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 Montefalco (Italy), Washington, D.C. (USA), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Harissa (Lebanon), Aleppo (Syria) and Amman (Jordan).
This is the year of initial training when a candidate enters the Franciscan Order after undergoing the necessary discernment for his calling, a period when he is supported by vocational supervisors and it has been ascertained that he is seriously motivated to become part of the Order.
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.
On donning the Franciscan habit, after a year of postulancy, the year of novitiate begins. The program during this time includes playing an intensive part in the everyday life of the brotherhood.
The studies program includes courses on the Franciscan Rule, Sources, History and the History the Custody. There are many aspects that make up the program of this period. They include: the daily lectio divina, training in religious and Gregorian chant, the responsibility of manual work about the house, service in the sanctuary and in the convent, serving the poor and supporting the parish’s pastoral activities, including the commitment to participation in Jerusalem’s great liturgical feast days, as well as the attention to the contemplative dimension that must be experienced during the days of retreat.
At the close of this year of novitiate, and with the approval of their trainers, the novices take a simple religious vow, in other words they make the public commitment to live according to the rule of St Francis: obedience, poverty, chastity. This commitment is repeated for four separate years.
During this period, novices attend the international seminary together with the brethren who have been sent here by their Provinces for a life and study experience. The training program includes a two-year period of philosophy studies and one year for language study. At the end of these three years, the theological quadrennium begins. Everyone takes part in the life project of the St. Saviour community. Novices offer their services for celebration of the liturgy in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and they participate in the Custody’s cultural initiatives.
The four years of temporary profession concludes with the solemn profession, which makes the novices permanent members of the Order, with full rights and duties in the Custody. After the solemn profession, they continue to study theology, but they reside in one of the convents 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 at least 20 years of age and a high school graduate, or have received an equivalent diploma. Anyone 40-45 years old will be considered on a case by case basis.
- 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 once the candidate has arrived.
- 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, ext 334