Men who are interested in the Capuchin Order take the time to learn about Capuchins, meet friars, and visit Capuchin ministries. Vocation directors are available for guidance and assistance in this process of inquiry. During this time, candidates are active in volunteer ministry and spiritual direction to help them discern the life to which God is calling them.
Candidacy has a residential and non-residential
form. The non-residential program allows candidates to live, work, and study in whatever place they wish.
They participate in scheduled weekends at various sites throughout the Province of St. Joseph
[Upper Midwest United States] to become more acquainted with Capuchins, their way of life, and their ministries. A person can be a candidate anywhere from several months to several years.
There are two opportunities to be a residential Capuchin candidate. The first is the Capuchin
College Program designed for young men within
two years of having graduated from high school.
To learn more about this program, click on
"Capuchin College Program" to the
left. Men more than two years past high school
graduation begin their candidacy as
non-residents. If after some time they desire to
get a more inside look at the Capuchins, they
can arrange to live in a Capuchin community and
volunteer in a Capuchin ministry. This
opportunity is often used by men seriously
thinking of applying to the next postulancy
class and desiring more experience to assist in
making that decision.
When a candidate feels more certain about his desire to become a Capuchin, he makes formal application to enter the Postulancy Program.
The Postulancy Program lasts for one year at St. Conrad
Friary in Milwuakee. It is the first full-time, residential program for someone entering the Capuchin Order.
Postulants spend 20 hours a week in ministry with the
poor. Shelters for the homeless, soup kitchens, nursing homes, programs for battered women, educational opportunities for children in
poverty are just a few examples. Another 20 hours are spent receiving input, reflecting together on experiences, or studying privately. Input during postulancy includes the life and writings of St. Francis of Assisi, basic catechesis in the Catholic faith, Liturgy of the Hours and community prayer,
Eucharist, and social analysis and theological reflection on experiences with the poor.
The province treats postulants as members of the Capuchin Order, even though they have not professed vows. The Capuchins assume financial responsibility for members at this point for as long as they remain in formation and in the Capuchin Order. With successful completion of the year, postulants
move into a year of novitiate.
Like postulancy, novitiate is a one-year residential
program. It takes place in suburban Pittsburgh. But while postulancy is a time of intense ministry experience, novitiate provides the environment in which one is more reflective on his life in the Capuchin Order in preparation for first profession of vows [poverty, chastity, and obedience] at the completion of the novitiate year.
Novices offer six hours of volunteer ministry each week. They also spend 20 hours weekly in classroom and private instruction. Topics include the history of spirituality, the history of religious life, the Capuchin Constitutions, the lay Franciscan movement, personal prayer forms, and the history of the Franciscan First Order [men] and the Poor Clares [the Second Order].
Novices practice a rich prayer life as they
further discern their vocation.
Novitiate concludes with the profession of temporary [lasting for one year] vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Post-novitiate begins with the profession of temporary ["first"] vows. In this time of post-novitiate formation, a Capuchin friar lives what he has learned through postulancy and novitiate. It is an extended time of prayer, reflection, and final decision-making prior to professing perpetual [lifelong] vows. Most men in post-novitiate formation use this time to further prepare themselves for
ministry, including priesthood.
With the completion of each year of post-novitiate formation, a friar renews his temporary vows for another year. This process of renewal continues for anywhere between three and six years until a friar is ready to commit himself to live the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for the rest of his life [in "perpetual vows"].
The Capuchin College Program
St. Joseph Seminary
on the campus of
Loyola University of Chicago
We know it’s a mouthful. So, on
this page we hope to explain the Capuchin College Program (CCP)
in simple terms that make it understandable.
The Capuchin College Program
The CCP is a formation
program for men within two years of having graduated from
high school and who want to take a serious look at
becoming Capuchins. The program includes these
- Residence with about
60 other young men considering priesthood and/or
religious life for various dioceses or religious orders.
- Daily liturgical
prayer that supports this search.
- Monthly spiritual direction that
helps the discernment process.
- About 15 formation
nights at St. Clare Capuchin Friary in Chicago to talk
and learn about Capuchin life and ministry.
- About another 15
formation nights at St. Joseph Seminary discussing
issues about church ministry as a priest and/or
- Two retreats a year focusing on vocational choice.
- A ministry week each May at a different Capuchin ministry.
- Many scheduled and spontaneous gatherings with Capuchins in Chicago and
the Mid-west, including the opportunity to just
hang-out in Capuchin houses and help out in Capuchin
|Men in this
program are called "Capuchin candidates." After
their second year out of high school, these candidates are
invited to enter the Capuchin Postulancy located at St.
Clare Friary in Chicago. This is the first year as a
member of the Capuchin Order. It is a full-time program,
for which postulants step out of college education to lay
a firm foundation for their Capuchin life. Postulants
spend 20 hours a week in ministry with poor people and
another 20 hours in classes, reading, and reflection
exercises that provide basic information and experiences
that shape a Capuchin life. Postulants have regular
interaction with their former classmates in the CCP,
especially when they come to St. Clare Friary for
formation nights, but also just to get together for fun.
The two programs are a short 45 minute subway ride apart.
St. Joseph Seminary
In order to provide our
candidates in the CCP with educational opportunities that
keep them on track with their goals, the CCP is located at
St. Joseph College Seminary operated by the Archdiocese of
Chicago. The seminary setting gives the CCP a large
peer group of others exploring religious life and/or
priesthood. This environment supports Capuchin candidates
as they move toward a decision about whether to apply for
the Capuchin postulancy after sophomore year.
on the campus of
Loyola University of
The Archdiocese of
Chicago has placed its college seminary on the campus of
Loyola University so that its students get one of the
finest educations possible. More than half of seminarians’
classes are taken with the general population of the
candidates earn college credits that will transfer almost
anywhere in the United States. After completing postulancy
and novitiate, the then-Capuchins can return to Loyola to complete their bachelor’s degree
or choose to attend a different school in the Chicago
area. No one is turned away because his family
cannot afford Loyola University or St. Joseph Seminary.
To talk to a vocation director about
the Capuchin College Program, contact
Fr. Bill Hugo