Become a Brother
The 6 Stages of the Formation Process
The goal of a formation process is to enable an individual to deepen his understanding of the vocation and his commitment to that vocation. In the United States, there are generally four initial stages to this process. Click on each step listed below to see more details.
|Step 1: Contact
||Step 2: Aspirant
||Step 3: Postulant
||Step 4: Novitiate
||Step 5: Temporary Profession
||Step 6: Final Vows
If you would like to explore religious life as a Brother, you will need to contact a Vocation Director. The initial stage of discernment is as a “Contact.” These are men of college age or beyond who are open to prayer, conversations and experiences that will clarify the desire to enter into a residency program with the Brothers. As a Contact, you meet regularly with a Brother for a period of time, and every year your ongoing participation is discerned with you. Through the development of your prayer life and by participation in short term experiences with the Brothers in community and educational settings, you will gain an understanding of how God may be calling you to deepen your relationship with the Brothers. There are occasional activities with the Brothers or with a Brothers’ community, and you will be expected to participat in an annual retreat. There might also be summer opportunities in which you join a group of other Contacts in working at a summer school at one of our institutions in the United States.
A Contact becomes an Aspirant by expressing a desire to enter the Postulancy and moving towards the practical steps of doing so.
The Postulancy is a period of time to prepare for the Novitiate. Such preparation includes living in a Regional Postulancy Community with other Postulants and with Brothers, learning to integrate faith, service and community. Theological studies and/or other degree work may be part of that experience. You will develop an active personal, communal and liturgical prayer life, study the Catholic faith, scripture, and the life and vision of St. John Baptist de La Salle, and participate in local Lasallian ministries. Depending on your specific situation and background, further communal experiences while teaching full time may be part of the Postulancy period. At least annually, you will discern your call to the Brothers’ life and determine if you are ready for the next stage of formation, the Novitiate.
The Novitiate year is the formal year of preparation for the vocation of a Brother. During the novitiate year, held at the Regional novitiate, there are specific classes and activities that develop your life of faith, your understanding of religious life and the Brothers, and your experience of community. You will continue with the studies begun in the Postulancy program, but with a view towards an in-depth initiation into the religious life of a Brother. In the novitiate’s communal context, you will primarily grow in your personal relationship with God. Opportunities for input, discussion and reflection will help you to integrate your understanding and experience of the Brothers’ vowed life of poverty, chastity, obedience, stability in community and service of the poor through education. You will come to discern your call to profess annual vows at the end of the year, publicly acknowledging your commitment to a relationship with God as expressed through service and community in a specific educational ministry as a De La Salle Christian Brother.
Throughout this period you will be living in a community while serving in an educational ministry. During the years of temporary profession, you will pronounce annual vows and experience at least two different communities and educational ministries of the Brothers. You might pursue additional studies in the evenings and/or during the summer. In support of one another the Brothers in temporary profession gather at least once a semester to share the successes and challenges of their lives as new Brothers. After at least three years in a community and apostolic ministry, you may request perpetual vows if you are 25 years of age or older, have professed annual vows for five years and have attended a pre-profession retreat.
Profession of Final Vows signals the end of initial formation. This public statement in the presence of God, the Brothers and the Church in general tells all who will listen of your desire to continue your participation in educational work and community life style of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Emboldened by ongoing professional and religious studies, entrusted with responsibilities in community and ministry, and enabled through the support of annual retreats, you will strive to integrate the elements of faith, service, and community in your call as a Brother.
The formation process is a structured means of deepening one’s vocation to the consecrated life of a Brother. It is an extension of the discernment process. It has a variety of steps and dimensions, some of which are different depending on which part of the country you live.
Each province in the United States has slightly different formation programs.
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