The Jesuit Candidacy Programme is a period of spiritual direction and vocational guidance. It is intended for a young man who is seriously considering the Society of Jesus as one of several vocational choices. It is also for a person who strongly believes that God might be calling him to be a Jesuit, but is not yet certain. Lastly, it is for a person, who has decided in his heart that he is called to be a Jesuit, but needs or wishes more experience and growth before taking such a step. This stage does not imply a commitment to enter the Society of Jesus, but rather provides an opportunity for vocational discernment.
During this period, the candidate will familiarise himself with Jesuits, their works and as well their way of life.
We are often asked about an age limit for admission of candidates. It is not easy to set such a limit since this depends on concrete cultural situations and on the maturity of each individual. A former Father General commented that, "generally speaking, the older the candidate, the more difficult it will be for him to accomplish the appropriate ‘disconnection’ and to make his own the values of religious life and of our Jesuit charism.” In Africa, most of our candidates are in their twenties, though in some parts of the world they are frequently somewhat older.
As for academic requirements, the Society asks that the candidates have satisfactorily finished pre-university studies, 2 A levels as a minimum, and that they show a capacity for the intellectual formation demanded by our charism and way of proceeding.
The candidates’ programme of the Zimbabwe Jesuit Province is administered by the Vocations Director who admits candidates into the programe and remains in communication with them. During the time that an individual is recognized as a Jesuit candidate, he will live at home and continue his studies at school or college or his regular employment. From time to time the Vocations Director will invite groups of candidates to come together for weekend meetings or retreats. It may also be that individual candidates will be in regular contact with a Jesuit community in their neighbourhood.
At the appropriate time, candidates will be invited for a series of interviews to assess their suitability to be accepted as novices of the Zimbabwe Jesuit Province.
Applicants to the Society of Jesus in Zimbabwe may contact:
The Vocations Director
Jesuit Province of Zimbabwe,
P O Box MP620
Tel. 0773 587 026
The Formation Delegate
Jesuit Province of Zimbabwe
52 Mount Pleasant Drive
P O Box MP610
Tel. 0773 069 305 / 0734 177 432
General Congregation 34
Complementary Norms of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus
25. For the probation to fulfill its purpose, the candidates must have adequate human maturity and proper preparation.
To achieve this, various arrangements can be made to place them under the guidance of chosen priests and brothers, who might help them to mature in their vocation, while they engage in studies and apostolic experiences, preparing themselves to enter the novitiate.
Where the need is felt, special programmes should be arranged for those who will become brothers but are not sufficiently prepared for it.
During this time a certain amount of information on the Society of Jesus will be made available, through conversations, readings in history, and even a sampling of the main documents, both classical and modern.
26. There must be a carefully conducted personal interview to ascertain the candidate's life, qualities and aptitude for the Society of Jesus, his motivation, any mental of physical defects, and the impediments or deterrents that might exist, with serious attention to the directives of the Examen and the Constitutions as adapted to our times.
Other suitable means should be employed so that the Society of Jesus may know the men thoroughly. Unless this has already been achieved through earlier contacts, information could be sought with regard to health, character, religious formation and practice, temperament, talent, studies undertaken and results obtained, the family's situation and position in society. Where necessary for a more complete picture, a psychological report should be secured, strictly safeguarding the confidentiality of the consultation, the candidate's freedom and the norms established by the Church.
To this same end, candidates may be invited to spend some time in one of our communities suited to that purpose.
Introductory paragraphs to the
(approved by Pope Julius III on 21 July 1550)
1. Whosoever would enlist in the cause of God beneath the standard of the Cross, to serve the Lord alone and his bride the Church under the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth, and wishes to do this in our Society, which we want to be distinguished by the name of Jesus, will make a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience.
He must take to heart that he now becomes a member of a Society founded chiefly to engage in the defence and propagation of the faith, and the promotion of Christian life and principles, through public sermons and lectures, as well as any other ministry of the world of God, and the Spiritual Exercises, and catechetical instruction of children and uneducated adults, and assistance to the faithful by hearing confessions and celebrating the sacraments.
He may also be usefully employed in peacefully resolving conflicts, in reaching out with sympathetic support to those who languish in jails and hospices, or by taking up any work that love inspires as being for God's glory and the good of all; everything being done quite free of charge with no thought of profit through such activities.
He will make it his concern ever to keep his gaze fixed on God first of all, and then on the design of this our Institute, which traces a path to Him; and to strive with all his might to attain the goal that God himself has set, in the measure of the grace that the Spirit bestows on each, and in the category determined by his specific vocation…
Zimbabwean and East African Novices making their vows at the end of the novitiate– These young Jesuits (now known as 'scholastics') are currently studying at Chenai, India
This stage of formation focuses primarily on helping the novice to come to a deeper knowledge of God, of himself, and of the Society of Jesus. This is achieved through a number of different activities that constitute the highly structured daily timetable of the novitiate.
These include about two hours of individual and community prayer each day, as well as a weekly session of individual spiritual direction and helpful personal advice from the Novice Master.
The novice also learns, from the Novice Master, his assistant, and visiting teachers, about the history of the Society of Jesus, Scripture, important Jesuit and Church documents and decrees, and any other topics related to Jesuit life and work.
There is also time for reading about the history of the Society of Jesus, the lives of Jesuit and other saints of the Church, and other inspirational characters who have made an impact on the Church and the world.
Then there is time for mental relaxation through sports and working in the garden.
Central to the novitiate experience is the month-long retreat that each novice undergoes. This is a very special, silent retreat lasting 30 days, and split into four sections, with a day of rest and relaxation between each section.
During this retreat, the novice experiences the full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. As a fruit of his own conversion experience, St Ignatius developed a series of topics for meditation, contemplation and reflection. All these topics are based on Scripture, especially the gospel story of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But in the midst of these are some very challenging special meditations, where Ignatius asks the individual to use his imagination, and to see and hear Jesus speaking personally to him.
During this retreat, the novice is invited to make his own the fundamental dynamic of St. Ignatius’ own conversion, and experience himself as unconditionally loved by God our Father, yet also a sinner, forgiven, and now called to be with Christ on mission. In the process of this retreat, and subequent novitiate experiences, the novice is tasked make use of St Ignatius' rules for the Discernment of Spirits, and so discover whether he is being called to become a Companion of Jesus in the Jesuit way of life.
(Novice during his hospital experience)
Two other important processes which happen during the two year novitiate, are when the novice is sent out for a month to experience life serving God's people. This may be a period of working in a hospital, or a home for the handicapped, or with the poor, with refugees, with the elderly, or some other context which will help the novice to discern whether the Jesuit way of life is really God's call for him.
At the end of these two years, should the novice be judged by the Novice Master as suitable to continue on the path of Jesuit formation, he is invited to profess simple perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Society of Jesus.
Presentation of Jesuit Constitutions by the Provinical during the vow ceremony
(these three from the West Africa Province made their vows at Arrupe College, Harare)
Profile of the Jesuit Novice at the end of the Novitiate
(by Fr General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ,)
“At the end of two years it can be expected that the novices will have acquired an initial, but tested and authentic, co-nnaturality with our way of proceeding.
"Love for the person of Jesus is the central, all-embracing aspect of our Jesuit life.
"These are some key indicators of the Society of Jesus' charism, which will show whether the novice has begun to adopt it as his own.
"These attitudes presuppose that the novices will have acquired sufficient self-knowledge and inner freedom, to allow them to make a definitive decision for God and the Society of Jesus, vouched for by the Novice Director.
"An unmistakable sign of the requisite freedom is the transparency with which they manifest their personal experience to the Novice Director and share it, to some extent, with their companions.
"What is required is an absolute clarity, a transparent loyalty, shaping every attitude, guiding every relationship with brother Jesuits or with superiors. This is what begets genuine mutual confidence, the indispensable foundation of Jesuit life for all, but especially for the novices.
"This confidence and transparency are essential if we are to reach an inner certitude that the path of the Society of Jesus is the will of God, because ‘the greater the clarity, the more stable will each one be in his vocation, and the better will the Society of Jesus be able to discern whether one should stay on for the greater glory and praise of God our Lord.’
"It is obvious that those who have not shown to have made progress in this transparency, and are not likely to grow in it after the novitiate, cannot be allowed to make their vows.
"Already in these first years of formation the novices can be expected to begin acquiring what can be called ‘Jesuit culture’, that is, a combination of knowledge, thought and behaviour which is part of our way of proceeding. To this end they will have to know the history of the Society [especially that of their own province or region] and the lives of our prominent Saints and Blessed, especially that of St Ignatius.
"Some of the values and attitudes which constitute this ‘Jesuit style or culture’, to be inculcated from the novitiate are:
[Fr General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ, The Formation of Jesuits, General Curia of the Society of Jesus, Rome, 2003, pp. 25-27]
(Zimbabwean Jesuits immediately after after the vow ceremony in Lusaka, with Fr Provincial)
At the end of the two-year novitiate programme, those novices who are accepted by the Provincial into the Society profess simple perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and then return to Zimbabwe to move on to the next stage of their formation – normally the study of philosophy and humanities at Arrupe College in Harare.
Complementary Norms of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus
44. The noviceship is for formation as well as probation, a time when the grace of vocation must be cultivated and bear its first fruits.
45. The apostolate must be the guiding principle in the formation of our men; so their entire training right from the noviceship should be understood and realised as a process of gradual integration into the apostolic body of the Society of Jesus, as apprenticeship for mission.
(Novice teaching hearing impaired children)
46. Vocation must be tested through various experiences, which are conceived by St Ignatius as the distinctive feature of the noviceship. They should place the novices in situations where their true self is revealed, as well as their capacity to assimilate the spiritual traits of our vocation.
In the formation of novices, the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius play the leading role, for they are the chief and basic item in the experiences. They must be well prepared, then made at the most suitable time, and presented with the full impact of their interior dynamism.
47. In the apostolic context of the Exercises, novices must learn how to be at home with God when praying; the daily devotional practices should aim at growth in personal love for Christ, at ease in finding God everywhere and resting in him always. They also need help to appreciate the complementarity of the various means proposed to them in the Constitutions, such as the examen, methods of prayer, meditation, reading.
48. All the novices hould be led deeper into the Mystery of Christ, and acquaintance with the sources of the Society of Jesus' spiritual tradition and manner of life, which are most evident in its history and the example of our saints.
From the very beginning, all must be taught about the religious and apostolic character of our one vocation, and the alternative ways of sharing in the one and only mission of the Society of Jesus, according to each one's call to be a priest or brother.
49. A selfless attitude will find ready expression in the quiet and unassuming acceptance of the demands of daily life ….. The novices must also learn the principles and practice of disciplined and simple living.
50. The experience of community should build up a fraternal spirit, and foster the affective maturing of the novices.
51. Human qualities must be assiduously cultivated, for they can render our apostolate more fruitful and our religious life more satisfying; such are a kindly disposition, openness, strength of character and firmness of purpose, an abiding concern for justice, sympathy and respect towards those of other faiths, politeness, and the like.
52. Novices should be encouraged, with delicate sensitivity, to assume responsibilities, so as to facilitate their growth in spiritual maturity and a sense of freedom in their vocation.
(In this website we use the term 'experiences', rather than 'experiments' as found in official Jesuit documents. Equally, we specify 'the Society of Jesus' rather than 'the Society'. This is in an effort to make the story more accessible to those unfamiliar with 500 year old Jesuit terminology)
For what St Ignatius wrote about these experiences or experiments
see the next page
– to be proposed to all who seek admission
into the Society of Jesus –
(written by St Ignatius in 1556)
64. … He must undergo six main experiments, besides many others indicated below…
65. The first is to go through the Spiritual Exercises for about a month: that is, to examine one's conscience, review one's life, make a general confession, reflect on ones sinfulness; then to contemplate the scenes and mysteries of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ our Lord; and to pray vocally and mentally according to one's capacity and divine guidance.
66. The second is to serve for another month in one or more hospices, eating and sleeping there or spending some hours daily … assisting and serving all, ailing or healthy, as may be required. This is in order to progress in humility, and to give proof of a total rejection of worldly pomp and vanity, so as to be entirely available to the Creator and lord, who for us was crucified.
67. The third is to spend a month on pilgrimage, without money, and even begging occasionally from door to door for the love of Christ, so as to be inured to inadequacies of bed and board. In this way all reliance on money or other human resources is abandoned, and hope is placed entirely in the Creator and Lord, with lively faith and ardent love…
68. The fourth is that, on returning home one is fully engaged in lowly domestic chores, performing each with exemplary dedication.
(Novice teaching hearing impaired children)
69. The fifth is to beach the whole or part of Christian doctrine to young people or uneducated adults, in public or private, as the opportunity occurs and may seem best in the Lord, taking account of personal ability.
70. The sixth is that, after giving proof of exemplary behavior, on proceeds to preach … according to circumstances of time, place and people's dispositions.
81. Everyone should fully accept that his bed, board and wardrobe will be those of a poor man; and each must expect the worst available, as a means to greater self-denial and spiritual growth, and to arrive at some common measure for all: since the founder members experienced such deprivation and even harsher material straits, those who follow in their footsteps should try their very best to emulate and even surpass them.
101. Moreover, the candidates should verry seriously take to heart the supreme importance in the sight of our Creator and lord, and the incalculable value for our spiritual progress, of rejecting totally and without reserve whatever the worldly so fondly cling to, and of eagerly reaching out for whatever Christ our Lord lovingly embraced. For, as the earthly-minded who are infatuated with what this life has to offer, chase after honours, fame, and an impressive reputation here below, submitting to the dictates of fashion, so those who are progressing in spirit and treading firmly in the footsteps of Christ, are enamored of the very opposite, wanting by all means to don the livery of their cherished and respected Lord. They would in fact wish to be insulted, calumniated or otherwise wronged, and reckoned as fools – if this could happen without offence to the divine Majesty or someone's sin, and they themselves gave no provocation – in order to resemble Jesus Christ our Lord, being clad in his garb; for he himself wore it for our spiritual benefit, and gave us an example so that we might be drawn by his divine grace to imitate and follow him as far as can stretch ourselves, for he is the true way that leads us to life.
So they should be asked whether they experience such desires, which are so conducive to their spiritual health and progress.
102. If, because of our pitiful human weakness, anyone did not feel such an ardent desire in the Lord, he should be asked whether ha has at least desire to feel this desire. If he answers in the affirmative, that he does indeed want so holy a desire, he should be further asked wither, as a help to its attainment, he is ready and willing to bear patiently with God's grace, any attack, ridicule or scorn associated with the service of Christ, or any other offense inflicted on him by anyone of his community or the Society … or by anybody else in the world; not rendering evil for evil, but good for evil.
103. The better to arrive at this level of maturity, so precious in the spiritual life, his main concern and chief effort should be to strive in the Lord for growth in self-denial and relentless mortification in all things possible. Our part will be to help him in this quest, according to the grace the Lord grants us, for his greater praise and glory.
Arrupe College, Harare
Jesuit School of Philosophy & Humanities
General Congregation 32 tells us:
"Our studies should frostier and stimulate those qualities which today are often suffocated by our contemporary style of living and thinking. These studies should promote a spirit of reflection and an awareness of the deeper, transcendent values.
"The Society of Jesus expects for its scholastics the kind of long term philosophical training which is in touch with the radical problems of human existence, and which is a mature reflection on the different intellectual traditions of mankind. This training should be such that it can be integrated with subsequent theological reflection.
"The number of points of contact between philosophy and other fields of learning, with contemporary problems and with the present and future lives of students, ought to be pointed out. Because of today's diversity of cultures, sciences, ideologies, and social movements, Jesuits ought to be people who possess balance and depth in their thinking, and who can communicate their own convictions regarding meaning and values.
"Those studies should be fostered that readily help our young men to attain a harmonious, balanced human and religious maturity. Such studies lead not only to a living knowledge of man and his modern worked, but also suited to expressing ourselves to the people of our times.
"Our formation must be such that the Jesuit can be one with the people to whom he is sent, and capable of communicating with them. He must be able to share their convictions and values, their history, their experience and aspirations. At the same time, he must be open to the convictions and values of other peoples, traditions and cultures. Hence training in the sciences, in languages, in literature, in the classic liberal arts, in modern media of communication and in the cultural traditions of the nation must be undertaken with great care."
"A solid education should be fostered in literature, the arts, sciences, history, and the various aspects of the culture of the region where the apostolate will be carried on. The study of modern means of soial communication shouid also be encouraged. In order to make our apostolic service more effective, an academic degree should be required as the usual means to evaluate our eduction in these fields.
Besides their own language, our young men should learn one or other of the more common modern languages, which will facilitate communication with other cultures and with the universal Society.
General Congregation 34 tells us:
"Where pietism and fundamentalism join forces to disparage human abilities, human reason will be ignored or held of little account. Contrarywise, especially in countries where secularism holds sway, or which have recently emerged from Marxist atheist, some seem to regard faith as little more than a superstition which will gradually disappear in the face of ever more rapid human progress.
"But freedom and the ability to reason are attributes which characterize human beings as created in the likeness of God, and are closely tied to genuine faith. Therefore an intellectual tradition continues to be of critical importance for the Church's vitality, as well as for the understanding of cultures which deeply affect each person's way of thinking and living.
"For this reason, GC34 encourages a vigorous spiritual and intellectual formation of young Jesuits, and ongoing spiritual and intellectual formation for every Jesuit.
"There can be no substitute for individual, painstaking and, quite frequently, solitary work. Such capacity is indispensable if we wish to integrate the promotion of justice with the proclamation of faith, and if we hope to be effective in our work for peace, in our concern to protect life and the environment, in our defence of the rights of individuals and of entire peoples.
"Serious and active intellectual enquiry must also characterise our commitment to integral evangelisation. This assumes a basic knowledge of the economic, social and political structures in which our contemporaries are immersed.
"Such intellectual enquiry cannot be ignorant of the development of traditional and modern cultures, or of the effects of the emerging culture of communication. For evangelisation to be effective, accuracy in knowledge, critical analysis, and respect for the other are all imperative."
Areas of study covered at Arrupe College include:
Currently there are 90 young Jesuits studying at Arrupe College from Burundi, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, DR Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
“The service of faith requires the contribution of philosophical discussion. This is an indispensable instrument for taking up the challenge of a world where one confronts the loss of a sense of transcendence, the pretensions of totalitarian ideologies, or the reduction of religious values to meaninglessness.”
Studies in philosophy are important for the mission of Jesuits. After completing the two year Novitiate, the Jesuit embarks on philosophical studies, where he acquires the ability to integrate the diverse approaches proposed for different problems. In this context, philosophy offers itself as a means for understanding the nature and worth of aspirations for a new social and international order.
The problems of justice, human rights, dialogue between religions and cultures, and new ethical questions which loom up in a changing world, are so many challenges to human thought. The young Jesuit must investigate these questions until a union is achieved between the ultimate meaning of life and the foundations of existence in society and history.
At the end of his philosophical studies, the Jesuit will manifest balance and breadth of view in his thinking, a person who can communicate his own convictions regarding meaning and values.
This stage of formation normally takes place at Arrupe College in Harare, on the form of a BA Honours in Philosophy and Humanities, a four-year degree programme.
PROFILES of Zimbabwe Province Jesuits studying at Arrupe College and Loyola College, Chenai, India.
Written by Administrator Thursday, 30 September 2010 12:52
Regents from Zimbabwe and Zambia Province meeting at St Ignatius College
Regency normally follows on from philosophy and is the stage of formation where the young Jesuit gets his first opportunity to engage in full-time active ministry. In the Zimbabwe province regents are usually assigned to teaching regencies at one of several Jesuit, or Jesuit-run schools in the country. While a teaching regency is the norm, there is the possibility to work in apostolates other than education, such as the social or media apostolate.
Admire Nhika, currently studying theology in Cote d'Ivoire,
teaching at St Peter's Mbare High School during his Regency
Clyde Muropa on Regency in Guyana, South America.
Fr Clyde was ordained priest in 2012, and is currently Students' Chaplain based in Harare.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 19:06
After Regency, most Zimbabwe Province Jesuits move to Hekima College in Nairobi for theological studies.
General Congregation 32 tells us:
"Since our mission today is the proclamation of our faith in Jesus Christ, which itself involves the promotion of justice, our studies must be directed towards this mission, and derive their motivation from it. In a world where faith is fostered only with great difficulty, and in which justice is so broadly violated, our wish is to help others arrive at a knowledge and love of God, and a truly fraternal love of people, to help them lead lives according to the Good News of Christ, and to renew the structures of human society in justice.
"Ministers of the Word of God can bring such help to others, only if they have themselves acquired a profound vision of reality, from personal reflection on the experience of people in the world, and on their transcendent finality in God. They must make their own God's revelation of himself in Jesus Christ, as it is contained in Sacred Scripture, and as it is expressed in the life of the Church and the teaching of the Magisterium. Such personal and accurate assimilation cannot be obtained without continued discipline and the labour of tireless and patient study.
"Theological training should be well integrated, sufficiently systematic, adapted to the exigencies of our mission, and conducted according to the norms of the Church. The whole of this training supposes above all a personal experience of the faith which myst be developed and explained by a knowledge of Sacred Scripture, Christian Doctrine, and Moral Theology.
"Students should be encouraged to establish a critical dialogye between theology and human culture, between faith and the real questions and problems which occupy the minds of the people among whom we exercise our apostolate. This reflection cannot be effective today, except through an integration of the jhuman sciences with philosophy and theology.
"In the whole course of formation, especially during philosophical and theological studies, a deep and authentic involvement with the local culture should be fostered. Yet care should also be taken to promote unity of minds and hearts in the Society of Jesus. To foster this union, all the young members of the Society of Jesus must cultivate Ignatian spirituality, and be taught a theology which is grounded in the tradition and official teaching of the Church, though adapted to the needs of the times and of local cultures."
General Congregation 34 on Theological Reflection
"Among the ways of being engaged in the intellectual apostolate in the service of the Kingdom of God, theological research and reflection has a special place, and merits specific mention. Father `pedro Arrupe named theologyical reflection as one of the four priority apostolates of the Society of Jesus.
"Among the urgent contemporary issues needing theological reflection, he listed humanism, freedom, mass culture, economic development, and violence. General Congregation 32 also called for a social analysis of the structural causes of contemporary injustices, and for Ignatian discernment regarding the appropriate apostolic response to these injustices. GC34 reconfirms the need for this theological reflection and, to the issues it must address, adds the contemporary understanding of the promotion of justice, including inculturation and inter-religious dialogue.
"Theological reflection, social analysis, and discernment are phases of the process whcih Pope John XXIII and Vatican II called 'reading the signs of the times': the effort to discern the presence and activity of God in the events of contemporary history, in order to decide what to do as servants of the Word. This will bring the perennial sources of Catholic theology to bear upon the lived experiences of the members of the Church, especially their experiences of poverty and oppression. Reading the signs of the times relates Catholic theology to secular disciplines, especially philosophy and the social and natural sceinces, in order to discern, illuminate, and interpret the opportunities and problems of contemporary life.
"When theological reflection is undertaken with the seriousness of research and the creativity of imagination, withiin the broad spectrum of Catholic theology and in the midst of the varied circumstances in which Jesuits live and work, then it can give rise to specific theologies, which incarnate the gospel message. Theological research and reflection in the service of the Gospel can thus help to respond to the booadest questions of the juman mind, and the deepest yearnings of the human heart."
Basic Theology Course:
Zimbabwean scholastics usually study theology at Hekima college in Nairobi, Kenya, though other Jesuit colleges both within Africa and abroad are also considered as possible destinations for this stage of formation.
Hekima College, Nairobi
Currently two, Admire Rufaro Nhika and Tafadzwa Masakare are studying at the Institut de Théologie de la Compagie de Jésus (ITCJ), in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
Institut de Théologie de la Compagie de Jésus, Abidjan
Another two, Batanai Ignatius Padya and Isaac-El Fernandes are studying at Centre Sevres in Paris.
Centre Sevres, Paris
Courage Bakasa is starting theology studies in 2012 at Heythrop College in London.
PROFILES Zimbabwe Province Jesuits currently studying theology
This stage of formation comes usually several years after ordination, or in the case of brothers, after several years of apostolic work as young brothers.
The name “Tertianship” comes from the Greek word for the number three, for this stage is considered to be the third year of the novitiate.
Having gone the full cycle of studies (Novitiate, Philosophy, Regency, Theology) and then a few years of apostolic work, Tertianship gives the young Jesuit the opportunity to re-immerse himself in the spirituality of St Ignatius.
This includes experiencing, for the second time, the thirty day retreat of the Spiritual Exercises, studying the Jesuit Constitutions and recent General Congregations. After the retreat, Tertians then go for insertion experiences, often to live among the poor and marginalised, similar to those made in the Novitiate.
Frs Chiedza Chimhanda and Anesu Manyere SJ
Arrupe College chapel, October 2011
During this time he has been living under the 'Simple' vows made at the end of the Novitiate. The final vows he now takes are Solemn vows; the main practical difference being that Simple Vows are relatively easy to be dispensed from when a young Jesuit finds that he is not in the right place, and wishes to leave the Society of Jesus.
This is a vow to go anywhere the Pope will order, 'whether among the faithful or the infidels, without pleading an excuse, and without requesting any expenses for the journey, for the sake of matters pertaining to the worship of God and the welfare of the Christian religion' (Constitutions 1:8).
before Zimbabwe Provincial Stephen Buckland, October 2011
However the Jesuit is always learning;
so formation remains a lifelong process
of continual conversion and growth in the Spirit.
Especially in our times, when everything is subject to such rapid change and evolution, and when new questions and new knowledge are constantly developing, our apostolates demand of us a process of permanent and continuing formation. Thus formation is never ended, and our 'first' formation must be seen as the beginning of this continuing process.
Continuing formation is achieved especially through a constant evaluation of, and reflection on, one's apostolate, iin the light of faith, and with the help of one's apostolic community. It also needs the cooperation of our porfessors and experts, whose theorry can shed light on our praxis, even wheile they themselves are led to more profound reflection by the apostolic experience of their fellow Jesuits. This kind of communication will also assist the integration of the young iinto the apostolic life of the province, and the contact between formation and the apostolate will profit the whole Society.
This continuing formation demands that definite periods of time be given to formal courses, or simply to private study, as required for one's apostolate.
“Continuing formation and apostolic discernment constitute the ‘twin pillars’ of the Society’s spiritual and apostolic renewal." This was Fr General Pedro Arrupe’s deeply held conviction, which he expressed on repeated occasions. He urged individual Jesuits and the whole Society of Jesus constantly to get fit to respond to the requirements of mission and challenges in today’s world.
He stressed that God wants us to be his effective instruments to respond to the fast and profound changes taking place in the world. Such changes ‘oblige us to reflect as much on the world as on ourselves, so as to know how we can change ourselves and update our knowledge, our attitudes and our apostolic methods … in order to rise up to our vocation’.
Fr Arrupe believed that, 'More than theoretical, academic or practical improvement, something like an intellectual or professional recycling is wanted – something much deeper and extensive. Since ongoing formation is rooted deep down in the spirit, it seeks to adapt itself in every possible way to the environment, and to foresee the future itself’.
Seen in this way, formation never ends. It involves all the dimensions and stages of growth of the person. It gives priority to life in the Spirit, as the means of structuring and giving life to the rest of our activities.
General Congregation 32 distinguishes two stages of Jesuit formation. There is the initial stage which ‘begins in the Novitiate’, and normally ends with Tertianship; then there is the ‘continuing or permanent’ process of ongoing formation.
This ongoing formation is not a remedy to make up for possible deficiencies in the initial formation, nor is it its complement, crowing, or adaptation. On the contrary, ‘Our first formation must be geared to continuing formation’. Our initial formation, from the Noviciate up to the Tertianship and final vows, prepares us for a life of permanent formation. These first stage has a relative autonomy and its own requirements, because it is a stage of probation and a period of initiation into religious life.
Initial formation is the first stage of a life of continuing formation. It must foster intellectual curiosity, and help to acquire attitudes and skills that enhance our apostolic discernment, and our ability to constantly adapt to the changes we experience in ourselves, as well as in the world we seek to serve, our own interior growth keeping up with such changes.
Written by Administrator Monday, 27 February 2012 17:59
Last Updated on Sunday, 08 July 2012 20:02