Membership in the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans is attained gradually through a formation process lasting not less than two and a half years after entering the postulancy. The stages of membership and the minimum period one ordinarily would expect to spend at each level of relationship to the Order are as follows:
- Postulant - six months
- Novice - two years
- Professed member - lifetime commitment
Entering the postulancy is not automatic upon request, but takes time, work, and discernment on the part of both the inquirer and the Order.
A general outline of the inquiry process looks this:
Inquirers are provided initial information on the Order and the formation process by mail or over the Internet. Inquirers continue to dialogue with the Order.
When, after appropriate discernment, a person desires to enter into the postulancy, the following requirements must be met::
Be an active member of a Christian church/denomination.
Be in spiritual direction with someone in your area.
Create an initial draft of your personal rule of life and work with the DFC to polish it.
Write a spiritual autobiography according to guidelines provided.
Provide your area Assistant Director of Formation Counseling (ADFC) with a biographical sketch and photo.
Inquirers officially relate to an ADFC until they have accomplished the above. Then the inquirer is eligible to be approved to enter postulancy. Once a person has been admitted as a postulant, the Director of Formation Counseling assigns a Formation Counselor within the Order who provides ongoing Franciscan formation. It may take a number of months to become a postulant, depending on the time of year, the situation in the Order with regard to our ability to receive postulants at a given time, and the individual's discernment process.
We will be happy to provide guidance for you and help you to understand the requirements if there are any questions. For example, there are often questions about spiritual direction, such as what it is and how to find a local spiritual director. Many of your questions will be answered in the printed material provided you after you make a formal request of an area Assistant Director of Formation Counseling to begin the inquiry process.
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