Discerning Vocation to Franciscan Order

Hello Catholics,

About two years ago I was discerning a call to the priesthood. I ended up deciding it was not for me and instead chose to finish college. I am now working on my masters in accounting (studying for cpa). I do a lot of reading online and book wise when I am not studying. Through my reading I became infatuated with St. Francis of Assisi. There is a lot of peace I find with St. Francis as he ultimately brings me much closer to Christ. I will say it came during a time when I was spiritually moody concerning the liturgy (EF vs OF). I believe St. Francis came to my rescue at exactly the right time. It is ironic too since I chose St. Francis as my Patron around the time I made my first holy communion and confirmation in 2nd grade yet I am only now discovering his life (I’m 22 years old). My discovery of his life and continued education in his way of being has led me to reconsider my vocation but instead of the priesthood to religious life. I am not sure if I am called to be a priest but it is something that I can definitely think about and pray about if I were to join an order. My biggest dilemma now is if I am called to be in the First Order or Third Order (secular) of the Franciscans. I feel I could serve in both but of course being part of the First would be a greater sacrifice. I need prayers, insights, and support. How will I know what I am truly called to? Thank you in advance and Peace in Christ.

Pray, pray, pray, visit a vocations director, and keep praying. That’s the only way you’ll get to know God’s will for you.

And it isn’t ironic St. Francis came to rescue you. He was always there with you since you chose him your Patron.:wink:

Agreed. I will raise one point, though: I may be reading into it, but you might be speaking of the First order sounding somewhat intimidated at the size of the ‘greater sacrifice’ it will require. I would suggest that, for vocational discernment, that sacrifice, as huge as it is, shouldn’t really be the major factor. (Married life too, if done in accordance with God’s will, requires no less sacrifice!) The issue you need to really discover is which life will make you truly happy. If God is calling you to be a friar, then one of the sources of strength which you will have to help confront the challenges that that life entails, will be the self-knowledge that, for all those difficulties, you just know that you could never be as happy, deep down, if you were not following the evangelical councils.

If when you pictured life as an accountant you feared you would be materially comfortable, but spiritually unhappy not to be living under the Fransiscan rule, then that could be a strong sign of a vocation. There are also states in between OFM and SFO, such as the TOR or various secular institutes, which might be worth considering if OFM/OFM Cap/OFM Conv turn out not to be for you for one reason or another.

Having said all that, in our fallen state we are incredibly poor judges of what will make us happy, and the enemy can and does have a field day leading us astray of our true path when we face decisions like these, which is why prayer and direction are absolutely essential. (Nearly every sin we commit, we do because we think it will make us happier, only to realise after the fact that we shouldn’t have done it. So when I say ‘choose what will make you happy’ I mean the *true *you, and the true happiness, which only comes when you are listening to God.)

Get a spiritual director. If you have any contact with Franciscans see if they can steer you to one. A Franciscan would be great for you.

  • Dear rben20,

    As ByzCath suggested you might try to find a spiritual director and even more importantly yes get into contact with a Franciscan to help you in your discernment process.(After all who better to help in your possible discernment process than a Franciscan??? Since this might be the Order you are drawn to???)

In fact JR education (here in the forums) might be able to help you in refining your search.

There are different observances in the Franciscan family and also different geographical provinces… perhaps JR can help you to narrow your search a bit and help you to decide your first step in what might be a Franciscan vocation…

blessings of Peace and Good!

Sr Debbie, O.S.C.*

Thank you all for your kind replies. I have contacted the Franciscans of the Immaculate but I have not received any replies yet! I wish I could talk to them about visiting them soon, perhaps spend a weekend with them and learn about them. In the mean time I have talked to my local priest and he encourage me to prayer and visit with them. I also am doing some more reading on St. Francis and Scripture. I have spoken to Br. JR and he has always been great help. I guess there is not much I can do yet but wait.:shrug:

JReducation has been helping alot of us learn about St. Francis on the thread called, “The Perfect Joy of St.Francis”…
I am discerning the call to the third order…I also have had earlier “inspirations” that I am just now beginning to understand in terms of my discernment…sort of just all fell into place…will pray for you!

Hey rben,

This is probably the friendliest and most helpful section of this site, so it’s a good idea to post here. I had several questions and concerns regarding Dominican/Franciscan spirituality, and a lengthy post describing my discernment process. You can see them at;

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=575777 (solid discussions).

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=569320 (even more discussion).

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=579445 (my discernment journey).

I hope these help!

I am in a slightly similar situation to you. The advice I have been given by an older priest with a lot of common sense, which may be partly applicable to the OP’s situation, is:

Approach the situation with prayer and humility. It has to be about what God wants you to do and you have to have the humility to follow that rather than your own preferences. And the primary question is “How will this help to achieve my own salvation?” Don’t get drawn into “What can I do for them” or “What can they do for me”. Your own salvation has to be paramount because in your personal judgment, it’s between you and God, nobody else.

Hope this helps…

Yes, how true that it is to be about what God wants rather than one’s own preferences…

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