The Formation Programme

As each candidate for formation is unique so the Formation Programme adapts itself, where necessary, to the individual needs of each candidate. But there are some essential elements:


  1. Living in Spiritan community. Candidates begin their formation by studying Philosophy for two years.  Voluntary work should be part of that two-year experience. If a candidate has already studied Philosophy, then it might be possible to pursue a course of studies in Theology and Pastoral Ministry."

  2. There will be a period that we call the novitiate. This is twelve months of spiritual preparation where the candidate is introduced to the life and prayer of the Congregation. It is an intense spiritual experience under the guidance of an experienced Spiritan priest. This one-year phase is done in an international setting usually in our house outside Paris. At the end of the novitiate, if the candidate wishes and the Congregation accepts, he may make his first formal commitment to the Spiritan family by the profession, for three years, of the vows of, poverty, chastity and obedience.

  3. We are a missionary congregation and so we would expect our candidates to live a prolonged experience of transcultural mission in one of our communities in Africa, South America or Asia. This ‘Pastoral Experience Programme’ (PEP) normally lasts two years. The candidate receives training in preparation and on his return will be engaged in serious reflection on this first missionary experience.

  4. The formation programme ends with training in theology and pastoral ministry – normally at university level. At the end of the formation programme the candidate, if he so desires and with the approval of the Congregation, may commit himself for life to being a Spiritan Missionary. During formation, the candidate will be living the Spiritan life of prayer, mission and study; would be expected to learn another language used in the Congregation (English, French or Portuguese) and would live the common life with brothers. This common life is the lived expression of the religious vows which are at the heart of our community life. These vows are first taken after the novitiate and are taken for life at the end of the formation process.


The Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience

Contrary to what one might think, these vows allow us to live freer lives. In poverty we give up the search for material gain to live like Christ at the service of others. We live our chastity in the single state as a God-given gift that enables us to be available for whatever the Holy Spirit would have us do to serve the Kingdom. (Spiritan Rule of Life N° 60). Through obedience we engage ourselves in a prayerful dialogue of how we can best serve the mission of the Gospel so that we can use our gifts and talents to contribute to building up the Kingdom of God.