Hi guys. I have wanting to be a priest for a while. I seem to really like the Franciscans and they strike me as an order that one can not go wrong with. I like their habit, the Franciscan Crown (best Rosary EVER), etc. However, I have trouble discerning the kind of Franciscan: OFM, OFM cap, OFM Conv, CFR, or even FPO (Primitive observance, super strict). Input? I want to go to Russia, so i think maybe the Conventuals would be nice.
Well, this is up for you to discern. The Capuchin Franciscans live the most austere life out of all of these. Their founder wanted them to have nothing, and he wanted the Friaries to have nothing except the barest of essentials. If you feel called to those extremities, go ahead. However, there are many others that are close to these extremities, such as the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. But you must remember they don’t have any Friaries in Russia, so if going to Russia is that important to you, you must throw them out of the equation.
I personally like the Order of the Friars Minor as well as Order of the Friars Minor Conventual, and I believe if you choose one of these it will work out since I’m almost certain they have places in Russia. They, along with the O.F.M. Capuchins (Whom I’m discerning with and really like as well) are the biggest Franciscan communities, and they have Friaries and Chapter Houses in every single continent, as well as almost every single country as well. I think that the O.F.M. Capuchins alone have around thirty thousand Friars worldwide.
The discernment is up for you to decide. I feel called to Religious life and the Priesthood as well, and I know how hard it is to discern these things. But be patient, and be open and willing to whatever God holds in store for you, and especially listen and obey whatever the Superiors direct you to do. Remember that if you’re not able to work with them, than the Religious life is not for you at all, because Religious life is life-long obedience to your Superior, and it’s never easy. I do believe many of the Saints refer obedience to superiors as “dying slowly on the cross.”
There's no guarantee that you'll become a priest when you join the Franciscans, so keep that in mind with your discernment process. You'll become consecrated for sure, but not everyone is ordained to the priesthood. Brother JR can shed more light on that one.