Initial Formation: Period of Initiation and Candidacy

 Article 23 of the Rule states that, “… admission into the Order is gradually attained through a time of initiation, a period of formation of at least one year, and profession of the rule.” Article 37 of the General Constitutions states, “Membership in the Order is attained through a time of initiation, a time of formation, and the Profession of the Rule.”

 The purpose of initial formation in the Secular Franciscan Order is more than the giving and receiving of information.

What is Formation?

  • It is the period of initiation into our way of life—It is a period of listening, reading, discussion and prayer.
  • It is a period of personal transformation assisted by what we hear, see and experience in fraternity and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
  • It is a period of prayer and discernment for both the person who desires to enter the Order and for the local fraternity who will receive him or her as a member
  • It is important to remember that the person desiring to enter the Order, led by the Holy Spirit, facilitated by the formators and influenced by the fraternity, is responsible for his/her formation.

The time of initial formation is broken up into sections.

  • The Period of Initiation includes: Orientation (a time frame of about 3-6 months) and Inquiry (a time of about 6 months)
    • During this period the person begins to discern the call to the Secular Franciscan Order, acquires a preliminary understanding of our vocation and an understanding of the Franciscan Charism.
  • The Period of Initial Formation also called Candidacy
    • This period follows the Rite of Admission and continues for approximately 18 months (but not more than three years).
    • The Candidate continues his/her discernment through further learning, participation and collaboration in fraternity life.

 See the FUN Manual and The Franciscan Journey for a complete discussion of the above.

For Up to Now: Foundational Topics for Initial Formation (FUN Manual)

On the FUN Manual page, you will find these resources:

  • Reflections on Formation Topics in the FUN Manual by Fred Schaeffer, OFS
  • FUN CD Contents
  • Various Other FUN-Related Documents
  • Ordering Information

A sample provided by Franciscans of the Prairie Region.


The purpose of the Thematic Guide is to inspire us in our initial and ongoing formation work.  Our materials in the USA already cover most of these points.  Use the guide to refresh and strengthen your work.

CIOFS Thematic Guide Formation Program (English)

CIOFS Guia Tematica Programas Formacion (Español)