(Book of Formation JM pp. 43-47)
The experience of the call of God which motivates and impels us from the first commitment continues all through our lives. As it grows and is deepened, this experience is more than we can imagine. On-going formation takes place in the dynamism of our own lives. As the first stage of formation is a guided experience, ongoing formation is essentially the same experience but lived in a manner with more autonomy, within the ordinary conditions of the life and mission of the congregation.
On-going formation also has its own stages, determined by the rhythm of life; hence, it is important that the religious learn to develop the human and spiritual dynamism which will assure her continuous growth.
Some of these stages/ situations of life are:
- After perpetual profession;
- Immersion in apostolic life;.
- Transfers of place and mission/ministry;
- Experiences of loss and times of difficulties;
- Stage of serenity and wisdom.
1. Ongoing Formation
2. Other moments of formation
- Preparation for Perpetual profession
- Retour aux Sources
AIM OF ON-GOING FORMATION
«If consecrated life is in itself ‘a progressive taking on of the attitude of Christ,’ it seems evident that such a path must endure for a lifetime and involve the whole person — heart, mind and strength, reshaping the person in the likeness of the Son who gives himself to the Father for the good of humanity».
- To maintain oneself in an attitude of on-going conversion, renewal, and development.
- To continue a progressive integration of prayer and action, seeking the unity of life that is a fruit of the action of the Spirit.
- To seek opportunities to develop and expand abilities and skills for service in the mission, and for readiness to respond to new challenges.
- To expand knowledge of the needs of our world and undertake reflection and action in response to these needs.
- To prepare the transition to retirement and diminished energies and health in view of living this stage in profound faith. la connaissance des besoins de notre monde et promouvoir la réflexion et l’action en réponse à ces besoins;
CORE VALUES IN ONGOING FORMATION
a) Experience of God and Charism
- A deepening in the following of Christ and in one’s identity, rooted in generosity, self-surrender, a faith-filled vision of reality, and in prayer that is increasingly personal and grounded in life.
- Affective identification with Jesus that moves one from self-sufficiency to humility, from self-confidence to confidence in the Father.
- Firmness of purpose and faith in the face of difficulties and moments of darkness, confidence in the promise of a faithful God who will sustain and accompany us.
- Clarity about one’s own limitations and possibilities, and acceptance of these.
- Deepening of one’s personal and unique vocation.
- Care for the quality of one’s life of faith and of love.
- Recognition of the Paschal mystery, the cross and resurrection, in the experiences of one’s life.
b) Growth of the Human Person
- To move toward full maturation as a woman, with creativity, apostolic dynamism, initiative, joy and a sense of humor.
- To develop a capacity for leadership, generativity, for creating deep relationships.
- To realize this moment as the time when one can offer one’s experience and personal vision to the community, the Congregation, the Church and the world.
- To know, acknowledge, and name with candor one’s feelings and emotions, affections, fears, desires, in order to live from one’s truth on a journey of growth and encounter with God.
- To know and deal with one’s ambitions, egoism, desire for power, feelings of inferiority or superiority, pride, self-sufficiency, competitiveness, etc. in a manner that rejects bitterness and hardness, and leads one to live with humility, joy, and a sense of meaning.
- To enjoy the richness of this stage, the growth, hopes and joy it brings, and to accept moments of fatigue, of overwork, of diminishment, in the conviction that all of these can be opportunities for deepening and growth.
- To give oneself more wholeheartedly, constantly, and with greater capacity to face situations that earlier felt impossible to confront.
- To continue with interest and care the human and theological formation needed for a better service..
c) Realities of the World
- To cultivate a positive and hopeful view of each person and of reality.
- To renew one’s apostolic commitment with greater depth and peace.
- To be attentive to the cries of the poor and the needs of the world so as to consider possible new responses.
- To avoid an attitude of indifference and insensitivity in the face of reality.
- To reject the choice to settle in one’s own ‘comfort zone’; to choose to be open to newness, to surprise; and to be open to the challenge of the changing world.
- To have the capacity to relativize issues and to cultivate a sense of humor..
d) Ignatian Spirituality
- To recognize in one’s personal history so much that has been given in order to serve and to love in all.
- To undertake an honest search for accompaniment that can aid in confronting life and living with clarity.
- To experience fragility and diminishment as a path to interior liberty and confidence in God.
- To prepare and form ourselves well to accompany and to discern; to offer these tools that can aid others in finding meaning, and bring out the best in each person.
- To be contemplatives in action, seeking and finding God in all things and all things in God.
- To enjoy and savor life in what is simple and routine: in art, prayer, music, liturgy, apostolic relations, community, nature, friendship, etc.
- To unify life around the one desire of pleasing God , and to live in a spirit of thanksgiving: “Take, Lord, and receive….”
OTHER MOMENTS OF FORMATION
(Book of Formation JM, pp. 49-52)
1. PREPARATION FOR PERPETUAL PROFESSION
The Constitutions provide for a period of approximately two months of immediate preparation for perpetual profession. However, this period may be omitted if the second year of intensive formation immediately precedes perpetual profession.
AIM FOR PRERPARATION FOR PERPETUAL PROFESSIONE
To confirm and deepen the conviction of God’s call to make a complete gift of self, and the choice to respond to that call through a permanent commitment as a Religious of Jesus and Mary.
CORE VALUES IN THE PREPARATION FOR PERPETUAL PROFESSION
This period provides the sister with the opportunity and guidance necessary for considering and savoring the experience of God’s presence and activity in her life, and in the lives of those with and to whom she has ministered.
In the light of her decision for a permanent commitment, and the confirmation of that choice by the Congregation, she is invited to a review of her personal history that is marked by honesty and gratitude to God.
Similarly, her reflection on experiences in mission is meant to renew her desire to gaze on the world with the eyes of God, and to respond to the needs of its people with zeal and compassion.
The grace sought at this time is that of a radical availability, a desire to be “placed with the Son,” and a willingness to place all of one’s gifts at the service of the mission of the Congregation.
ELEMENTS OF THE PROGRAM OF PREPARATION
- Reflection, personal and shared, on experiences of mission, prayer and community, in view of discerning God’s presence and gifts in one’s experience of JM life and mission
- The Spiritual Exercises of eight days, in view of confirming the election
- Consideration of one’s gifts for apostolic mission, in view of placing them at the service of the apostolic body
- Acceptance of one’s responsibility for shared mission
- Study of current ecclesial documents on the place of religious life in the Church.
2. B. TERTIANSHIP
The Tertianship is referred to in Ignatian terminology as a ‘School of the Heart’. By this is meant a transformation of the affectivity of the person in the depths of her heart, a transformation that is meant to enable her to transcend her own “self-love, self-will and self-interest,” and receive more fully the gift of God. This stage is a time of grace which offers to the religious an opportunity to give herself to apostolic life with renewed zeal, through the total gift of her person to the Crucified and Risen Lord.
AIM OF TERTIANSHIP
A fuller integration in the apostolic body of the Congregation for a greater service of the reign of God in the Church.
Options for Tertianship
- The duration is approximately eight months. This includes a time dedicated to apostolic ministry, and a more extensive time of reading and deepening knowledge and understanding of the documents of the Congregation.
- A period of five-six months, with the appropriate reduction and adaptation of the complete Tertianship program.
Elements of the Tertianship
- The month of Spiritual Exercises.
- Deepening the knowledge of the life of Our Mother Foundress and the origin of the Congregation
- A Study of the History of the Congregation.
- Review of Constitutions and documents of the most recent General Chapters.
- The practice of some works of charity.
- Engagement in a new and distinct apostolic experience.
- The Tertianship Community.
- It is important to value and live diversity as an expression of the richness of the Spirit, cultivating openness to the universality of the Congregation, appreciation of other cultures, integration of the multi-cultural, and respect for other beliefs and confessions.
- This period is a time of increasing knowledge and openness to other communities of Jesus and Mary, of thanking God for the universality and vitality of the charism which unites us and is expressed and enriched by the strength of the Spirit in diversity.