Introduction to Secular Franciscan Formation: [1]

Our model is St. Francis who “was a man in permanent formation: “Let us begin, brothers and sisters, to serve the Lord our God .… [2]  He was a master of Gospel life and through his example, his rule and his teachings: ”He gave a Rule of life to all and indicated the way of salvation to each one according to his own situation’,[3]

“To form” means to give form to, to mold something or some person according to a model or vision, using the necessary and suitable means to attain that purpose. In our case, “to form” concerns a person as a being, perfectible up to the end of his life, by means of education, teaching and example. Formation includes “transformation” which is allowing the Holy Spirit, the actual formator, to transform our lives to become an “altus christos” or another face of Christ to others.

In this context, formation is to help brothers and sisters to discover the novelty and vitality in their own call as a gift of the Spirit in following Jesus in the manner of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Ongoing Formation

Ongoing Formation in the Secular Franciscan Order is lifelong and continuous, with the purpose of offering Secular Franciscans an ever growing richer and intensive spiritual life, accompanying them in their faith path, to consolidate their Franciscan discipleship, updating it continually in line with the teaching of the Church and to allow it to evolve in the daily interchange with our Society.” Ongoing formation takes place at all levels of the Order: the local fraternity, the regional fraternity, the national fraternity and the international fraternity.

[1] The Presidency of the International Council of the Secular Franciscan Order, “Guidelines for the Formation of the SFO,” Rome, 2001.

[2] LM 1, 1.

[3] lC 37.

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

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

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

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)

Guia Tematica Programas Formacion CIOFS (Español)

Wonderful articles for Ongoing Formation on the Rule from CIOFS, written for the 40th Anniversary of the Rule in 2019.

      (Divine Mercy Regional Fraternity refers to Juan de Padilla Region)