Peace and all good!!
Well, I will be the first and speak out as being an SFO member.
Though I am am on the other half of the Country welcome to your first meeting and I hope GOD will guide you and you find your home in the Franciscan community.
In our fraternity the period of discernment was about a year and our formation is 2-3 years. We have no real set times for initial formation, it is completely lead by the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind that profession is not the goal and formation will be ongoing the rest of your life if this is your calling.
I live in an area where we have many fraternities and I have discovered all fraternities have their own unique flavor. They are all different however they are bound by a common spirituality.
To me my fraternity meetings are a time when I can recharge my Spiritual batteries. I can talk of my challenges and goals with others and I have support when needed and more importantly they will correct me if I am off base.
Being a member of any Lay Order if different then any Ministry in your church. Whatever you volunteer to do in church is what you do. Being a Franciscan is what you are.
I will be praying for you. Feel free to ask any questions or PM me if you prefer.
Pax et Bonum,