Discernment of a religious vocation involves prayer, quiet reflection and listening to the Lord. Discerning a possible vocation to our Brotherhood becomes more focused when one is accepted into our Postulancy program, a time of observership lasting 1 year / 12 months.
Formation as a Catholic Brother and particularly as a Franciscan Brother of Peace can be summed up as the lifelong process of becoming a whole and healthy man emotionally and spiritually, conforming one’s life to that of Jesus Christ, who, for our sake, “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself (kenosis), taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
Our life demands that we take active concern for each other; that we are honest and open to personal change through prayer and repentance - putting us personally in touch with suffering and human brokenness (first and foremost our own) as well as with the great joy and love that the Lord brings to us as we support one another in our struggles and common life. Postulants who petition to enter our Novitiate must exhibit the honesty and flexibility necessary to be formed and grow spiritually in the fullness of the Christian Faith and be willing to die to themselves for the sake of others, for love of Jesus.
Formation in the Franciscan Brothers of Peace involves two basic steps:
The Novitiate—Formation officially begins at the start of the canonical Novitiate (lasting at least 2 years / 24 months). The man entering our Novitiate is received by the Guardian Overall and the community at a liturgical celebration, in which the rites of tonsure (the cutting of the hair and reception of a new Religious name) and investiture (clothing with the habit) take place.
The Novice then receives instruction in the Catholic Faith by studying the Catechism, the Theology of the Body, the meaning of religious consecration by profession of the Evangelical Counsels, and Franciscan history and spirituality. The Novice is also given a complete overview of our life as Franciscan Brothers of Peace, our history, charisms, spirituality and apostolic work. We also consider “formation through experience” to be vital to our formation program. A greater portion of the Novice’s day is set aside for prayer, silence and study. During the Novitiate, and throughout the brother’s life, emphasis is placed on flexibility and a man’s willingness to change and become healed and whole by the power of God.
- The Profession of Vows—After the successful completion of the Novitiate, a brother is invited to profess Simple Vows, the Evangelical Counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, for a period of three years. Formation continues with ongoing study, particularly of the Holy Fathers, Catholic and Franciscan mysticism, with increased apostolic experience. Finally, a brother may profess lifetime vows and become a full member of the Franciscan Brothers of Peace. Even after this stage, ongoing formation is essential to a brother’s life, and will continue until the end of his life.