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Watching EWTN, I see that some of the Franciscans are priests and some are brothers. I'm pretty sure St. Francis himself went only as far as the diaconate (by his own choosing).

So, do some good brothers get promoted to study for the priesthood? Who decides that and what's the ideal priest to brother ratio?

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While spending some time at St. Bernard's discerning my vocation (before I met my lovely wife) I picked up on a few things:

Monastic orders are structured in a way so that daily spiritual life is lived out as a very intimate family.

Monasteries can perhaps be compared to villages. Everyone (especially the Abbott) has a good sense of what must be provided for the survival of the surrounding community.

The Abbott is the final authority within the monastery. As a "brother" is gradually received into the community his talents and/or prior education/qualifications are taken into consideration, and are then consequently deployed to serve the community.

Some guys are Notre Dame alum-lawyers...others have "special needs"...others are just average Joes (like me).

The Abbott is just like a general of the Army. He sends soldiers where they should be sent...no questions asked

At St. Bernard's, there is a private school that has to be kept in motion year round. There is also a large Catholic community in Cullman. The more priests the better.

At the end of the day...Monks simply pray and work.

BTW, I know you specifically asked about the "Friars Minor," but all monasteries are like little diocese and therefore essentially have the same hierarchical structure.

The EWTN Franciscans are somewhat unique, in that they have been specifically commission by Rome to produce television and radio for the world. I'm sure that there are unique strategics involved across the board.

Through their familial association with the Eternal Word Television Network, the friars use as energetically as possible all forms of mass communication in the apostolate, especially television, radio, Internet, the printed word. Urged on by the love of Christ, with the assistance of Our Lady of the Annunciation and zeal for the salvation of others, the friars as modern day missionaries share in the Church’s mission of evangelization, a work of God’s mercy.

As an aside...

The biggest thing that jumped out at me while hanging out at St. Bernard's was that the most important thing for newcomers is permanent humility. Sometimes men come in to the community automatically assuming that they have all the right stuff to be a priest. Ironically, at least at St. Bernard's, the average Joes became priests before the former millionaire investors.

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