Becoming a Holy Land Franciscan
The Custody of the Holy Land is blessed with vocations to Franciscan missionary life. Since it is an international body, it accepts candidates from all over the world.
The Custody has three training centers:
- Postulancy: The convent of San Fortunato at Montefalco (Assisi, Italy)
- Novitiate: The convent of La Verna (Tuscany, Italy)
- Post-Novitiate House: The convent of St. Saviour in Jerusalem (Israel)
The Custody also welcomes candidates in Bethlehem (Palestine), Montefalco (Italy), Washington, D.C. (USA), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Harissa (Lebanon), Aleppo (Syria) and Amman (Jordan).
This is the year of initial preparation to enter the Franciscan Order after undergoing the necessary vocational discernment — a period when the candidate is supported by a formation team of Franciscan Friars with others and in the midst of a Franciscan community.
The postulancy is the time for direct learning of fraternity life, while remaining a lay person. The postulants generally come from different countries and continents, and therefore immediately are immersed in the experience of different cultures. English speaking candidates first go to the Holy Land Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C.
For one year, study, prayer, communal life, participation in the life of the Custody and familiarization with St. Francis’ idea of life, helps the postulant to understand and formulate his life commitment.
The novice will study the life of St. Francis and the first Friars, the Franciscan Rule, Sources, and the History of the Franciscan Order and the Franciscans of the Holy Land. The Novitiate year is a full introduction and experience of the Franciscan way of life, including prayer, fraternity, work and mission.
At the close of this year of novitiate, and with the approval of the Custos of the Holy Land after consulting with those responsible for their Formation, the novices make simple religious vows: they make the public commitment to live according to the Rule of St Francis in obedience, poverty, and chastity. This commitment is for one year and is repeated until the individual Brother is ready to make the final life-long vows.
During this period of temporary profession, the simply professed continue to live in a Friar community and may attend the International Seminary in Jerusalem together with other Friars who have been sent by their provinces for a life and study experience. The training program may include a two-year period of philosophy studies, one year for language study and four years of theological studies. The students offer their services for celebration of the liturgy in the shrines of the Holy Land and especially the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and they participate in the Custody’s cultural initiatives.
The period of temporary profession concludes with the solemn profession, by which the Friars become permanent members of the Order, with full rights and duties in the Custody. After the solemn profession, they may continue to study theology, and reside in one of the houses of the Friars in Jerusalem or the neighboring areas, and are gradually guided into taking full responsibility for their training, which passes from initial to permanent.
- You must be between 22-35 years of age and a high school graduate, or have received an equivalent diploma. Those between 18-22 or 35-50 years old will be considered, but their applications will be considered only if there is good reason to make an exception to the normal age requirements.
- You must be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church.
- You must be in good physical and psychological health. Physical and psychological/behavioral assessments are required. Assessments will be given to the candidate throughout the process of joining the Order.
- You must not have any outstanding debts or any financial obligations.
- You must be able to live a celibate lifestyle.
- You must have a desire to serve in the Franciscan Mission of the Holy Land. The purpose of our mission remains to preach the Gospel through our presence in the Holy Land, and to perform charitable, educational, and social works for the welfare of all who live in or come to the Holy Land. To do so means you must have flexibility and a good temperament in order to live with others in fraternity.
Discerning the Call of God (A Guide for Candidates)
Questions about vocations to the Holy Land Franciscans? To speak with our Vocation Director, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-526-6800.