In the last entry of this series, I mentioned that I spend a weekend at the St. Anthony Shrine and Friary. To say that I was blown away by the experience would be an understatement; and, freshly energized by the experience, I began the application process. Of course, I had absolutely no idea exactly how involved that process would be.
During my adult life, I have been taken out car loans, mortgages, credit cards, and applied for security clearances; but, as I looked at the package of paperwork, I realized that none of those experiences had the volume and depth of paperwork and activities that applying for the Franciscans did. The order really did cover just about everything. It really does may sense why they would want to know everything possible about me. This is a life-time commitment, not just for me but for the order. So, they need to know exactly who I am.
In the application package, they requested the following information:
- Basic Identification Information
- Citizenship and birth information
- My birth certificate
- A passport photo
- A copy of my driver’s license
- My college transcript
- A comprehensive background check
- My sacramental records (to prove i’m a Catholic)
- No less than five references in different areas of my life
- Family Medical History
- A medical workup
- A dental workup
- An optic workup
- A short biographical essay
- A short essay on my discernment process
- An in-person psychiatric evaluation
- An in-person behavioral assessment
I know that list sounds like it’s involved and excessive; and it is, with good reason. In fact, the entire admission and formation process is intentionally slow and involved. It gives plenty of opportunity for discernment and contemplation every step of the way. It gives plenty of opportunity to change your mind and back out, if the applicant feels that is the right thing to do. In that light, the process isn’t just for the protection of the order. It’s also there to protect and aid the applicant as well. After all, when making a life-time commitment, it’s imperative to make sure you know it’s the path that God is truly calling you to be on.