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The following is simple guide to the process of discernment and formation for members of the Order. Please note, that the Brother/Sister Shepherd has the discretion to alter any, or all, of the following formation program as necessary depending on individual circumstances.



  •  Four - six months minimum.

  •  Initial enquiry followed up with Spiritual Direction together with dialogue with an appointed member of the Order to determine the most appropriate path for the individual.

  •  a person will not be considered for membership of the Order, if they are below 18 years of age.

  •  While there is generally no upper age limit people beyond retirement age may be asked to undertake a tailored formation program.

  •  Appropriate background, medical and other checks would ordinarily be conducted at this time, and before, a Visitor can be considered as a Candidate. These will be discussed at the time, and usually the Visitor will be asked to meet these costs.



  • Three months minimum.

  •  Further journeying with the Order including, if possible, short periods of visiting members of the community.

  • Ongoing Spiritual Direction and dialogue.

  • In third month complete a 200 word essay on each clause of the EFO Rule of Life and how it can be applied in today’s world.

  • Become familiar with (ie: use) the EFO Prayer Book.



  •  12 months minimum.

  •  Ongoing Spiritual Direction and discernment.

  •  Any decisions to be made regarding length of time prior to profession will involve the Brother/Sister Shepherd, the Novice’s Spiritual Director, and the Novice.

  • Commence work on the formation worksheets from the EFO Formation Manual "By Word and Example"

  • Begin to read the Book of First Celano, available on this web.

  • Deepening of prayer life and regular visits/ communication with/ to Spiritual Director and communication with other EFO members.

  •  If possible undertake at least 1 silent retreat each 12 months.

  • May select a “religious” name to use with either of the tiles Brother (Br) or Sister (Sr). These titles are to be gender specific.

  •  May use the letters EFO after their name.


First Professed – Annual Vows

  • Generally 3-5 years.

  • Continue work on the formation worksheets from the EFO Formation Manual "By Word and Example"

  • Familiarise themselves with the person of Francis by beginning to read as many first and second class sources as possible.

  • If possible undertake at least 1 silent retreat each 12 months.

  • May elect to change their professed “religious” name.


Life Professed

  • Generally no less than 3 years of “First Professed” life.

  • If still appropriate continue work on the formation worksheets from the EFO Formation Manual "By Word and Example"

  • Undertake at least 1 silent retreat each 12 months.

  • May elect to change their professed “religious” name.

  • May use the letters EFO after their name.

  • Final Vows.


Here is an example of an Admonition's Worksheet from "By Word and Example":

The Admonitions: Of The Lord’s Body:


Saint Francis wrote:

The Lord Jesus said to His disciples: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father, but by Me. If you had known Me you would, without doubt, have known My Father also: and from now on you shall know Him, and you have seen Him.


Philip said to Him: Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus said to him: Have I been so long a time with you and have you not known Me? Philip, they that see Me, see the Father also.


How can you say, Show us the Father?” The Father “lives in inaccessible light,” and “God is a spirit,” and “no human has seen God at any time.” Because God is a spirit, it is only by the spirit that He can be seen, for “it is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing.”


For neither is the Son, (inasmuch as He is equal to the Father), seen by anyone other than the Father, other than by the Holy Spirit. So, all those who saw the Lord Jesus Christ according to his humanity, and did not see and believe according to the Spirit and the Divinity, that He was the Son of God, were condemned.


In like manner, all those who behold the Sacrament of the Body of Christ (in the form of bread and wine, which is sanctified by the word of the Lord) upon the altar in the hands of the priest, and who do not see and believe according to the Spirit and Divinity that it really is the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, are condemned.. The Most High having declared it when God said, “This is My Body, and the Blood of the New Testament," and “those that eat My Flesh and drink My Blood have everlasting life.”


So they who have the Spirit of the Lord, (which dwells in Gods faithful people), they, are the ones who receive the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord. All others who do not have this same Spirit (and who presume to receive Him), eat and drink judgment to themselves.


“O ye human, how long will you be dull of heart?” Why will you not know the truth and “believe in the Son of God?” Behold daily He humbles Himself as when from His “royal throne” He came into the womb of the Virgin. Daily He Himself comes to us with like humility; daily He descends from the bosom of His Father upon the altar in the hands of the priest.


Just as He appeared in true flesh to the Holy Apostles, so now He shows Himself to us in the sacred Bread. The Apostles, by means of their human eyes, saw only His flesh. Yet when contemplating Jesus with their spiritual eyes, the Apostles believed Him to be God.


So today we, seeing the bread and wine with our human eyes, see and firmly believe it to be His most holy Body and true and living Blood. In this way our Lord is ever with His faithful. For, as He Himself said: “Behold I am with you all days, even to the end of the world.”



In this admonition Francis gives us his understanding of the Eucharist. It is a complete theological statement. It is also in many ways a creedal document.


In light of Francis’s views of the Eucharist, how do you relate to the Sacrament of the Eucharist?

Indeed do you think it is sacrament at all?


  •  How would one look upon Christ or the Eucharist with “spiritual eyes”?

  • Does this phrase have any relevance in toady’s world, or is it a relic of Medieval Thought and experience?

  • In a world that is increasingly hostile to the idea that there is only one way to God, (something that Francis held as fundamental), how do you relate to Christ’s teaching: “I am the way the truth and the life, no one come to the Father except through me?

  •  How does this statement fit into today’s pluralistic, interfaith landscape?



Last edited 13/09/2017 07:24 
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