Formation Process

The steps to becoming an Apostle of the Interior Life
 
DISCERNMENT AND FORMATION JOURNEY

Your vocation is an answer to God’s call. Therefore, it is most  important to remain united with Him in prayer. This is the source of your discernment and, ultimately, the “place of confirmation” of your vocation.  The formation journey to become an Apostle of the Interior Life begins after the young woman has been in contact with the community through the “Come and See” opportunities and in dialogue with the vocation director over a consistent amount of time.

There are some significant steps:

  1. DISCERNMENT OF ONE’S VOCATION

It is necessary to be confirmed both in the vocation to consecrated life and the call to discern our charism. The first happens through the personal journey of prayer and with the help of a good spiritual director. The second is through frequent visits to the community and conversations with the Sisters. The two components do not necessarily happen in a specific order. Often the elements of both aspects intermingle in the ordinary life of the young woman. God has unique ways to speak to the depth of our individual hearts to write a great story in our lives. However, it is very important, indeed necessary, for both “ingredients” to be present to move forward in the journey. There is no time frame for this initial component of the discernment process. The young woman needs to be in dialogue with the vocation director since there is a mutual discernment from the perspective of the woman and from the community. Visiting a community of sisters for a day, weekend, or a week can become an integral part of the discernment process.

  1. APPLICATION PROCESS

Once the young woman is confirmed both in her vocation and the desire to be an AVI , supported by her spiritual director and confident in the journey walked with the community, she can move forward and ask for an application. It includes writing an autobiography, obtaining a recommendation letter, collecting documents (sacramental records, physical tests…), and going through an interview with the vocation director. It takes on average a month or two to complete it.

  1. NAZARETH

“Nazareth” is the first phase of formation. In this phase the young woman lives with the sisters at the FIAT House on the University of Kansas campus. She is required to begin living all the four pillars of the AVI charism. One of the Sisters in the house is the Formator.

  1. GALILEE

After a fruitful time of formation for at least a year or two the young woman can move into the house of formation in Rome! The formation now includes studying and pursuing a degree in Philosophy and Theology in one of the Pontifical Universities.

  1. JERUSALEM

The final part of formation is the specific preparation for the radical gift of self: over a period of at least two years the young woman prepares for the PROFESSION OF VOWS of poverty, chastity and obedience according to the Rule of Life. Vows are taken during the solemn celebration of the Eucharist on a liturgical feast or solemnity of the Blessed Mother.

  1. ANTIOCH

The newly vowed sister receives her first assignment during which she will receive a more specific apostolic preparation to become a spiritual director and to give conferences and retreats. She will also receive specific formation on how to live the responsibilities of a member of the community.

 

If you are interested in discerning with the Apostles of the Interior Life and learning more about the process, please contact our vocation director at vocations@apostlesofil.com .  She will be happy to journey with you, step by step.

insertphotoEvery religious community, through its founder, has received a gift from the Holy Spirit that helps the Church fulfill its mission.  It is this gift that makes each religious community unique.  The Charism is the particular vision of the founder that has left a lasting character on the life and work style of the community. Imagine a prism which disperses a white ray of light into a whole spectrum of many colors.  Each charism that the Holy Spirit has inspired in the Church is just one ray of color.  No charism can be exhaustive and show the whole beauty of God and the Church, but it is called to show that one aspect beautifully.  When a Charism comes into existence, it speaks of a need of the whole Church at that particular time. A Charism can be expressed in three aspects:

  1. the mystical aspect: corresponds to God’s initiative, His gift, His invitation to live abundantly.
  2. the ascetical aspect: is our response to God’s invitation and the concrete ways in which we say our ‘fiat’ and live fully.
  3. the apostolic aspect: is how we are called to give life to others.
insertphotoWe have a God who seeks.  He seeks unrelentingly, passionately.  Every journey into our interior world begins with an invitation from the Lord.  As Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well and invites her into a relationship with him, so too does He pursue us, meeting us where we are, in order to nothing less than transform us into Himself. The mystical aspect of the Charism of the A.V.I. is centered on Christ the Priest.  The essence of what Christ the Priest did was to give his life on the cross.  It was Christ the Priest who transformed water into wine at Cana and wine into blood at the last supper.  Christ the Priest transformed death into life and suffering into redemption. Christ the Priest transforms us into Himself if we let him. Mental prayer and Thanksgiving after Communion are so important in our Charism because these are privileged means that allow Christ to transform us.  It is a Charism with the Mass and the Eucharist at the center, thus, the importance placed on the sacramental life and on Eucharistic adoration.

insertphoto“The glory of God is man fully alive, the life of man is the contemplation of God” (St. Ireneus).  Convinced of this, the only possible response that does justice to Jesus’ declaration: “I came so that they could have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10), is to really embrace life and the call to holiness.

It is in the ascetical aspect of the Charism of the A.V.I. that we pursue the interior life, prayer, holiness, virtue and the different aspects of man – our need and desire for joy, friendship, balance, beauty, unity and the call to live fully.

After being invited to life, responding by living fully, the natural consequence is that we are called to give life.  In every fruitful relationship there is a life-giving aspect.  It is no different for the relationship with God and each Charism.  In the Charism of the A.V.I. we do this in two ways: through evangelization and through formation.

Evangelization

For the Church, evangelizing means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new: “Now I am making the whole of creation new.” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI,1975, n. 18)

Part of the Charism of the A.V.I. is to take an active role in this mission of evangelization, transforming the world through this radical “renewal of humanity” which the Gospel brings. Formation

“Who is the formator?  It is he, father or mother, teacher or friend, who has lived and lives an encounter with something or someone that has burned his flesh and his soul, and has provoked in him a wound.  But it is not a mortal wound; rather it is a new, healing wound, towards life and man.  A formator is he who has sat down at table, at least for an instant, with the eternal that resounds in a poem, in the wonder of nature, in the eyes or hair or words of a person, in an instant that filled him with profound peace, but at the same time never gave him peace again. But that which is most important is that the formator is he who does not, simply because he cannot, keep this experience to himself.  He wants to communicate it, to live it again with those who have been placed in his care or on his path.” (Massimo Camisasca)

The desire to give formation is birthed from a living encounter that has seared our soul and never left it the same.  It is first of all the recognition that we have been given a tremendous gift.  Secondly, this gift does not and it cannot leave us indifferent and so affected are we that we cannot help but to desire to form others, to share this gift of life’s fullness that we have been gifted to experience.