"It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching." ~ St Francis of Assisi
What is Secular Franciscan Formation?
The formation of candidates and members of the Secular Franciscan Order is
a continuous process of conversion,
and should be regarded as a personalized procedure that takes into account
the totality of the human person,
the charism [of the SFO],
the needs and spiritual growth of the person.
In the process of formation, there is a necessary interaction between those forming and those who are being formed — all are continually being formed and are forming one another.
The Holy Spirit is the primary agent of formation,
Who calls and prompts human beings to holiness,
Who inspires and conforms us to the image of the Son,
Who draws us into the Franciscan Family.
The GOAL of formation in the Secular Franciscan Order is a personal union with the Lord Jesus in the tradition and spirituality of the Franciscan family. This is stated in the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order in Article 4:
The rule and life of the Secular Franciscan is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people. Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly. Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to the gospel.
Discernment of vocation at each step involves obedience (a listening heart) to the Holy Spirit who is present and active in the person’s:
Listening to the Scriptures
Listening in prayer
Listening in spiritual direction
Listening to the Church Magisterium
Listening to the Franciscan Charism (Rule)
Listening to the Fraternity: the lived Charism of the SFO, article 22
 This outline was developed for the November 2008 Workshop and is based upon material found in the Guidelines for Initial Formation (NAFRA), pp. 17 – 21. Additional resources pertinent to this Formation Handbook can be found in the FUN Manual (For the Formator and What is Formation?) and supplement to FUN CD (Updated Formation Resource Manual and CIOFS guidelines in Initial Formation 2001 in SFO Resource and Support Materials). Additional clarifications of the original quotation are in brackets.