What is the formation process?

This will vary from one community to another, and according to what ministry to which you aspire. But it includes both academic/theological training, as well as interior development.

Academic and Theology Training

Basic formation for many communities will require the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Seminarians are required to study philosophy from the onset of their formation. As part of the discernment and formation in preparation for taking vows, you would spend one to two years in the novitiate, where you’ll begin to live community life, learn the order’s history, the meaning of the vows, read many spiritual classics, and engage in spiritual direction. For those pursuing priesthood, there is usually 4 years of graduate-level theology with pastoral-skills courses (like homiletics, counseling, etc.). Many brothers and sisters (though not all) will continue their education in preparation for their ministry.

Interior Development

The many years of formation enable you to grow in self-knowledge and understanding, as you’re being formed into a religious. The formation team will help you to review your life, grow in prayer, faith, and understanding of the Church’s traditions and teachings. Feedback will be given to affirm your goodness and gifts. The community or seminary may encourage growth and changes in some areas.

What will be Expected of Me During Formation?

No one is expected to be perfect when entering formation. Nor does one have to sure or certain of his/her calling. What is necessary is the maturity to be honest with yourself and formation staff, and to grow in grace with the assistance of the formation team.

Even after one is ordained/finally professed there is ongoing formation for the rest of one’s life. As Christians, our formation in the Christian life does not end until we draw our last earthly breath.

Where will I study/prepare during my formation?

Usually most persons in formation will study in a house of formation approved by the diocese or religious community. Many religious orders have houses of formation near a university. Some orders have their own university, with a house of formation on campus. Ask your Vocation Director where you would likely study. On occasion, some persons might study in Europe or in a missionary country.

St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church - 2309 Euclid Ave., Austin, TX 78704