Becoming a Capuchin

the stages of formation


What isF o r m a t i o n ?

Formation is the process by which a person is gradually “formed” into the life and spirituality of the Capuchin Franciscans. Initial formation involves several stages including: postulancy, novitiate, post-novitiate. Learn more about these different stages by clicking on one of the links at the bottom of the page.

What is

The word “spirituality” means to be concerned with religion or religious matters, and a way of relating to God. The Capuchin Franciscans have a unique spirituality rooted in the life and example of St. Francis and the inspiration of the Capuchin Reform.

The fraternal Gospel life is the unifying identity of all Franciscans. The Capuchins, desiring to return to the original inspiration of St. Francis, stressed certain aspects which they viewed as central to an authentic living of this Gospel brotherhood. The Capuchin Constitutions define this unique identity as follows:

Let us strive to give priority to a life of prayer, especially contemplative prayer, to cultivate, together with a spirit of minority, radical poverty, both personal and communal; and, out of love of the Lord’s cross, to manifest a life of austerity and joyful penance… While exercising among ourselves the freedom of brothers, let us joyfully live among the poor, the powerless and the weak, sharing their life, and let us maintain our special approach to people. In many ways, above all in the work of evangelization, let us promote an apostolic dynamism that is carried out in a spirit of service

Capuchin spirituality takes its most concrete expression in the life and witness of the Order’s many canonized saints. Among these incredible men, several commonalities are clear: centrality of the Eucharist, fervent devotion to Our Lady and her Rosary, long hours in prayer, bodily mortification and an austere lifestyle, and a special affinity and closeness to the common people, especially the poor.



Aspirancy period usually lasts from one to two years and the aspirant spends it outside the seminary. The candidate has regular communication with the vocation director and/or the brothers of the friary nearest the aspirant´s home. Aspirancy, also called the Pastoral of Vocation, has two stages of formation: The first stage is the vocation guidance stage wherein the candidate is assisted in discerning his call in life and is guided in realizing his authentic vocation. The second stage is the aspirancy proper which prepares the candidates for their gradual entrance into the Postulancy Period of the Capuchin Way of Life. Respecting the individual's charism and with the good of the Mother Church constantly in mind, the candidates during this time period are guided and assisted in their growth.

It's general objective is to guide and assist the Youth and also the Candidates to the Capuchin Order in the Philippines in their spiritual, psychological, emotional, intellectual and social maturity while maintaining contact with their families and the realities of the world.

Capuchin Constitutions 16:5; IV CPO 58


Postulancy lasts for 2 to 3 years and is spend in the Lourdes Seminary of the Capuchin Philippine Province situated at Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines. Postulancy is the first period in the Initial Formation. It is the time when the candidates to the Capuchin Order begin to discover the underlying reasons of their vocation and gradually strengthen themselves in their choice of our way of life; hence the time for discernment and choice of the Franciscan-Capuchin life. It is also the time to discover and deepen their human identity and accept their human strengths and weakneses. The postulants are guided and assisted in their spiritual, moral psychological, emotional, social and physical growth towards self- integration and personal maturity. The Postulancy Program provides them the avenue to complete the break with their environment and to gain a first-hand experience of the Fraternity life.

The Postulancy aims to continue what was started in the Aspirancy or Pastoral of Vocations Program by following up: The candidates´personal human growth and maturity; by promoting further their maturation in faith, Christian life and worship; by helping them progress in their understanding of the life, charism and spirituality of the Order and thereby properly initiate them to the Novitiate.

(Ratio Formationis of the Capuchin Philippine Province)



This stage of formation is one year and is experienced in the Novitiate of the Capuchin Philippine Province in Baguio City, Benguet, Philippines. The Novitiate is the period of Initial Formation; it is a period of a more intense initiation and a more profound experience of the Capuchin Life of the Gospel according to its fundamental demands, and it presupposes a free and mature choice of the religious life, (Constitutions 31:1). Novitiate is basically a matter of spiritual formation, thus, it involves a radical reorientation of the whole person down to the roots of one´s being and the effective center of one´s consciousness.

¨The Novitiate, by which life in the institute begins, is ordered to this, that novices better recognize their divine vocation and one which is, moreover, proper to the institute, that they experience the institute´s manner of living, that they be formed in mind and heart by its spirit, and that their intention and suitability be tested¨

(Code of Canon Law 646)


This stage of formation is at least six years. The Postnovitiate is the period of Initial Formation where the brothers progress towards maturity on the commitment which they have undertaken at the first profession (Constitutions 32:1, IV CPO 67a). It is also the period where the brothers prepare themselves for the perpetual profession as a definitive option for the Evangelical Life (Contstitutions 32:1b; IV CPO 67b). During this time the friars continue their discernment and learn to balance prayer, fraternity, academic study and ministry.

The main objective of the Post Novitiate emphasizes the formation of the young friars into the values of fraternal Gospel life in preparation for the perpetual profession which is a definitive option for the Gospel life in our Order.

Capuchin Constitutions 32:1b



On-going formaion is a process of personal and community renewal and of harmonious adaptation of structures and activities, by which we are enabled to live our Gospel vocation in actual everyday situations. Ongoing formation involves the whole person in a holistic manner. It has, however, a twofold dimension: in the first place, spiritual conversion achieved through a continual return to the sources of Christian life and to the primitive spirit of the Order, carried out in forms adapted to times and cultures; secondly, cultural and professional renewal, achieved through educational and specialized adaptation to the conditions of the times. All of this promotes greater creative fidelity to our vocation. (Constitutions 41:2-3).

Mindful of Saint Francis and of his exhortation: "Brothers, let us begin again to serve the Lord God, because until now we have done little or nothing", let us all be aware of the need for ongoing formation.

1 Celano 103; Capuchin Constitutions 41:1