Religious formation is a dying to oneself and a rebirth into a new and unique personality whereby one responds to God’s call and the style of life, He has planned for her. God therefore forms, moulds and fashions individuals according to the manner He has in His mind. Formation is a life-long process by which the candidate realizes her identity as a missionary according to the spirit of Little Flower who is her model and inspirer.
The preservation of the spirit of the congregation and the efficacy of its service depends on a large measure in the form of initiation into the religious life and on the nature of the on- going formation of its members. As the congregation is of the Latin Rite, the rich spiritual heritage and traditional character of the Rite have to be fostered. Hence only the members of the Latin Rite shall be admitted.
STAGES OF FORMATION
The formation consists of different stages, each having its own characteristics and importance.
- Aspirancy: Aspirancy is a time for the candidate and the congregation to know each other by their contacts. The period of Aspirancy will normally last for one year.
- Postulancy: The period of Postulancy is a time of probation during which the postulant is introduced into the missionary spirit of St. Therese and her interior way – spiritual childhood. Postulancy will normally last for one year.
- Novitiate: The principal purpose of the novitiate is to initiate the novice into the essential and primary requirements of the religious life and practices, in keeping with the spirituality and apostolic spirit of the congregation. For the validity of the novitiate, the novice should spend two years in this stage.
- Juniorate: The aim of the Juniorate is to deepen the junior sisters in the union with Christ and their love relationship with Him. The period of Juniorate shall not be less than six years and not more than nine years. The right to admit one to perpetual profession belongs to the Superior General with the deliberative vote for her council.
- On going Formation: Dynamic fidelity to our consecrated life and specific vocation calls for On-going formation. Through their entire life the sisters are to continue carefully their own spiritual and practical formation. On-going formation is a need for every sister of our congregation.
Fidelity to this formative process help us to look at death with Christian hope as a full participation in the Lord’s Paschal mystery.
INCEPTION OF THE FORMATION HOUSE OF MSST IN NORTH INDIA
“Seek not the things of this world but seek you first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness.” Matthew 6:38.
“It was our dream to expand the horizon and the frontiers of the mission towards the northern part of India”, exclaimed Rev. Mother General. God has heard our prayers and blessed every effort and we have experienced the benevolence of the almighty from day one and at every moment.
The Generosity, of the bishop of Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, Most Rev. Joseph Thykkattil, has inaugurated the noble cause of procuring and fostering vocations from north India, for our congregation, at the request of the Mother General, Rev. Mother Shanthi Antony. The strenuous efforts of Sr. Asha Bennan, the Superior of St.Kolbe Convent community, were instrumental in transforming it to be the Formation House for the north India. All the priests of the diocese extended their support through their prayers and blessings, especially, Rev. Fr. Joseph MA, the financial administrator of the diocese, Rev. Fr. John Pandyappallill, the Parish priest of St. Kolbe mission, Indergarh, have immensely contributed in many ways that a dream became a reality.
Rev. Fr. Jimmy Joseph, the Asst. Provincial of Mother Teresa province, of the congregation of the Heralds of Good News, Rev. Fr. Binesh K J, Rev. Fr. Tony Mathew, all the three HGN priests have generously contributed in the initial efforts. Rev. Sr. Asha Bennan gathered the information carefully and diligently, of contacts, places and timing of camps along with the procedures to approach the bishops and fulfilling other formalities. Later Rev. Sr. Catherine Augustine and Rev. Sr. Asha Bennan went to explore the possibilities of procuring the vocations in the Diocese of Berhampur, in Orissa in the month of March 2022.
Rev. Sr. Shanthi Antony , the Mother General, wrote to the bishops and they have willingly welcomed us. The team of three sisters, Rev. Sr. Catherine Augustine and Rev. Sr. Monica Joseph and Rev. Sr. Jessy Thomas went to Orissa to attend the camps and it proved successful with results that we are enjoying now. While Rev. Sr. Sophia KS and Rev. Sr. Archana Alex went to the Diocese of Shillong in Meghalaya in Northeast India, with the same intention and yes, we are blessed generously with the vocations. We are also blessed with one candidate from Arunachal Pradesh through personal contacts of Rev. Sr. Asha Bennan.
Altogether 14 candidates have arrived at St. Kolbe Covent community, on May 26 2022, becoming the first formation house in north India. For a child to be born it takes nine months but within the span of two months, the formation house became a reality, a community became a formation house. The 14 candidates are officially and joyously welcomed into the first stage of formation, Aspirancy, on the auspicious day of the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, the patron saint of the parish. The Holy Eucharist is presided over by the Most Rev. Bishop Joseph Thykkattil at St. Kolbe Parish, Indergarh, Gwalior. Many neighboring priests and nuns from different congregations witnessed the wonderful and blissful event in the history of our congregation.