The Third Order Formation Process
The formation process has been designed to support a person to explore their vocation within the Third Order. It takes place over a period of two – three years and consists of three phases: Enquirer, Noviciate and Profession.
If you want to know more, or if you feel sure God is calling you to explore a vocation in the Third Order, you should contact your Regional Minister.
Your Regional Minister will write to you explaining the next steps. She or he will ask you to write down some of your spiritual journey to help you both to discern how God has led you to this point. The Regional Minister will also help you write a Rule of Life and help you find a Spiritual Advisor.
When the Regional Minister feels the time is right, you will be invited to a meeting of your local Area.
If you still wish to proceed, and if the Regional Minister discerns that you should be testing your vocation within the Third Order at this time, she or he will allocate you your personal guide for the novitiate. This person is called your Novice Counsellor and will be someone who has been a Tertiary for some time. The Regional Minister will admit you as a Novice in a simple ceremony.
During the next two, or three, years, your Novice Counsellor will guide you through a process not only of learning about the Franciscan way of being a Christian, but more importantly allowing both what you are learning and the community itself to shape your life in Franciscan patterns.
For most people, this process of formation is exciting, sometimes challenging, sometimes needing courage to step into the unknown. Your Novice Counsellor and Spiritual Adviser will explore with you the dimensions of this journey of formation.
Most novices are ready to be admitted to full membership (Profession) of the Third Order after two years. Some need three years, which is the normal maximum time of the noviciate.
Professed members of the Third Order give themselves to our Lord Jesus Christ, to serve Him for the rest of their lives in the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis. This pledge or profession is renewed annually, and continues throughout life to shape our lives as Christians in the Franciscan way.
Our profession is a solemn commitment. For those who should make it, it provides deep joy and solidarity as they live out their Christian commitment in God’s Church and world.