BECOMING A CAPUCHIN-FRANCISCAN FRIAR
- You must be at least twenty years of age, having completed your high school diploma or equivalent.
- You have continued your education or have had steady employment for at least two years.
- You must be unencumbered by debt.
- You must be considered to be responsible and emotionally mature.
- You must be a member of the Roman Catholic Church for a minimum of two years and involved in the life of your parish.
- You should have an ardent desire for prayer and to serve God through serving others.
- You should desire to share and grow in the faith of the Church while residing in a religious community whose principles are service to the brotherhood and others while living a life of poverty with the absence of personal property.
- You must be attracted by and open to the person, ideas and principles of service as exhibited by the life of St. Francis of Assisi.
VOCATION DISCERNMENT DAYS
The Capuchins of Central Canada offer men interested in learning more about religious life a number of Vocation Discernment Days usually held every other month. If you know of a man with a desire to serve God as a brother or priest; or are interested in pursuing your own call from God, please contact our Vocation Office!
STAGES OF DISCERNMENT
During this informal period you will become acquainted with what life within a community of brothers, and service to others as a Capuchin-Franciscan actually means. This period can take several months or longer depending upon your personal discernment process as well as the response of your spiritual director in helping you determine if you are called to this life.
Initially, your contact will be by telephone and written correspondence, including a Personal Inventory, gradually expanding into personal contact with the Vocation Director, other friars and exposure to the communal brotherhood in which they live. During the later stages of discernment there should be an indication that God is calling you to religious life within the Capuchin-Franciscan order. A visit to your home by the Vocation Director to meet you will help to get to know you better on a one to one basis.
Should you and the Vocation Director feel that you are called and ready for the next stage of discernment, you will be invited to submit your written request to enter the Postulancy Program.
The Postulancy Program
Postulancy is the first of three stages of your Initial Formation and is the transitional stage between your previous life in the world and your movement to life as a Capuchin-Franciscan friar. During this stage of discernment you experience communal living while growing in the understanding of what it means to live within a community of brothers in service to those around you. Together, both you and the friars will determine your ability to live the Capuchin-Franciscan lifestyle.
In preparation for entering this stage of the discernment process, the Vocation Director, in consultation with the Formation Council will ask you to complete and submit a number of forms and documents by a certain date, previous to the Postulancy Program.
You will be required to submit the following:
- Baptism Certificate
- Confirmation Certificate
- Photo (passport type / portrait style)
- Curriculum Vitae – including work experience, education and special interests
- Letter of Reference from your most recent employer and if possible from your Parish Priest
- Copies of Academic Transcripts
- A written report from any Rector of any previous religious house in which you might have spent time in formation
- Dental and Medical Reports
- A Police Background Check
- A Psychological evaluation, done at the expense of the Order
You will also be asked to provide an autobiography giving an account of your childhood, adolescence, and early adult life to the present. You will be asked to describe your home life, relationships with your parents, siblings, friends, as well as your involvement within the wider community; including your parish community. Attention should be paid to the role your faith has held in your upbringing and your present life, indicating any significant experiences or people that have influenced your deepening commitment and desire to join the Capuchin-Franciscans.
Once this has been completed, you should also write a letter to the Provincial Minister, by a determined date, requesting entrance into the Postulancy Program. You will receive a written response in due time from the Provincial Minister once a decision has been made.
A Postulant is asked not to dispose of his possessions or of his bank account since you are expected to provide for your own needs encompassing medical, dental and transportation costs. You also have to ensure sufficient funds to return home. You should also have a valid Canadian Passport.
The Postulancy Program commences in September, lasting approximately one year of which nine months is spent in a friary living and experiencing fully the friar’s life within community. This is followed by a period of time where you leave the friary to visit others, your family or to take a short vacation, as well as to reflect upon your experience from the first nine months. This time will help your discernment in taking the next step in your journey to becoming a Capuchin-Franciscan friar.
You will be asked to work part-time at a volunteer ministry outside the friary to better determine your commitment and drive to live a life of service to others. You will participate fully in all aspects of the fraternal life of the professed community such as prayer, Eucharist, meals, community celebrations, house chapters and recreation. You will also meet regularly with the Director to participate in various types of informal instruction provided within house and to attend occasional workshops.
During the Postulancy Program, the community will periodically evaluate and discern your suitability for Franciscan life and their response will be communicated to you by your Director. You may leave the program at any time of your own accord or may be asked to should your community’s discernment be such that life as a Capuchin-Franciscan friar is not your calling.
In the final stage of Postulancy, the community will make recommendations about your entrance into Novitiate which will be communicated to your Director. Should you then, after reflection upon your Postulancy experience, wish to pursue Novitiate, you will apply in writing to the Provincial Minister by a date to be determined, and sign a release form indicating your freedom to enter into religious life. Upon acceptance and permission of the Provincial Minister you will then enter into the third stage of your discernment ….. Novitiate.
Novitiate lasts one year and is a time of intense Franciscan spiritual formation through prayer, spiritual direction, reading and communal living. During this time the Capuchin Franciscans assume all financial support for your needs given the rules of the life of poverty into which you have entered. You will be expected to bring with you suitable clothing and other personal items, as well as retain sufficient funds to enable you to return home should you choose or be asked to leave.
Upon completion of Novitiate you will then profess simple or temporary vows which are renewed yearly… During this time you will attend the Year of Integration (the year following Novitiate) and will work in the community learning to balance a life of prayer, ministry and community. The next few years mark formal studies, dependent upon your aptitude and choice of future ministry.
Upon completion of the aforementioned stages of discernment, the profession of Solemn Vows is celebrated at this time. Your family and friends will be invited to join with the friars in celebrating your Solemn Profession.
Your journey of formation to a profession of living a life of religious service as a Capuchin-Franciscan is now complete. You will continue to develop the ministry to which you are called or pursue studies in preparation for future ministries.