Holy See on Post-Novitiate


(Exerpts from the document Directives on Formation in Religious Institutes published by the Congregation for institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life in 1990)


58. With respect to the formation of those who are temporarily professed, the Church prescribes that “in individual institutes after first profession the formation of all members is to be continued so that they may lead more fully the proper life of the institute and carry out its mission more suitably. Therefore, proper law must define the program of this formation and its duration, keeping in mind the needs of the Church and the circumstances of human persons and times to the extent this is required by the purpose and character of the institute.”[1]


Post Novitiate

Middle years of formation: (post novitiate)
From realism of love and work – to definitive commitment.

(There is a great variety of modalities of this phase in religious congregations: in duration, types of communities’ insertion, studies and apostolic commitments. Still we believe that the core infernal experience of growing toward definitive commitment is true of all religious formation at this stage).

Time, studies, knowing the religious institution with its traditions better, and the social reality where members of that religious family live and work, are not enough though, to make personal limitations disappear. Some tendencies – especially those that have to do with the affective-emotional type -, tend to surface again even if the young religious himself and superiors considered this to be a finished-business. It hurts to see limitations in other religious, in the congregation itself and in the Church. At the same time the young religious after novi­tiate, discovers and develops new talents, receives academic and professional training, and trusts experience on a deeper level. All this makes the young religious “student” more of a “person”: he gains deeper self-acceptance and self-esteem, and is better pre-pared to express himself and to do personal discernment in decisions.