The novitiate is one year during a seminarian’s training where those wanting to live their life as a Marist priest or brother focus their attention on what it means to live as a Marist in today’s world and Church.
There are three main parts to the novitiate.
Prayer and discernment
The novitiate gives the prospective Marist an opportunity to experience God by getting closer to him, developing a regular rhythm of prayer.
A novice undertakes this process with others, he lives in community, he is mentored by the Marist novitiate staff and he meets regularly with a spiritual director of his choice.
Marist Religious Life
At the novitiate the novice also learns what it means to be Marist and to consecrate his life to living as a Religious in today’s world.
It is during this period that his study focuses on the three vows that he will take at the end of this year, vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, what they mean and how to give expression to them today. The novice also learns about what what it means to lives these vows in a Marist way.
Other topics that are considered are: Marist history, Marist spirituality, the mission of Marists in the world today and the founding “mythology” of the Society of Mary.
Community life and mission
Living as a Marist means living as part of an apostolic Marist community. It is very rare for Marists not to enjoy the support and comradeship of living with other Marists.
Community living is not family living, the one thing that brings people together is that they are Marist.
Marists come from many backgrounds, sub-cultures and cultures. While Marists are always, as it were, marked as a Marist, Marists are all different.
The Novitiate experience then helps people to develop skills which allow them to live happily and positively in a Marist community.
Living as a Marist is not just about praying. Living as a Marist also means to commit to working as an apostolic religious and serving the particular needs of the Church and society in a Marist way. Novices will also experience limited pastoral opportunities.
International English Language Novitiate
The Society of Mary has an international novitiate in the Philippines.
The Philippines was chosen as the place for the novitiate because it is a part of the Society which is very focused on Marist mission. There are also many young Marists in this part of the world, as well as many other members of the Marist family.
The Novitiate is a place where a novice can be both challenged and supported during their novitiate year.