Question about becoming a Secular Franciscan


Dear fellow Catholics,

I do have a question, that is very important to me. I strongly consider becoming a Secular Franciscan. I am a devoted catholic and have been strongly attracted to the spirit of St. Francis for a long time.

This week, as a guest, I attended a meeting in our local fraternity. I so loved it. I feel at home there and when reading about St. Francis and material related to SFO I almost get butterflies in my stomach of pure joy.

I know becoming a SFO is a long proces that can last up to 5 years. Even so, I have a question already now:

I know SFOs meet once a month with the fraternity - and I would certainly be happy to do that. However, when my husband (a Protestant) and I retire from our jobs, we have been talking about living in Italy 4-6 months a year. (We retire in about 13-15 years).

Can this be a problem regarding the monthly fraternity meetings, or could I perhaps join in with an Italian fraternity while in Italy? (I am currently learning Italian) Or could I perhaps make some studies in benefit of our regional fraternity? Or could I participate in some of the meetings with my own fraternity via Skype? Or could there be any solutions to this?

Now, my husband and I are FAR from sure that our “Italian dream” will come true. It is many years from now and we don’t know how our health or financial or practical situation will be so far from now. Since we don’t have a lot of money, it would also require that we do rent our apartment to others while in Italy, so there are many “unknowns”.

However, IF we have the possibility to try to live in Italy some months of the year, is there any possibility to do this while also being a Secular Franciscan?

I hope someone can help,
Sincerely and with love,


I commend you for following your attractions, particularly with a Protestant husband.

I am sure there are SFOs in Italy, since the order was started there. Perhaps you could inquire if it’s possible to split your membership between two fraternities, should the Italian dream ever come true.

I would also recommend the retaining of a financial planner, if this dream is to come to pass. Perhaps they can give you advice on what to budget for. You’ve also mentioned sub-letting your apartment. Please check to make sure that is legal in your area, or with your complex. In many instances, it isn’t.

If you can find someone who splits their time between the US and Italy, speak with them about setting reasonable goals. I’m not saying yours aren’t, but they would know of unexpected expenses that can crop up.


Thank you, very much, Mrs. Cloisters for taking your time to answer me. I do live in Denmark, but I believe the Franciscan rules are the same everywhere in the world. I didn’t think of splitting a membership - this sounds like a good idea, if this would be possible.

My husband is the best husband in the world (but I pray that he will become a Catholic too, one day). He is supporting anything I want to pursue, as long as it makes me happy :heart::heart: He is s very good man, and I am very lucky with him :slight_smile:

Thank you, again


I agree with Mrs. Cloisters. I was also thinking since your English is so good, you may want to obtain a TEFL Certicate. I believe this would allow you to teach English as a foreign language world-wide. Then when you retire in Italy, you could teach English part-time if you need more income. Just a thought.

God bless you and your husband.


Thank you, both for your kind words and your good advice, Jamieleglise.
God bless you, too <3


You are welcome. I am thinking of joining the SFO, too. Perhaps your wonderful husband will see your happiness and want to come also!


The process is not 5 years. :wink:


There are OFS fraternities in Italy. I assume you speak Italian. :slight_smile:

Two fraternities is not a possibility. On top of that, the transfer to fraternity does not have to accept you (although they do in almost all cases).

Having said that, I would recommend joining a fraternity in your home country. When Italia becomes an option, transfer to that fraternity. Possibly with the proviso of attending meetings while in your home country as a visitor.


No, I don’t speak Italian, though I wouldn’t mind having that proficiency.

What you stated in the last line is actually what I was driving at.


I am sorry, sister (small s :wink: ). My comment was aimed at the OP mostly:o


Thank you, Luigi Daniele (are you Italian?)
I listen to everything being said in here. I speak a little Italian (I am learning), but in 13-15 years, I believe I will speak well enough to enter a fraternity in Italy.

Otherwise, perhaps, I can stay in my old fraternity and be a guest in an Italian fraternity? Do you believe I can do that? Since, we would live part time in Italy and part time in my old country. If everything (and that is a lot) goes well. I am sorry for all my worries - but I am taking a path into a Franciscan life very seriously and I need to consider everything very carefully.

Thank you for your help and time,
God bless you


If you feel a sense of vocation to the Secular Franciscan Order, I would simply pursue that in the here and now.

I always caution people I direct about a method of proceeding that is looking to events in the distant future. We cannot know with any real certainty what we will be doing in 10, 20 or more years in the future. We may have an aspiration but we do not even know if we will be alive, much less what will circumstances or what will even be possible.

Moreover, the dispositions that govern the Secular Franciscan Order today could be different in 10 or 20 years.

Finally, assuming all does fall into place as you hope years in the future, that would be the moment to find a solution – based on what is in place then and based on what solutions those who will have governance then can make for your situation, as it will actually be.

It would be a shame to not pursue a vocation because of concerns that may, actually, not become a problem at all.


Don Ruggero, thank you! You have given me some very wise thoughts to consider. I do indeed feel a sense of vocation to the OFS. Thank you so much.

God bless you <3


I am. :slight_smile:

Yeah, that would work, too. :slight_smile:

And may God bless you, as you begin to follow our Lord Jesus in the footsteps of San Francesco with the guidance of the Blessed Mother. :slight_smile:


Grazie mille - Buona notte da Danimarca :slight_smile:


Ma figurati. Era un piacere. :slight_smile: Notte.:slight_smile:

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