VOCATIONS AND FORMATION – KARNATAKA PROVINCE
“Formation – is a dynamic and a life-long process of growing into Christ. It aims at an integral/holistic growth of a person and it lasts a life time of God experience and Faith formation by accepting, assimilating, forming, transforming and reforming oneself.”
The Vocation Promoters from our Communities meet at the beginning of each academic year to evaluate the past programme and to plan for the year; they are given orientation and motivation by resource persons. Parishes are allotted to them for visits to meet probable aspirants for religious life and to foster these vocations. They also meet before the Vocation Camps that are held twice a year to plan out the activities for the same. The Province Vocation Promoter takes over-all charge of the activities and also conducting the camps.
“Harvest is great, but the labourers are few” – Jesus says to each of us, to go out, search and find labourers to work in His Vineyard.
Those who express their desire to follow the way of the Apostolic Carmel are brought together for a short programme in the month of April. They are sent to complete their PUC during which they are given help to grow in various aspects of life – spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical.
After their completion of PUC, if they still desire to pursue their vocation, they are received as candidates in the month of May for the ‘Come and See’ programme SADHANA which is of 8 months’ duration during which the syllabus prescribed by the Congregation is followed. The practices expected of candidates, such as the reading of the Word of God, Guided Meditation and our Way of Life are taught to them. They are guided to live with one another and to learn to communicate in English. Regular games, watching CDs on the lives of Saints and recreations are part of their schedule. They also take active part in the liturgy, visit hospitals, Homes for the Aged, etc as part of outreach programmes. Gardening and learning skills like tailoring and cooking help in their growth.
The next step of Postulancy which is SAMEEKSHA lasts for a year. They are helped to grow in the love of Jesus, to pray using different methods of prayer and in Carmelite Spirituality. They also have a prescribed syllabus to be followed. Besides these they learn to play music, classical dance. They have daily recreations, games and good T.V. programmes, news and video cassettes.
Besides the syllabus they are given basic idea of Mission and Apostolate. They visit regularly the inmates of Mother Teresa’s Ashram and Veronica Vihar, a Home for the differently able adults. These experiences help them to value suffering in their life and also to grow in compassion and love for the sick and the infirm.
The Novitiate house – SANNIDHI is at Stella Maris Convent, Kotekar. During the two years of the novitiate period, a novice is prepared for religious life through deepening of faith helping her in understanding the life of the Apostolic Carmel and initiating her in the living of it. By prayer, instruction and practical living the novice is led towards a deeper experience of God’s all-sufficing love. During the second year novitiate, periods of apostolic activity, exposure programmes in accordance with the charism of the congregation are integrated into the novitiate formation.
The novices are placed under the guidance of a Directress who accompanies each novice with love, and understanding. She provides helps to the novices through classes of qualified personnel to gain self knowledge, and offers guidance in their human and spiritual growth. She takes responsibility to discern and evaluate the authenticity of their call, and guides them to respond to it with generosity and faithfulness.
The novice by her personal and intimate communion with Christ is urged to surrender herself to God and prepare her to spend herself in the service of the Church.
On the completion of the two-year Novitiate the novice, if judged suitable is admitted to temporary profession. She pronounces her vows during the Eucharistic celebration in the presence of two witnesses using the prescribed formula. This gives her membership to the Congregation.
Period of Temporary Profession
The Junior sisters are placed in communities where they are helped to live a community life under a Superior who animates and guides them. They are also encouraged to pursue their studies according to their interest and aptitudes. Seminars and various programmes, like monthly recollections and annual retreats are organized during the five year period of Juniorate to deepen their life of commitment to Jesus and to grow in the love for mission. They are guided towards a holistic response to their call.
At the end of the five years, if found suitable, they are admitted to Tertianship which is an intense spiritual preparation for their Final Profession.
Having committed herself irrevocably to God at her final Consecration, the responsibility for one’s growth is now on the individual as she moves from a supervised life to a situation of self-formation. To achieve this end the sister is called to live to the full the freshness of her love and enthusiasm for Christ supported and accompanied by proper spiritual direction. She is called to contribute towards building a joyful and loving community realizing her responsibility as a full-fledged member of the community. She is called to assume responsibility for apostolic work entrusted to her with complete dedication and involvement. She strives to strengthen her life of Consecration, through a deeper insight and living out of her vows.
In order to sustain and foster the growth of spiritual life, regular renewal programmes are conducted at the Province and Congregational level for different batches of Sisters.