Secular Franciscan Order


The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) was founded in 1221 by Saint Francis of Assisi. Today, there approximately 430,000 Secular Franciscans live in more than one hundred countries throughout the modern world.  The SFO is a lay order, also known as a lay institute, fully-aligned with the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Father and the Magisterium. Rome has repeatedly affirmed that the SFO is a true religious order. Like other religious orders, the SFO has a Rule approved by Rome. The Order also has a novitiate (formation process) and a formal profession for members.  Secular Franciscans are organized into local fraternities. Monthly fraternity meetings and other activities replace the communal living of the First (male) and Second (female) Franciscan Orders.  Membership is normally permanent.

For more information, contact Sadie Martins (


The minimum age for membership is twenty-one (21) years and develops over time, according to the following stages:


  • Orientation or “visitation period” is that informal time during which a person attends regular fraternity meetings and events.
  • Inquirer period comes after three months or more of orientation.  The person may ask to be enrolled as an Inquirer, who then begins a study period lasting six months or more.
  • Candidacy is the next stage of study, which lasts from eighteen to thirty-six (18 to 36) months.  During this time, the person engages in a close reading and study of the Rule of the Order, carefully discerning God’s call upon his or her life.
  • Profession (full membership) may be requested after candidacy.  A potential member must show an active interest in the religious calling and be willing to commit to lifelong spiritual advancement.


When: 11:00 a. m.  – 2:00 p. m.  on the Second  Saturday of each month.

Where: Saint Mary’s Lyceum, 313 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia

Contact: 703-321-9248 or 703-768-5556

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Contact the apostolate leader Sadie Martins at or by using this form.

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