Formation ProcessFranciscans of the Immaculate
Religious formation should be in accord with the nature and purpose of the Institute. It should be constant and faithful. It should occupy first place among the things most necessary to the welfare of the Institute and each of its members.
The postulancy is divided into two periods: The, first period is called the aspirancy; the second is the postulancy proper. The aspirancy may last a few months to more than a year depending on the needs of each person.
During the aspirancy, the aspirant begins a period of initial formation in the charism of the Institute and experience of the common life. In North America, the aspirancy is located at Mount Saint Francis near Binghamton, New York.
The aspirant becomes postulant with the “little clothing” according to a rite proper to the Institute. The postulant wears the tunic of the Institute with sandals and bare feet, and with short hair.
The postulancy is always made within a house of formation, and ordinarily lasts a year, but may be shortened (or lengthened) according to the judgement of the superiors.
The novitiate is the year most precious for religious life. It is the year during which the seed of a vocation sinks its roots, so that it may blossom and become a healthy fruit-bearing plant.
The novice is formed in the school of St. Maximilian according, to the “pattern of Minors”, who is St. Francis of Assisi, and in the divine mold, which is the Immaculate, the All-Holy.
At the investiture the candidate’s name can be changed, as suggested by the Master of Postulants, who will take into account the postulant’s preference; The name of the novice will always be preceded by “fra” (friar or brother) and followed by “Maria”. Also, a new and sacred surname is taken at investiture.
The program of study during the year of novitiate concentrates on the charism of the Institute, along with studies in Holy Scripture, Mariology, Franciscan and Kolbean spirituality, Franciscan history, liturgy and sacred Chant, attentive always to the documents of the Magisterium.
Temporary profession of vows is made for one year and is renewed each annually until perpetual profession.
The years of temporary profession are the period of interior development for every friar in living his consecration to God always more fully and more deeply, looking to the Immaculate and imitating Her so that he may live an evangelical life “pure, holy and immaculate”.’
The formation of the temporarily professed is fundamentally directed to the growth of their spiritual life, to their doctrinal preparation, and the conduct of the work (inside or outside, pastoral or technical) in which they are to engage.
For the solemnly professed their formation consists in continuing education to aid them in a constant deepening of their consecration and of their mission in the Church.
The program of formation requires in particular that the Friars deeply grasp the teaching and spirituality of St. Maximilian so as to understand always better the mystery of the Immaculate and to promote the truth of Her universal mediation.
For those Friars called to the Priesthood, the primary preoccupation should always be the spiritual preparation, above all for Holy Orders which require in the candidate an interior maturity and sense of responsibility in undertaking commitments of service for the salvation of souls, in “the upbuilding of the Body of Christ” (Eph 4:12).