“We have this treasure in earthen vessels…”

It is true in life that a potter performing various kinds of clay, he wants to give them a specific shape to do their best job.  In a special way – by analogy – this work refers to our life for which we are responsible. This shaping of the clay vessels of our lives is a formation time in the convent. It aims to prepare for religious life and for the total surrender to God and the Church /cf. Constitutions No. 19 /, so that the Treasure that each sister bears from now on will never destroyed.

Formation should follow the teachings of Christ, the recommendations of the Church, and the spirit of the Congregation. Sisters should be guided by the principles of evangelical life and the virtue and life style of the relevant Congregation / Constitutions No. 20 /  For proper accomplishment of such a serious task, competent persons – the superior general and the mistresses – as well as the responsible Community of the particular home in which the formation takes place are needed because the example of a life of prayer, zeal, love and dedication creates the proper climate for the spiritual formation of the nuns / Constitutions No. 22/

Does she have a pure intention and is truly seeking God (RB 57, 7)?

The fundamental question that the Mother General will ask the candidate will be:

  • health status (adequate physical and mental health);
  • maturity and proper character;
  • age (completed at least eighteen years of age and not over thirty-five);
  • willingness to endure the hardships of religious life;
  • demonstrate to have a calling to the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Benedict; and submit the relevant documents:
  • a written request for admission to the Congregation and a handwritten autobiography;
  • certificates of baptism and confirmation;
  • a medical certificate stating good health and free from hereditary, mental or infectious diseases;
  • school certificates and diplomas;
  • parental consent in writing when the candidate is underage;
  • the parish priest’s opinion;

The women will be accepted into the community postulate for at least six months, but never more than two years / Constitutions Nos. 23-27; Directory No. 30/.

Candidacy in our Congregation lasts two weeks and aims to get to know the person entering.  During the candidature, the basic issue is to discern if the young person is fit to live in the Benedictine community. This time is the ‘test’ of the maturity of the faith and openness of the candidate to the voice of God.

The postulancy is the first stage of formation. It lasts at least six months, but never more than two years. It is time to get acquainted with religious life, its principles and preparation for the novitiate. The postulancy helps the postulant to convince herself of the rightness of her decision to follow Christ through the way of the Rule of Saint Benedict. Candidates who have been admitted to the Congregation are in the formation house with their Mistress of the postulancy, who takes care that the learned spirit of prayer and work, will be supported by the joyful experience of living in a new family – the religious family.

The two-year novitiate is a stage of full inclusion in the evangelical values ​​of religious life, deepening of the relationship with Christ through zealous life, prayer and acquaintance with the spirit and laws of the Congregation.

The novice Sisters live in a specially designated part of the formation house. There they also participate in didactic classes (including lectures on Benedictine spirituality, the history of the Congregation, the Constitutions and the Directory of the Congregation, liturgy, asceticism and mysticism) and perform in silence all kinds of activities for the good of the whole house. They interrupt their silence each day for an hour of recreation or for important celebrations and occasional trips. It is precisely the climate of silence in which they pray and work that they – through the help of the Novice Mistress – can more fully explore the spirituality, history and meaning of the Congregation in their lives, to prepare themselves for the full gift of self in the act of the first profession.

The Novice Mistress who creates a family atmosphere in novitiate nurtures novices in a spirit of mutual trust, honesty and childlike joy. She also strives that they learn to treat the Congregation as their own family.

Juniorate is the time of religious formation between the first and perpetual profession. During this time the junior takes a closer look and participates in the life of the Congregation. The young Missionary Sister of St. Benedict for five years learns to read, to understand and to live the Word of God in everyday life. She glorifies God through prayer and work. As the spiritual daughter of St. Benedict she gets to know Jesus in his mystery of obedience to the Father, who became obedient unto death, and death on the cross (cf. Philippians 2:8). She seeks God in every man especially in the last, the abandoned, the weak, the sick, in the innocently suffering remembering what Jesus said: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mt 25,40).

Junior sisters are directed to different types of work, initially part-time, over time taking on ever greater responsibility. It is also the time when sisters take up college studies, learn languages, complete their education so that being well prepared they may undertake the work in accordance with the charism of the Congregation.

Throughout the junior years every 4 months, the sisters take part in the three-day formation gatherings.  The gatherings are prepared by the Junior Mistress, who is concerned primarily with the spiritual growth of the sisters, the love and respect for the Congregation and creating of mutual bonds.  The three-day gatherings are also an opportunity to express joy and gratitude that we experience our faith in the community.

good-looking-guyWhoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1Peter 4:11)