The formation process is a spiritual journey which consists of three main phases or stages of growth and maturation:
In this process of initial formation, the Inquirer and Candidate acquire the necessary knowledge and experience to interiorize the Secular Franciscan gospel life.
Authentic formation must be gradual and protected. Formation should be developed in each phase so as to prepare the person for the succeeding one by a gradual maturity.
There is a particular emphasis for each phase in Initial formation. Progression from one phase to the next is dependent upon the readiness of the individual to enter into the successively deeper levels of his/her life with God.
The GOAL of formation in the Secular Franciscan Order is a personal union with the Lord Jesus in the tradition and spirituality of the Franciscan family
From: Guidelines for Initial Formation in the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States. U.S.A.1990.