Diocesan,Franciscan or Jesuit

I am choosing if which the Lord wants me to be, but as of now, I am exploring about the charisms of the three and according to my friend priest , it is where i must be comfortable to do the Will of the Lord.

As for the Jesuits, i dont really have a wide background on them especially i never met 1 in our place. But ive been watching their Vocation videos and i feel comfortable with it also ( except that they rqeuire on must graduate on college / must be a professional.

I havent visited the Franciscan and Jesuits in our place, though only the seminaries in our Diocese. In my heart’s state , right now, i think it would be the Franciscans since it kind of suits my options. Ive been thinking of being a Franciscan for a long time now but i have to be open to other doors as well…

please help me widen my knowledge on the three doors. thank you.

Here we have the following;

-A Franciscan takes three vows; poverty, chastity, obedience - and lives by the rule of St. Francis, there are more than one rule of St. Francis (insofar as there are slight differences).
-The Franciscans are the largest (in total) order in the world; which had around 30,000 members in the 1990’s.
-The Franciscans are mendicants; insofar as they live in a community and keep the daily offices; but also work outside in the community and serve people. Franciscans tend to wear habits when it is practical.
-A Franciscan does not automatically become a Priest; it is only at the discresion of his community; so if you feel you “must” be a Priest; you may be disappointed. A Franciscan is a Brother before a Priest; and are often called Brother even when Priests.

-A Jesuit is a member of the Society of Jesus; and takes the three normal vows; poverty, chastity, obedience - and a further Vow; of obedience to the Popes request.
-The Jesuits are the largest (single) order in the world; with 20,000 in 2010.
-The Jesuits don’t wear a habit; but are more free to pursue the Priesthood; there are far less Jesuit “brothers” - they also do not always keep the daily offices; or (have to) live in communities.
-The Jesuits tend to train for much longer; up to fourteen years in some cases.

A Diocesian Priest becomes a Priest if they wish and Seminaries agree.
A Diocesian Priest is obedient to his Bishop.
A Diocesian Priest tends to work in an ordinary parish.
A Diocesian Priest does not have a habit; and tends to live on their own.

First of all, congratulations on making the tremendous decision to discern God’s call. We are all rejoicing and praying for you!

Note: All of this is my personal opinion as a lay woman who is just starting to discern God’s call herself. Please take my advice with a grain of salt, prayer time, and of course, spiritual direction from your priest!

  • I think God calls us from the places where we are. I also think God works through the people with whom we live. What does this mean? To me, this means that if a young man is called to be a priest, and he is surrounded by, say, Franciscans, Benedictines, and Jesuits, he is probably not called to be a Dominican. This is not definitive, obviously - God is mysterious - but I think that the discerning gentleman should at least start by investigating the communities with whom he already has contact.

Yes, you really should visit the Franciscans and Jesuits! See where you feel at home. I was talking to a Franciscan sister the other day, and she said that while she enjoys visiting other communities, she really wants to go home at the end of the day! So a sense of home, of brotherhood/sisterhood…these intangible qualities are very important. I think you can discern this best by praying with these communities. Many communities offer discernment retreats. Contact them and ask! I’m sure they will be delighted to host you. Even if you eventually serve as a diocesan priest, experiencing their way of life will probably be helpful in the long run.

Now…the diocesan priesthood is a really fantastic gift to the Church, and in my humble opinion, every discerning gentleman should also consider this. The spiritual needs of the diocese are great…we need more Fathers. I don’t know what the process of discernment is like within your diocese, but once again, I think the operative phrase is “come and see.”

I think the previous poster gave an excellent summary of some of the differences between diocesan and religious priesthood. If you find it helpful, make a chart of the similarities and differences between different charisms and responsibilities. And pray about it :slight_smile:

First of all, get a chance to visit each option. Go to a Franciscan monastery, or a Jesuit seminary. Diocesan priesthood is all around you, although you may want to see the vocation director of the diocese or a diocesan seminary for some more information. Here are some questions to ask on each visit:

  1. What’s the difference between diocesan priesthood and priesthood in your order? (It’s interesting to see the varied responses you get)
  2. How do you train your priests?
  3. How long does it take?
  4. What is your definition of poverty? (for the religious orders)
  5. What lifestyle do your priests tend to live?
  6. What sort of work/assignments will I usually get?
  7. How much choice do I get in where I am assigned?

These won’t give you the whole picture, and you can surely add more, but they’re a decent start. One thing that you must keep in mind, is that it isn’t what YOU want, it’s what God wants. An option may seem very attractive to you, but it still might not be your vocation. When I was discerning, I was considering the Trappists or the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. I really liked both, but I’m now in seminary with the goal of becoming a diocesan priest. Why? Because no matter how attractive the alternatives were, this was where I felt God was calling me, and to do otherwise would have been simply self-serving. So always remember, it’s about what God wants, not what you want. Keep that in mind.

thanks a lot guys.

I learned a lot from your words.
As of this time , this is my status:

Franciscans= I have a lot of franciscan priest and brother friends and one of them would visit me for the next few months…

Jesuit = no progress

Diocesan = the easiest communication among the other two. I am active in our diocese and our whole archdiocese’s activites and had friends from from the seminary…

I stil ldont know for now but ill keep on praying to the Lord where he wants me to be , when His right time comes.

There are just a few minor and one major detail that I would like to correct regarding Franciscans.


The term Franciscan applies to one of over 25 obediences. The large group that everyone refers to as THE Franciscans, were called such for a very specific reason. Originally, they were many smaller fraternities of friars. Each was autonomous, but each followed the same rule. Pope Leo unified them under one superior general and one constitution. Since each of the smaller fraternities had a name for themselves, it would have been imprudent to choose any of their names. The largest group were known as the Observants. For a while this unified group, that we Franciscans call an obedience, because they are obedient to a General Minister, was known as the Observant Franciscans. But this name did not hold, because not all of the friars came from the Observant community. Eventually, they wee referred to as the Franciscans of the Leonine Union, since it was Pope Leo XIII who pulled them together. Today, no one calls them that. They are simply called The Franciscans.

Another minor point, there are over 1.7 million Franciscans around the world. As I said above, we come from over 25 obediences, over 114 nations and about 30 language groups, the largest being the Spanish-speaking friars. When looking at the Franciscan family, you have a wide selection.


There ARE NOT many Franciscan rules. St. Francis wrote four rules.

  1. Rule of the Friars Minor
  2. Rule of the Poor Sisters (later edited by St. Clare and became the Rule of St. Clare)
  3. Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance
  4. Rule for Hermits

Franciscan men follow either the Rule of the Friars Minor or the Rule fo the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, also known as the Rule of Penance or the Third Order Rule. This rule is not third in rank or value. It was third in chronology. It is lived by friars, secular men and women, secular clergy who are Franciscans, and all Franciscan Sisters.

Franciscan women can choose between the Rule of St. Clare and the Rule of Penance. However, if they are sisters, they must follow the Rule of Penance. The Rule of Penance is available to sisters, nuns and secular women. The Rule of St. Clare is only for nuns.

The Rule for Hermits is only for men. They must be friars. Yes, contrary to popular opinion, there are Franciscan friars who are not mendicants, but hermits. They are very few and they must have the permission of their major superior to live the rule. They are not severed from their fraternity. They must live with two other friars, but they refrain from all forms of contact with the outside world and with each other. It’s an existence very similar to that of a Carthusian.

Regarding ordination . . . Francis did not found an order of clerics. The entire Franciscan family of men is a brotherhood. You are a brother from the moment that you begin your postulancy until the day you die. There are brothers who are ordained.

How do we do this without being like Dominicans, not disrespect intended toward Dominicans. Every effort is made to avoid distinctions between the brother who is ordained and his non-clerical brothers. Every brother can be elected superior. Every brother can be appointed formation director. Every brother can be asked to do manual labor, even ordained ones. We have one such brother. He is ordained, but his ministry is to serve as the go to guy for our pregnancy centers. He loves pulling things apart and putting them back together. It’s his natural gift. He celebrates mass only on Sundays and helps out with confessions at a neighboring parish on weekends. I may be mistaken, but I believe that the man has never annointed anyone in his life and I know that he has never witnessed a marriage. It’s not necessary for the ministry that he does. Maybe, someday, he’ll be reassigned to a post where there will be a greater demand for his priestly gifts.

Someone like Fr. Benedict G. has always been a psychologist and an educator, not a parish priest, while other non-ordained brothers have spent years in parishes. Assignments are made on the basis of gifts and need.

When a man comes to any of the Franciscan obediences and expresses a belief that he is called to Holy Orders, this is taken very seriously. He must go through the entire formation process that every friar does: postulant, novice, simple professed and solemn vows. During those years he is also going to school, along with his brothers. He studies theology and ministry, just like any other brother. He usually obtains a Master’s of Divinity, though some may be allowed to get a Master’s of Theology. That’s up to the major superior.

After the brother makes solemn vows, in other words, he’s in for life, then he must ask again for Holy Orders. Only the major superior can grant permission for him to be ordained, not even a bishop can grant this permission. That is why our men do not make a promise of obedience when they are ordained. The promise made during ordination applies to the bishop. We are not under the jurisdiction of the bishop. Our major superior is our Ordinary.

There is usually an agreement between the brother and the order, before making solemn vows, that the brother will be allowed to be ordained. However, the major superior reserves the right to revoke that permission up until the bishop imposses hands on the candidate. This is the difference between Franciscans and let’s say Dominicans. Dominicans were founded as a clerical institute. It is a given that a Dominican Friar is going to be a priest. Those Dominicans who are not priests are referred to a coadjutor brothers. Their vocation is very different from that of a Franciscan Brother. The difference is not qualitative. It’s in externals.

It was once the case, that the Dominican brother could not hold office and certianly had no authority over the Dominican priest. I don’t know if that is still the case. That is not the case with Franciscans. A non-ordained brother can hold office and when he does, he has authority over everyone, cleric and non-cleric.

How do we get around faculties? It’s very easy. The community must be governed by two friars, the superior and the vicar. One of them must be ordained. The ordained friar grants faculties to those who are ordained and he can also suspend them. If the ordained superior is a vicar, he must get the permission of the superior before granting faculties and before suspending them. But that is the extent of the difference. In all other things, there is no difference.

The proper address for a Franciscan of any obedience is Friar or Brother. But around the late 1800s the Franciscan family began to work closely with diocesan priests and priests of other religious institutes. People did not know that there was a difference between a friar and a Jesuit, other than the work they did and the clothes they wore. So the laity called everyone Father and it stuck. Today, there is an effort on the part of Franciscans to break away from the title Father. Many houses forbid the laity from calling the ordained, Father. The local superior demands that the laity refer to everyone as either Brother or Friar, except for the superior of the house who has the right to the title Father, because he is the canonical successor of our Holy Father Francis. Notice that we refer to Francis as Holy Father. In our writing we refer to the pope as Lord Pope, because this is the term that Rule says should be used.

The difference between the communities are in matters of ministry and in those matters that are not mentioned in the rule. Whatever Francis wrote in the rule is observed by all of his sons. Whatever he does not say in the rule can be discerned and defined by the community through a democratic process known as the Chapter. Those decisions are written down in a document called the Constitution. The Constitutions will vary from one Franciscan branch to another, but not the rule. As I said above, there are only four rules and one of them does not apply to men.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I myself am attracted to the Jesuits. Like the Dominicans, they are known for having a distinguished intellectual history. For instance, there have been 2 Doctors of the Church were Jesuits(the Dominicans have 3, counting St. Catherine of Siena), in addition to having had many scientists within their ranks(Boscovic, Teilhard de Chardin, Kircher, etc.) The Society of Jesus also maintains numerous institutions of higher learning. However, they lately been regarded as often being unorthodox. I also like the Franciscans, largely because of their lovable founder; however, I do not think that I am suited to their sort of poverty.

RE: *The local superior demands that the laity refer to everyone as either Brother or Friar, except for the superior of the house who has the right to the title Father, because he is the canonical successor of ***our Holy Father Francis. Notice that we refer to Francis as Holy Father. In our writing we refer to the pope as Lord Pope, because this is the term that Rule says should be used.
The difference between the communities are in matters of ministry and in those matters that are not mentioned in the rule. Whatever Francis wrote in the rule is observed by all of his sons. ***
Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I agree with your words, and I am very excited to see a young man seriously consider becoming a sacred servant of Our Lord.

I only have one question: why do you call FALSE PROPHET Jorge Mario Bergoglio the “Holy Father”, when our only true leader is POPE BENEDICT XVI?
How can an apostate man who hates the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and all those who uphold the Truth of the Doctrine, be called “holy” and/or “pope”? How can an intentionally heretical man be trusted by the faithful when he is the very destroyer of God’s Perfect Laws?

Here is a video which briefly shows you the real truth:

God Bless +++

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