Four Steps of Formation
The Congregation desires that the religious formation of its members should develop along the lines established by the Church. The directives of the Church include great concern for the suitable human, spiritual, doctrinal, pastoral and professional development of the religious. These directives place a strong emphasis on preserving the spirit of the Founders together with a better understanding of the charism and mission of the Congregation.
Four Steps of Formation
1. Initial Discernment
The Vocation Director will guide you through your initial discernment. During this time, the following will be expected:
Regular meetings with a spiritual director
Ongoing discernment with the Vocation Director or other designated member of the community.
A visit to the house of formation in St. Louis
Visits to some of the ministries of the Congregation
The following documents are needed for admission into candidacy:
- completed questionnaire
- educational transcripts
- medical/dental forms
- letters of recommendation
- psychological testing and evaluation
- criminal background check
Once all of the paperwork of the application is completed and found acceptable the Vocation Director will recommend the next step- Candidacy.
Lasts 3 months to one year.
The candidate lives in a designated religious house of the community.
During this time the candidate and members of the religious house will observe one another in an active discernment. The candidate will be expected to participate in the prayer schedule of the house as well as observe the members of the house as they exercise their ministerial duties. The candidate will continue to meet with the Vocation Director and/or designated community member to discern his readiness for novitiate. After consultation with the members of the religious house the Vocation Director may recommend the candidate for the for the next step of formation- Novitiate.
“The novitiate is a time for the novice to prepare to deepen his commitment to the Risen Christ through profession of vows in the Congregation. This preparation requires growth in self-awareness and self-acceptance.”
During this time the novice studies the history, traditions and spirituality of the Congregation. At the end of novitiate the novice professes temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. As vowed member of the Congregation the novice begins the last stage of formation- Post-Novitiate.
“The goal of the post-novitiate formation is the personal development of the whole man; to help him grow in Christian maturity by becoming more aware of his sinfulness and God’s merciful love, to help him deepen his vowed commitment to the Risen Christ, to help him adapt his personal life in order to strengthen common life and to help him develop his gifts and talents so that he may use them in the apostolic work of the the Congregation.”
Depending upon the level of education, the newly vowed member enrolls at St. Louis University to attain an undergraduate degree or enroll at Aquinas Institute for theological studies. Brother candidates will pursue studies outlined by the Director. Priesthood candidates will pursue the Masters of Divinity Degree offered at Aquinas Institute.
The discernment during Post-Novitiate is two-fold- preparing for perpetual profession and study for Holy Orders or other ministerial endeavors.
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