Formation Steps

Is Life as a Marianist Right for You?

This would be the most important decision of your life. That’s why the Marianists have a structured, five-step process to help you determine whether this is the right choice for you.

You will never feel forced or coerced at any stage of formation. You and the Marianists must choose each other freely.

At its heart, Marianist formation is a warm, open conversation between you and our community. We invite you to begin.

1. Contact

Time: Varies

What happens: Becoming a contact is the first formal step in exploring the life of a Marianist brother. It typically begins with a conversation with a Marianist brother, priest or sister. You would then submit a simple application to the national vocation office.

Ideally, you would connect regularly with a Marianist priest or brother and a local Marianist community so that you can attend Mass, prayer, meals and meetings with us. You would have the opportunity for live-in experiences, discernment groups and retreats.

You would get to know Marianist life better and get the answers to your questions. At the same time, members of the Society of Mary come to know you so that we can help you discern your calling to Marianist life.

 

2. Aspirant

Time: 10 months

What happens: If your experience as a contact makes you want to connect more deeply with Marianist life, you may pursue aspirancy. This requires an application to the national vocation director and Province leadership.

If your application for aspirancy is approved, you would spend 10 months living with a Marianist community in San Antonio. During this time, you would do part-time ministry in a school, parish or other program, and you would receive a small living stipend. You would be an active participant in community life, reading and learning more about the Society, and meeting regularly with a mentor.

3. Novice

Time: 20 months

What happens: If you and the Marianists agree, you may become a novice. The novitiate is divided into two years, most of which takes place at Mount Saint John in Dayton, Ohio. During the first year, your formation would focus on intellectual and spiritual growth. You would take classes in the history and theology of religious life, and life as a Marianist in particular.

You would spend the first four months of the second year in active ministry while living in another community. You would then return to Mount Saint John for a final time of discernment. Throughout your time as a novice, you would complete self-evaluations, and your community members and novice director would evaluate you as well.

4. Temporary Professed

Time: Three to six years

What happens: After you’ve completed the novitiate program, you may profess first vows. These are called temporary vows and would be renewed each year for at least three years. During this time of continued formation, you will live and minister in community. You may continue academic studies in your chosen field as well as in theology, and you will have the chance to gather periodically with other temporary-professed brothers and sisters. Typically you would change communities every two years to gain a broader experience of the Province.

During the years of your temporary profession, you would come to understand more fully what it means to live and serve as a Marianist brother.

After at least three years, you may request to make your profession of perpetual vows. A Marianist understands these vows as a permanent commitment to assisting Mary in her mission of bringing Christ to the world.

5. Perpetually Professed

Formation never really ends for a Marianist; it is a life-long process of spiritual renewal, personal growth and committed service.

A perpetually professed brother may request the opportunity to pursue ordained ministry as a Marianist priest. This would involve Province-wide consultation and the approval of Province superiors.

Read the vocation story of Bro. Frank Damm, who recently celebrated his 60th anniversary as a Marianist!

 

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Please contact Brother Tom Wendorf, SM, at twendorf@sm-usa.org.