Mathew Vattamattam cmf

1. Introduction

In the context of dwindling vocations in most religious congregations that used to enjoy flourishing membership in the past, I have heard many people lament about the dim future of consecrated life. For a Christian any apparently tragic situation is paradoxically a moment of grace. The urgency then is to tune ourselves keenly to listen to the voice of the Spirit. I believe that religious life today is going through such a favourable time of grace. There are different ways people can await the impending future of their Institutes: resigning to the fate of an eventual extinction in the near future; making frantic efforts to resuscitate the fading life of an institute by uncritically importing vocations from places that are vocationally fecund; grabbing the moment of disillusionment as an opportunity to make a critical evaluation of life and mission to become relevant in the world today; to learn hard lessons from the present experience to be ready for a paradigm shift in the process of the discernment of vocations and in the formation of personnel so as to respond to the exigencies of the world better, to mention a few. Most of us seem to know that the Spirit is speaking to us today and that we are called to take roads, not yet travelled, to march towards an unknown future.

            The vocational scenario is making drastic geographic shifts in the universal church which raise hopes and at the same time pose new challenges. There is greater awareness in the Church of the importance of a formation adapted to the changes in the church and the society.[1] This paper attempts to present the challenges in formation from the perspective of the demands that modern society places on all walks of life to be at their best.

2. A Society in transition: rules of the game

            It is amazing to watch the fast pace of advancement in many fields of science and technology that affects the everyday lives of the common man all over the world. Committed research and explorations in every field of human venture have brought out drastic changes in the society. The success of a consumer society depends on the capacity to arouse needs and desires in people and provide means to satisfy them. The modern version of the struggle for survival which fills the global market with better and faster gadgets seem to follow certain rules.

The first factor that favours rapid changes is the quest for practical application of expertise in everyday life. What is better, faster and affordable (other modern terms: user friendly, one click away, easy etc.) stays as long as it is overcome by another. What is less efficient, less accessible and slower finds its way soon into extinction. The complex physical laws of nature are manipulated to respond tangibly to cater to some human needs. For example the computer scientists and engineers have succeeded to bring their expertise at the finger tips of the ordinary people who can easily make use of a computer to meet many of their needs better, faster and cheaper. The sacrifices and dedication of those engaged in developing scientific information accessible to common man is astounding.

A second factor seen in the progress of the technical world is the success of networking where many experts pool their expertise to achieve common targets. There is no survival alone. Information and expertise available in one field is integrated into another and experts in different fields join forces to make progress.

A third factor that seems to underlie technical progress is the attention given to formulate clear goals and efficient strategies to reach them. Those who have better strategies and means win the game. Hence the importance given to research and training of personnel in all fields of human undertaking. Successful enterprises have stimulating vision and mission statements and effective strategies to reach them.


3. Situating Formation in the context of a society in transition


            Advances in education and training of professionals in every sphere of human activity have created a situation where excellence is reinforced and mediocrity is eliminated. Selection and training of personnel are considered vital for effective contribution in those fields. Clergy and Religious who were once wielding greater influence on larger spheres of human life are now limited to their own proper religious and transcendent horizon of life which is an entirely different field of expertise than that of physical and social sciences. Unless the Religious excel in the field proper to them and make their expertise tangible to their fellow humans, they will have to follow the same fate of giving way to those who would take over the field more effectively.

            Each discipline has its own proper horizon. The Religious are called to enrich the world and respond to its search for transcendent meaning, its thirst for God experience and its need for prophets to announce God’s Word. The goals and strategies of formation of religious have to be consistent with its proper horizon. At the same time it has to profit from the insights found in other areas of study and research.

The adage “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” is the formula for quality testing for formation also. We judge the efficacy of a formative process by the effect it has on those who have completed the formation program. This is seen in the vocational consistency of the priests and religious after their initial formation in living the demands of priestly and consecrated life and their zestful pastoral commitment. The marvellous commitment of thousands of consecrated persons all over the world is a bold witness of the validity and efficacy of consecrated life and the amazing transformation that can take place in a person. But their number is outweighed by those whose vocational mediocrity and fragility undermines the credibility of the church and its mission. This raises many questions about selection and formation of candidates for priestly and religious life. Dr. Bartemeir has this critical comment on seminary formation:

“We take promising young men from 13 to 25 years of age, feed them well, educate them diligently, and eight to twelve years later we ordain them, healthy, bright, emotional thirteen-year-olds”.[2]

A longitudinal study of the formative impact of traditional formation on the formadi showed that it had little impact on the maturity in the formandi even after 4 years of formation[3]. It would be self blinding to expect that several years of academic training would naturally lead to spiritual and emotional maturity which are central to effective vocational commitment. Pope John Paul II called for the holistic formation of today’s priests and affirmed that human formation is the necessary foundation of the whole work of formation.[4] Though there are many efforts to integrate the contributions of social sciences into formation, we face different challenges that call for strategies proper to each of the dimension of the formative itinerary.

4. Formative Challenges Today

The emerging global culture and fast growing communication media offer us opportunities as well as challenges in the area of formation. The spirit of inquiry and scrutiny has not left any aspect of human life out of the reach of investigation and research. Some of these queries have focussed public attention on the private living of publicly professed consecrated persons, exposing at times the inconsistencies of the clergy and the religious. Though it has demoralized the clergy and scandalized the people in some contexts, it has also resulted in honest efforts to bridge the gap between the ideal and the actual and to look for effective and adequate pedagogy for formation. I would sum up these challenges in formation in the following three aspects:

4.1. The challenge for Excellence:

Every field of human activity makes rapid advancement through systematic formulation of goals and effective strategies to achieve them. All of us enjoy the fruits of this progress in every sphere of life. For example, the advancement in information technology in the past 20 years is incredible and the engineers in this field make their expertise tangible to the common people. Training of experts in different walks of life requires a few years of rigorous and methodical training and if they fail to render adequate service in his/her field of expertise, he/she will go out of business. A priest or religious does not have to undergo this ordeal.

Priestly and religious training of young men which takes about 10-14 years for initial formation is perhaps the longest formal training for any profession.Specialized training in most other professions takes less time, investment of personnel and probably money. Besides, the formandi are fully available for formation and even his personal time and holidays are structured within a project of formation. Some of the missionaries with additional specialization would have spent 16-18 years in education after joining religious life. The perplexing question is whether we can stand the test of quality in the field proper to us.

The world today looks for expertise and excellence from us in God experience, Word of God, Transcendent values, moral guidance, prophetic commitment and witness of religious truth. It is doubtful if many of those who come out of the formation centres after several years of formation can claim sufficient expertise in these areas. The challenge of formation is to move from mediocrity to excellence in the domain proper to us.

4.2. The challenge for Authenticity

            Many cultures hold the religious in high esteem and look to them for moral guidance. Religious symbols and people in religious garb elicit reverence from people. But many advanced societies critically look at religion and are outspoken about the aberrations and inconsistencies in religious life. The episodes of sexual abuse by clergy and religious in some countries have done much harm to the Church. People no longer accept pulpit proclamations unless they are backed by authentic life of the preacher. The global acclaim of the lives of Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II are clear manifestations of the world’s appreciation for authenticity and need for gospel mystique.

            Most institutes of consecrated life live the pain of having a certain percentage of immature members whose lack of integrity and emotional balance drain much emotional and apostolic energy and at times cause serious economic burden on their institutes. There are times when promising missionary ventures suffer serious set backs owing to the immaturity and lack of apostolic zeal of the missionaries. Various forms of compromises in radically living evangelical counsels can erode the vitality and enthusiasm of the religious communities. The future of any institute depends on the quality of commitment of its members in accordance with their charism in the church. An effective formation process should support and ascertain certain level of spiritual and emotional congruency in the candidates. When an authentic formative journey is not embarked, the longer years of formation seem to end up as seeds sown on rocky ground or among the thistles. It is after final vows or ordination that the mundane motivations, often unconscious, come to the fore and actively direct behaviour in seeking comforts, positions and power.[5] While expressing the joy of having crowded seminaries in some countries, Pope Benedict XVI insists on the need for proper discernment and cautioned against the dangers of mundane motives that may attract vocations.[6]

It is astounding to note that most formandi are not automatically formed to deal with their human passions and motivations which are central to meaningful living of the consecrated life even after many years of formation.

Another paradox observed in the training process of church personnel is the ample space for dichotomy between the topics studied and the life lived. A person who studies at a doctoral level in spirituality, theology, or scriptures can acquire a “summa cum laude” without being affected in their personal life by the topics studied, though these topics are meaningful precisely because of their significance for Christian life. The absence of the experiential dimension in the study of theological subjects remains a lacuna in the formation process. In the oriental culture distinction is made between ‘teacher’ who communicates knowledge and ‘master’ who communicates experiential wisdom regarding the transcendental truths.[7] Initiation of people into consecrated life requires spiritual masters who have “touched and seen” what is being communicated. The golden periods of congregations are marked by the presence of saintly men and women who lived authentic lives and transmitted transcendental values to their followers. The strong reactions of the public to the limitations of clergy and religious on the one hand and high admiration of modern saintly figures on the other, seem to be the expression of a longing for authentic spiritual leaders in the world that is becoming more and more fragmented and violent.

4.3. The Challenge for Fidelity

A third challenge comes from the global, consumerist and hedonistic post-modern culture that pervades all societies with the offer of very many false attractions. The mystery of the cross, renunciation, and values of evangelical counsels are held in disdain. The consumer culture plays on base emotions to thrive, but devours the victims for sensational news, especially when they are clerics and religious. When a person is not grounded enough in Christian values, it is easy to be caught up in the game and fall for the lure of money, easy life and immature affective adventures. For example, the lure of internet, in spite of being a great blessing, lure people in to addiction by offering easy, accessible and affordable private world of substitutive gratifications in the present world. Analysing the departures, it is found that a good number of the departures were due to questions of affective life, Psychological problems and autonomy issues.[8] Economic security and independence seem to underlie the numerous secularizations of religious priests who hike into diocesan life.

Effective formative itinerary should necessarily take into account the human maturing process and empower the self-capacities of the formandi to live the vows and the renunciations involved in it without serious inner conflict. In a context where external structures are not very supportive of our life style, it is important to have solid internal structures to live our commitment joyfully.

5. Specificity of Religious and priestly formation

            The academic part of seminary formation follow the pattern of any other training. Training in secular professions involve theoretical inputs, practical sessions and internship which are conducted and supervised by approved institutions. An applicant who fulfils the specified requirements is expected to become an expert in that field within the stipulated time. Similarly, formation of religious and clergy is institutionalized with theological inputs and pastoral exposures.

            But we cannot overlook a major distinction of training religious and clergy from other professions. Training in other professions is largely focussed on information and skills needed to perform tasks external to the person. But the central focus in religious training is the transformation of the subject, the whole person of the formandi. Following the distinction of De Finance, we can say that secular training deals with natural values while religious formation deals with both self-transcendent values and natural values.[9] For example, we speak of a ‘good surgeon’ when he is an expert in medical surgery irrespective of his being morally upright. But a good consecrated person has necessarily to be morally and spiritually mature.

            This distinction has implications on the formation of the clergy and religious. The goals and strategies of priestly and religious training have to necessarily involve the whole person especially his/her capacity to live self-transcendent values without undue inner conflict. The distinction of the three dimensions of human maturity and the process of internalization of values as the proper formative process proposed by Luigi Rulla offer a useful conceptual frame for a holistic formative project.[10]

Another serious limitation of priestly and religious formation in comparison to training for secular professions is the lack of adequate and systematic pedagogical methods consistent with the objectives of formation. Secular professions offer systematic methods and strategies of training which necessarily lead the applicant to a certain level of proficiency in his field. The supervised part of practical training in priestly and religious formation is mostly pastoral areas and rubrics which have very little to do with the core aspects of formation. The formandi are bombarded with high ideals of priesthood and consecrated life all along the formation, but the path that leads to it is left obscure. For example, there is no lack of rhetoric on the sublime beauty of virginity, but the course of journey towards the ideal is to be groped alone by the formandi. A formator would normally not dare to explain how he enjoys this ideal and how he has journeyed towards it. The same is true of obedience and poverty. It is as if everybody knows that there is a treasure somewhere in the house, but nobody knows where exactly it is and how to reach it. The need of the hour is not theological reflections and models, but adequate pedagogy and methodological routes that objectify the ideals with clarity and delineate the path that lead to them.[11]


6. Objectives of formation and pedagogic strategies


            The documents of the Church on priestly and religious formation rightly insist on the need for integral formation that involves the whole person in every aspect of his personality.[12] The goal of formation is non-negotiable: “conformity to the Lord Jesus in his total self-giving”.[13] This growing in the sentiments of Jesus, the Son of the Father, brother to each one of us, is growing in the freedom to love and give oneself up for others. Assuming the primary role of the Spirit in this growth process, a realistic and holistic pedagogy of formation requires the following:

  • Clear objectives in each aspect of life (human, spiritual, charismatic, pastoral) in relation to the progressive stages of formation (postulancy, novitiate, post novitiate). The ratio Institutionis of formation which every Religious Institute was called upon to formulate[14] is expected to meet this requirement.
  • Strategies or methods suited to each aspect of formation to reach its proper objectives. For example, intellectual grasp of Christological dogmas require study skills, while internalization of the truths studied needs apt methods of prayer and meditation. Living the values implied in the study of those dogmas calls for cultivation of the virtues of forgiveness, compassion and       renunciation. The capacity to be compassionate, to forgive and to freely renounce for the sake of the Gospel requires a certain level of psychological maturity. Thus effective study of Christology involves intellectual, spiritual, human and moral dimensions of the student and a good formation program should tap all these areas.
  • Different mediators are needed who can assist and accompany the formandi in their formative itinerary. The formator himself/herself needs to be equipped for accompanying the formandi and be supported by the expertise of therapists, spiritual guides and counsellors. Such a collaboration calls for clarity of goals, roles and the boundaries proper to each role.[15]

7. Interdisciplinary Approach and Multiple Strategies at the service of an Integral Formation

            Just as we are confronted by disconcerting challenges in formation today, there are also trends that give hopes for better responses to these challenges. One of these trends is the openness of secular sciences and theological disciplines for mutually enriching dialogue. The interdisciplinary approach to deal with human issues by a fruitful collaboration of psychology, theology and spirituality is particularly beneficial for integral human formation. Priestly and religious formation has much to gain from this rapprochement of different disciplines.

In order that formative processes benefit from various sciences, it is important to situate them within an anthropology that respects the mystery of the human person and allow space for the social sciences to make their contribution without losing their proper autonomy or crossing their boundaries. I find two interdisciplinary approaches that can be of great value for priestly and religious formation.

7. 1. Formation to Enhance vocational Consistency and Effective Freedom to Live Vocational Values

            This approach is initiated by Rulla and his associates whose research brought out interesting findings on the variables that are significant for consistency in vocational living. While holding on to sound Christian anthropology that recognizes man’s thirst for God and his limitations, Rulla has succeeded to pin down the deep theological and philosophical insights into operational schema in which insights of depth psychology are well integrated in order to explain the drama of vocational struggles of the formandi better. The following are some of the important contributions of pedagogic interest for formation:

1. The basic dialectics in the humans is concretized in the structure of the self as both ideal self and actual self. It is in the consistency or inconsistency between the components of these two horizons of the self that we can speak of vocational consistency or inconsistency. Formative strategies have to look into these components and help towards healthy integration and harmony in the person’s self system.

2. The three dimensions: The concept of the three dimensions mark out the terrain where the basic dialectics take place according to the different values to which the persons is drawn to. The first dimension is the realm of free and responsible choice of vocational values where spiritual guidance and practice of virtues bear fruits. On the other end is realm of the third dimension where a person’s openness to natural values is seen. Limitations in this realm calls for the assessment and assistance of psychiatric and medical expertise. The realm of the second dimension is the area of psycho spiritual maturity or immaturity which favours or impede vocational consistency and effectivelness. Formative assistance that enhances maturity in this realm is found to have significant impact on vocational growth.

3. The appropriate pedagogic process towards vocational growth is the internalization of vocational values. The natural human quest for what is truly good, when unleashed from the various psychodynamic entanglements, progressively leads the formandi to the discovery of the intrinsic worth of vocational ideals and to freely assimilate them into lived life. It is precisely in this formative process that various pedagogic strategies are employed to help the formandi to understand and address the blocks that prevent his/her freedom to pursue chosen goals. Insights and instruments of counselling and psychotherapy are found to be effective instruments to help the process of self-discovery.

Within the anthropological frame proposed by Rulla, different formative strategies could be engaged to augment the effective freedom of the formandi. It also identifies areas proper to psychiatric and psychological assistance (third dimension). In regular vocational growth sessions the formator guides the formandi to be in touch with their inner movements and take them as the opportunities for growth. A growth promoting vocational accompaniment requires at least three factors:

  • The formative relationship of trust which is established with the formator who invites the formandus to launch into a journey of progressive self-discovery, self-possession and self-giving.
  • The capacity for mindfulness and authentic motivations on the part of the formandus to grow in his vocational life.
  • The ability of the formator to engage the formandus in the formative journey. The formator’s awareness of his own vocational dynamics and his capacity for insights gained from his own vocational journey are important gifts for vocational accompaniment.

The interdisciplinary approach to formation proposed by Rulla has been applied with tangible results in many formation centres. The preferred method of accompaniment is through regular vocational growth sessions which the formandus have with a formator. These one-to-one formative encounters are designed to help the formandus to explore his/her inner world of motivations with all its components and progressively make conscious and free decisions in favour of chosen goals of life.

7. 2. Transformation through Integrative Model of Accompaniment

I find the integrative approach applied in pastoral counselling and spiritual direction[16] to be a useful strategy for an integral formation. This model emerged from the field of counselling and psycho-therapy in the context of a healthy rapprochement between the disciplines of moral theology, psychology and spirituality.[17] When a formator has a fair idea of the dynamics involved in the vocational journey of a young person whom he accompanies, he will have to look for effective strategies to accompany the growth process in different spheres of life.

7.2.1 The Domains of Transformation


The integrative model views spiritual growth as transformation of the whole person in various domains of life. Following the schema of Sperry, we identitified the following domains of transformation with the addition of those aspects proper to consecrated life[18].

  1. 1)Somatic: refers body and its wellness despite of a disability or diseas
  2. 2)Affective/community: refers to emotional wellbeing, healing of past hurts, healthy integration of all emotions and achieving capacity for team work and community life.
  3. 3)Religious/spiritual: Spirituality based on the biblical image of God, replacing the false idols such as reputation, wealth and power and seeking God’s will and Kingdom values
  4. 4)Moral: to move from simple gratifications of immediate needs to principled living based on objective values.
  5. 5)Intellectual: Pursuit of truth amidst ideologies and personal prejudices. Developing a critical grasp of theological issues and to criticise false value systems that corrupt Christian conscience.
  6. 6)Socio-political/inter-cultural: Moving beyond self-transformation to bring about the reign of God in one’s community and the society. Growing in the capacity for universal brotherhood and the pastoral dimension of the vocation.
  7. 7)Charismatic/vocational: Discovering and growing in one’s unique call to conform to Christ within the charism of the Institute.

Transformation in one domain influences the transformation of other domains. For example, affective transformation favours religious and moral transformation. Intellectual transformation reinforces the transformation in socio-political domain. This is why an integral approach is necessary for a holistic vocational growth. Once the domains of growth are delineated, the necessary virtues, spiritual practices and self-capacities necessary for growth in each of the domains are identified and described in order to make it operational. This is necessary for moving from mere desire to concrete action. Transformation in each of the domains require that the formandi cultivate corresponding virtues, spiritual practices and self-capacities. The following table illustrates the whole profile of transformation in a vocational journey[19].

Domain of transformation


Spiritual Practices




Physical fitness

Transforming craving




Trust, Compassion, Collaboration

Healing the heart, Learning to love

Self-acceptance, Spontaneity,


Frustration tolerance, Creativity, Autonomy


Charity, Holiness

Awakening spiritual vision




Trust worthiness


Living ethically




Developing wisdom and understanding

Critical reflection

Socio-Poitical/ Intercultural

Justice, Fortitude

Expressing spirit in service

Social consciousness



Chastity, Poverty, Obedience

Discernment Detachment

Sense of boundaries

This outline can be a helpful guide to view different domains of growth in a formandus. It becomes operative when a realistic action plan adapted to the personal and socio-cultural context of each formandus is drawn within the ambit of personal accompaniment.

7.2.2. Accompaniment of the process of transformation

Growth takes place in the school of life through the concrete events of every day life where a persons learns to relate meaningfully to God, oneself and others. The formative rapport one enjoys with the fomator is the safe ground to rely on in order to process the itinerary of transformation. Everything that happens in the life of the person is an opportunity for self-discovery and growth. It is important that the formandus is helped to perceive his/her environment and events of life as a formative terrain to evaluate different domains of his/her life and formulate means to grow in them. For example, a postulant who has uncontrollable anger has his world of affect to probe into and integrate in order to live his vocation meaningfully. He has to make this journey of integration in conjunction with his growth in other domains.

In the praxis of the integrative model of accompaniment, a formative rapport between the formandus and the formator is crucial. Once a trusting formative relatiohsip is established between the formandi and formator, the first step is to assess the domains of transformation and set goals for transformation corresponding formative stage (Postulancy, Novitiate, etc.,). The next step to assess the levels of virtues, spiritual practices and self-capacities and identify the absence of virtues and spiritual practices in the domains with low levels of functioning. These are taken for both self-probing as well self self-transformation. The next step is to formulate an action plan for each domain of transformation with clear objectives, virtues to be cultivated and specific spiritual practices to be undertaken. Regular formative encounters are used to assess and monitor progress in the specified domains.

            Integrative model of accompaniment may not suffice to respond to psychological or psychiatric problems of a person and as such they are not within to expertise of a formators.

The two interdisciplinary approaches presented above are not exclusive to each other. The first approach is excellent in providing insights into the inner dynamics involved in the vocational living of the formandi while the second approach gives a systematic pedagogic route to aim at a holistic growth. The vocational growth sessions proposed in the first approach is an effective way of inviting the formandus to self-discovery, self-possession and self giving which is applicable in the domains of transformation of the integrative model. A sound eclectic application of the two approaches by an experienced formator may bear much fruit in formation of priests and religious.  

8. Conclusion

Even though religious and priestly formation is one of the longest programs of training, it is justifiable because it is not just learning some skills, but rather involves the transformation of the whole person. The presentation of the formative approaches cited above is brief and incomplete. What is intended here is to point out the opportunities available today for formators to benefit from contributions of social sciences and theological disciplines, when they are fruitfully applied within an interdisciplinary model of human formation. What we are most in need is effective pedagogical routes to tread in order to prepare effective and credible evangelizers today. Whatever formative strategy is followed, it has to keep the formandi focussed towards conformity with the mystery of Christ and work through the blocks that restrict this journey of Christ-centered self-transcendence. The field of formation too has to stick to the norm of quality control which determines the effectiveness of formation from the fruits it bears in the formandi. On the side of the formandi vocational life has to meet the criteria laid down by Jesus who in his life and preaching, insisted on the verification of truth in its praxis. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father..” (Mt.7.21).

            The hard path religious and priestly life has to tread is the narrow one that leads from desire to deed, from rhetoric to reality. Though there are no easy solutions to the problems we encounter in formation, those very challenges do open new pathways to better formation.

[1] A number of Church documents refer to the present challenges in formation and give guidelines to address them. For example, Cf. Pastores dabo vobis (1992), Nos.41-69; Vita Consecrata (1996), Nos. 63-65; Starting Afresh from Christ (2002), Nos. 16-18; From the congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Directives on Formation in Religious Institutes (1990).

[2] Bartemeier, L.H.. In P.E. Johnson (Ed.), Healer of the Mind: A Psychiartrist’s Search for Faith. Nashville, T.N: Abingdon, 1972, pp. 59-77. Quoted in Celibacy in Crisis, A secret World Revisited, A.W. Richard Sipe, Brunner-Routledge, 2007, p.27.

[3] Cf. Rulla et al, Anthropology of Christian Vocation, Vol II, existential confirmation,

[4] Pastores Dabo Vobis No. 43. Cf also Nos. 43-60 which enumerates different dimensions of formation..  

[5] For a critical look at vocations from the third world, Cf. Antony Malaviaratchi, “Religious life in the Third World, a Shangri-la”, in Review for Religious, 65.1, 2006.

[6] Cf. Address of Pope Benedict XVI to the clergy of Aosta, July 25, 2005.

[7] In sanskrit distinction is made between ‘Adyapak’, ‘Acarya’ and ‘Guru’ based on the progressive internalization of truth.

[8] 66° Semestral Convention of the Union of Superior Generals treated the issue of Fidelity and Abandonment in today’s Consecrated life. An analysis of departures is presented by Fr. Lluis Oviedo, “An Approach to Abandonment, in Fidelity and Abandonment, Litos, 2005, pp.47-65.


[10] For a brief presentation of the three dimensions, Cf. Rulla, L., Anthropology of Christian Vocation Vol. II, p.104-107, and on the process of internalization Cf. pp.

[11] Cf. Cencini, The Sentiments of the Son, Pauline Publications, Mumbai, 2005, pp. 24, 29-35.

[12] Vita Consacrata, No. 65, Pastores dabo vobis Nos.43-59.

[13] Vita consacrata, 65;

[14] Vita Consacrata, 68.

[15] For more discussion of roles and boundaries of formative agents, Cf. Timothy Costello, “Integrating Formative Roles” in Alessandro Manenti, Stefano Guarinelli and Hans Zollner (eds), Formation and the Person, Peeters, Leuven, 2007, pp. 241-256.

[16] A detailed presentation of the integrative model of pastoral counselling and spiritual direction is presented in Len Sperry, Transforming Self and Community, The Liturgical Press, Colegeville, 2002, pp.115-141.

[17] Len Sperry, ibid., pp. 116-117.

[18] Ibid. p. 126. I have added the aspect of charismatic/vocational aspect as the seventh domain. The community aspect is added to the affective domain and the intercultural aspect is placed along with socio-political.

[19] Ibid., p. 132. This table is adapted with additions to that of Sperry to include the vocational domain and its corresponding virtues, spiritual practices and self-capacities.