Describes "active" religious communities - communities whose mission includes ministry in the world, such as social work, health care, or pastoral work. Example: "We are an apostolic community devoted to meeting the needs of poor women and children."
The particular focus and spirit of a religious community. From the Greek word for gift, charismata. Example: "Our charism is to be peacemakers, with Jesus as our model."
Describes certain contemplative communities which have limited access to the outside world.
Members of these religious communities have limited opportunity to leave the monastery, and outsiders have little direct contact with members. Not all contemplative communities are cloistered. Example: "Those who live in cloistered monasteries usually travel very little."
Describes religious communities that focus primarily on prayer, rather than on active ministry. Most contemplative communities follow the Rule of St. Benedict, a set of rules providing structure for a communal life of prayer.
These communities generally pray seven times a day, read Scripture and spiritual works, maintain periods of silence, and perform labor to sustain the community. Example: "Prayer is the center of contemplative life."
The process of praying and reflecting on God's call. Example: "After many months of discernment , I realized God was calling me to be a missionary."
The process of education and spiritual development that takes place during the early months or years of joining a religious community. Those entering the diocesan priesthood are involved in formation during their seminary years. Example: "I read several books of theology during formation ."
A priest or member of the faculty who is primarily concerned with moderating the formation of the seminarian in an "external" way, i.e., how the seminarian develops his spiritual, intellectual, apostolic, and human self within the seminary community.
A man or woman taking part in the initial stage of entering a religious community.
The novice is typically involved in preparation and formation activities including study of the order's charism, history, constitution, and way of living the vows. This period lasts from 12 to 24 months and is called the novitiate. At the end of the novitiate, the novice either leaves or takes temporary vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Example: "I really got to know my community while I was a novice ."
The course of study in the College Division of the Seminary. Philosophy asks the question, "How do we know and reason things?" This provides a good foundation for understanding Theology.
Those times when the seminary withdraws from the regular setting of academics and work to a time of solitude. This provides an atmosphere for more intense spiritual exercises such as prayer, meditation, and self-examination.
A man preparing for the priesthood.
A place of study and training for a man interested in becoming a priest. It is made up of: a College Division, in which the seminarian studies philosophy; Spiritual Year, in which he focuses on his spiritual life; and a Theologate, where the seminarian studies theology and learns how to apply his studies in parish situations.
One who meets periodically with another to counsel and encourage that person to deepen and strengthen his or her relationship with God. Spiritual directors take into account all aspects of life in the process of growing closer to God. Example: "My prayer life has taken on new dimensions since I began meeting with a spiritual director ."
The study of God. It is concerned with the Faith as revealed by God in Scripture and Tradition.
The priest/sister in charge of helping men and women through the initial stages of discernment. They also guide the man or woman through the Application Process into the Seminary or Religious Community.