The Marian Way of Life.
Formation is the process of gradual initiation and instruction in the Marian way of life. The Marians take the time to help a candidate interested in joining the community to discern his call from God.
During his formation period, each Marian candidate receives personal guidance and direction while participating in community life. He is instructed in the history, spirit, and Constitution of the community.
Once a man has completed the stages of vocational discernment and has been accepted, he enters the first stage of formation called Postulancy.
During this period, he is associated more closely with the Marian community, its work, prayer, and community lifestyle. This allows him to become more intimately acquainted with the Marian way of life.
We believe that true knowledge of our community life, charism, and spirituality comes through a study of our history, sharing in our way of life, and personal contact.
The novitiate is the most important stage of formation. During this year, the spiritual foundation is laid, upon which the rest of the novice’s religious life as a Marian will be built.
This is the time when the novice learns what it is like to be a member of the Marian community. The novice follows the ancient monastic tradition of ora et labora — that is, pray and work. He will learn the dynamics of prayer and the contemplative life, study the history of religious life and mysticism in the Church, and learn to reflectively read and pray through the Scriptures. He will study the Marian Constitutions, charism, spirituality, apostolate, and the history of the Congregation. Most importantly, he will study the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in preparation for his temporary profession of these vows at the end of the novitiate year. In addition to prayer and study, the novice works at various manual tasks on a daily basis.
After professing the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, the professed Marian spends at least three years in studies preparing for temporary vows.
The first years of religious profession are called “temporary” because they are professed for a period of one year at a time. At the end of each year, the Marian brother petitions the community to renew his vows for the following year. During this period, the “temporarily professed” works with the formation staff and his spiritual director as he defines his commitment as a Marian and prepares for perpetual vows.
During his formation period, each Marian candidate receives personal guidance and direction while participating in community life and being instructed in the history, spirit, and Constitution of the community. It is toward the end of this formative phase that each man makes his final discernment regarding perpetual vows to serve Christ and the Church.
After no less than three and no more than six years of temporary profession, one may petition to make his perpetual profession of vows. Perpetual profession constitutes one as a full member of the Congregation as a priest or brother. For those studying for the priesthood, perpetual profession is required prior to ordination to the diaconate and priesthood.