CONGREGATION OF PREMONSTRATENSIAN SISTERS. Formation P rocess in the Congregation of Norbertine S isters From Czech and Slovakia. „ Duc in altum !“. / Lk 5,4/. Short history. The Begin n ing of our Congregation - 1902
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Formation Process in the Congregation of Norbertine Sisters
FromCzech and Slovakia
„Duc in altum!“
During 22 years 1919-1941 – 170 new vocations
In 1950 our superiors had to send home 30 novices.
It waspossible to enterthe orders again.
In our Congregation during this time 34 young sisters entered.
had to take off theirhabits. There were 25sisters.
Our superior decided to send them to live secretly two or three
The goal of the entire formation process, as it isexpressed in this Ratio Institutionis, is
to be the living image ofJesusChrist.
In the spirit of Saint Norbert,
the Norbertine sister is a woman with a deep relationship withGod,
who is sustained by adoration of Eucharistic Christ,
And deep listening to Gospel and liturgical prayer.
As a real and steady advocate of values, that areeternal and transcendental, she is
an example of the demands and seriousness of religious life.
All this is performed in the life of community witha permanent effort to be one heart and
soul in God.
“According to the teaching of Saint Augustine, there is unityin our communities which overflows into love that embraces allpeople.”
“Let Virgin Mary teach us to be completely devoted toGod and the service for people.“
Our religious life finds in her “Fiat” and “Magnificat“ all its devotion to God’sredeeming
work and finds joy in them.
Stages of formation in our Congregation
Ongoingformation„Duc in altum!“ Lk.5,4
Formation means growing in God. It is the Holy Spiritwho forms us.
If we cooperate wenever stop growing
The new sisters will be onlyas we are.
Youngpeple, ourcandidates, novices, juniorscan only learn what they experience
and see in the community - prayer, spirituaity, our life-style, ourrelationships
and theatmosphere of the house.
Everyyear - regularmeetings
Wehavethisschemeforstages and placeofresponsibility
Materials about a theme are prepared (human formation, our vows, new directorium, Ratio...)
- Work in groups
- Recreation in the evening
- Possibility to meet and speakwithsisters
- Evaluation and feedback
– Conference about Norbertine spirituality – Abbot General Thomas Handgrätinger O.Praem.
Ongoing formation of superiors
Pastoral work for vocations„Come and you will see!“ John 1:39
The main goal of shepherding of vocatiosn is:
will be fascinated by his personality
priest, a religious, a nun,or just like a lay person who is consecrated in the world
consequence of this is their emotional fragility. They do not have basic elements
of their faith from their families.
Our communities have to have a friendly and hospitable atmosphere.
the sister responsible for formation in theprovince.
Every Thursday there is a mass offered for new vocations in the formation house in our province, and in the other communitiesthere are masses and adorations every first Thursday.
Elderly and ill sisters through accepting of their suffering and permanent prayer do an essential service in field of vocation work.
Spiritual renewals before Christmas and Easter.
We offer them the participation in life of community: in mass, adoration, liturgical prayer, teaching how to work with the Gospel – LectioDivina, personal conversations. Simultaneously they are led in the practice of silence and knowing of our charism.
Regular meetings with talks and listening sessions, spiritual guidance,
to help self knowledge, and corrections.
candidate. It was made according to our RatioInstitutionis.
„So theywent and sawwherehewasstaying...“
Thus human formation of candidate must allow her to reach the degree of maturity that the religious vocation requires. RI 76
Openness and trust are layed before her as a necessary condition for her future human growth. The integration into housework of community helps her to acquire ordinary skills and teaches her to cooperate and to be responsible. The mistress of candidates helps her to discover her own gifts and talents and to develop them for the good of community. She realizes the importance of helping the candidate with the change from secular to religious life. According to needs we can employ a psychologist. RI 77
Methodology3) Spiritual and religiousformation:
The function of the mistress of candidates is also to help the candidate find the value of sacrifice and the bigness of
self-denial out. She helps her to work through to conviction that the Lord our God has the right to have her and that
sheis worthy of her entire love for Him. RI 83
At the end of candidacy a candidate is able, with some clarity and certainty, to realize her vocation. She
expresses her life choice by resolute leaving of the world. RI 84
According to our spirituality, the common life is for us a basic norm, and it is our task to witness that Church is a
community of brothers and sisters. The world which is stricken by individualismneeds community, and the
community needs the candidate who has come from this world. RI 85
Through all this we try to develop good relationships that are characteristic for life in community. RI 86
The formation of a candidate has to be oriented to awareness of sacrifice as it requires common life, and to accept it with fixed look at the joyful and real relationship between sisters. We should not forget that solitude and emptiness that have been caused by the rejection to love with human love become now the school of greater love for God and people.
The basic criteria are also the growing ability to cooperate, spontaneous participation to community initiatives, and creativity. The candidate gradually knows that every Christian effort builds upon human weakness and that community cannot exist without forgiveness and reconciliation. Just like this we can feel the joy which is the shining witness of that the religious community living according to the Gospel. RI 87
To be generous with sisters and apostolic duties along with the growing interest in tasks of our Congregation are
clear signs of integration of a candidate into our Norbertine community. RI 90
During the postulancy help to maturity and integrity
of the personality, itsdevelopment,self-knowledge, self-acceptance, open communication of attitudes, thoughts and feelings
The rules of courteous behavior
Pravidlá slušného správania
Akú máš povahu (kniha a audiokazeta)
Gogola J. Řeholníformace – Ľudská formácia v kandidatúre
Forgan V.I. Cesta k pravde – Čnosti
Hudák P. Láska (CD)
Postulancy– Practice notes:
Entrance into postulancy:
Postulancy– Practice notes:
Those who accept from the community the immediate responsibility for formation should have skill in the necessary fields, as well as experience so that the responsibility given to them so that it may be faithfully carried out. They should know well the mentality and the values of the social milieu from which the candidates come. The responsibility of forming members is an apostolic responsibility which may be carried out by a group of persons whose qualities, working together, can increase the effectiveness of formation.
The mistress should frequently call the novices in, listen to them, inspire them, correct their negligence and lead those to more perfect things by her counsel. (Const. 94)
Novitiate- in our Congregation is for two years.The first year is canonical.
The same structure is for the formation program for the novitiate on an
John 1: 39
“The life in the Congregation begins with the novitiate. The aim of the novitiate is to acquaint the candidate with the main and basic requirements of the religious life and common life according to the Gospel of Christ to which the candidate will bend herself at an appropriate time.
The novice participates on our common life togrow gradually into the life of the Congregation and to show a willingness to integrate into the Congregation. “ Const. 74
Novitiate– Practice notes:
At the beginning of novitiate the novice mistress has to explain to novices how important is use time of novitiate with their own
convictions to accept the conditions novitiate (not "I must" but "I want") for their journey with the Lord and a deeper rootedness it.
Older novices- parents and siblings 2x a year. Novices do not accept other visits. In exceptional cases they need permission of the
Novices enter the rooms of sisters only by request. Also they do not enter rooms of others in the novitiate.
Novices writing group letters to sisters in their religious name, can write to communities, and other novitiates at Christmas and
Easter. Official mail is signed by first name not by nickname. In Advent and Lent novices do not write or receive mail.
Novices have to save souls through prayer and sacrifice, not through letters. St. Teresa
“First duty of a sister with temporary profession is spiritual development and to continue to form into the regular life because the Lord has called her particularly to regular life and just after that to a different mission..“ Const. 88
2) INTELLECTUAL FORMATION
3) SPIRITUAL FORMATION
4) COMMUNITARIAN FORMATION
5) APOSTOLIC FORMATION
Juniorate – Practice notes: „...followed Jesus.“ John 1:40
Education during juniorate:
„Duc in altum!“
This was not easy and we felt tensions....
We need to deepen and to foster our religious and norbertine identity
I try to share with you our experience and our form of formation.
But is very sad to do it, when now we are in a crisis of vocations.
We have had no vocations for 5 years.Some sisters left.
We are thankfullto our Lord, we have the opportunity to send a small branchofthreesistersfromourCongregation to USA, California.
We are also very thankful to the Norbertine fathers from the St.Michael Abbey Orange, for their invitation, confidence and support. And we hope,we pray to our Lord, for new vocationsthere.
We are happy for the hope, that during this General Chapter there will be work on the Norbertine “Ratio Institutions” which can give to us also new impulses and especially more Norbertine spirutuality in our own formation process.