
Am happy for the formation. May God continue to instill in us such apostolic zeal to serve him. Is their any fees/ tuition required throughout the formation? Thanks.
Is there an age limit on when someone can enter to be a Brother?
Dear brothers, I already have my vocation as a diocesan priest, but I just wanted to let Fr. Joseph Mary know that I am hearing from several people that he spoke about my conversion at Mass today. It happens to be my anniversary of ordination, so I accept this providential event as part of the gift and mystery of our priesthood. We may have met a few years ago when I taped some shows with Roy Schoeman for Women of Grace and concelebrated Mass with some of the brothers. God bless you and your wonderful ministry.
I am so much interested to be a Franciscan
The life of service and love is what Christ has called us to live, I am interested in serving God and humanity through the Franciscans missionary life style, I feel so passionate about their life style, am 21 years old, and a o level student
All the Friars and Brothers are awesome , if it wasn’t for EWTN< mass, rosary and Life on the Rock, I don't know that I
wouldn't have end like. I would every much like to connect with Br. John! Br. John where do you get your sandles?
Am so much in love of God and would like to discern my priesthood vocation with Franciscan of the eternal world