Booklets on Formation- 1
General prefecture of formation
THE FORMATION OF MISSIONARIES IN THE CONGREGATION
According to our Father Founder Saint Anthony Mary Claret
Joseph M. Viñas, CMF
Translated. by Joseph C. Daries, CMF
With the present study help, the Prefecture General of Formation begins the publication of the collection, “Booklets on Claretian Formation.” The purpose of this series is to provide our formation communities and personnel with a fund of typically Claretian pedagogical materials to help them fulfil their formative mission and task.
Since the Council, a great deal has been written on the formation of young religious throughout the Church. There is, then, a rich, varied and abundant bibliography on formation topics that is readily available to everyone. Nevertheless, through the present collection, the Prefecture General of Formation would like to focus mainly on formation topics referring to our Founder, the Congregation, the Constitutions and other congregational documents. Our aim is to foster and promote in the Congregation a formation in keeping with the Claretian spirit and in pace with our present historical situation.
The opening work of this collection offers the original texts our Founder wrote for the formation of professed students in the Congregation, along with a commentary by Fr. Joseph M. Vinas. We are publishing them with a view to providing our formation leaders and those in formation with easy and direct access to the thought of our Founder in the type of formation that the Missionary Sons of the immaculate Heart of Mary should receive.
These are what we might call “charismatic” texts, since they arose out of our Father Founder’s experience and he desired to transmit them to his Congregation. They reflect his own formative experience, as well as those things that he, after his long and fruitful experience as a Claretian Missionary, deemed to be the central points on which missionary formation, as well as the proper means of attaining it, should be based.
Certainly, they should be read and applied in a adequate fashion. It is not a matter of translating them literally into the current context of formation in the Congregation. Many of them reveal the historical situation in which our Founder lived, and are no longer operative. They must be read in the light of the overall formative and missionary experience of our Founder. The Autobiography and the Constitutions must provide further light to allow us to develop and delve more deeply into them. Moreover they must be studied with a view to the current requirements of our religious life and the mission of the Claretian today. We should discover in them the fundamental lines and core interests of formation that are not only relevant for today, but also those that reflect the charismatic trends that must always be operative in our Claretian Formation.
We hope that our formation centres will find this simple service useful and that it may provide all of us who are committed to the formation of missionaries with a source of Claretian identity, with a deep sense of belonging to the Congregation, and with a broader sensitivity to our missionary and apostolic needs.
Jesùs M. PaIacios CMF
General Prefect of Formation
FORMATION IN THE LIFE AND THOUGHT OF OUR FOUNDER
His Personal Experience
As the first member of his group, a Founder does not have before him a finished principle to identify with. He doesn’t have anyone to imitate. It may truly be said of him that “there is no road before him.” On the other hand, neither is he in search of originality nor is he a totally self-taught man. The heavenly Father has an original plan for him, and he keeps making him aware of it in the situations of his life through the Word of the Gospel. Moreover, through the action of the Spirit, He continues forming and transforming him according to this original dimension in the image of the Son. The Father, “who consecrates and sends him,” makes use of the otherwise common experiences of joys and sorrows, triumphs and disappointments, work and disability. But He illumines these experiences with grace, so that the person who lives them keeps discovering new meaning in them and acquiring an awareness of his vocational identity, from which he eventually emerges as a transformed person.
Saint Anthony Mary Claret shared the same life-experiences as his contemporaries did, such as the war of independence from Napoleon, the revolt of the middle classes, industrialization and mechanized locomotion, but he did so on a deeper and more original level than most of them did. Hence, instead of emerging from it all as a middle-class merchant or industrialist, like so many others, he became an apostolic missionary who, while he undoubtedly espoused the authentic aspirations of his century, was nonetheless a sign of contradiction to its deviations and anti-values.
Our Father Founder had fond memories of the formation he himself had received in his childhood, growing up in a united, serene and hardworking household. His father taught his children by his good example, and by his instructions in catechism, morals and general culture. His mother created an atmosphere of watchful love and concern. Anthony felt loved. His guides were educators and not just teachers.
None of these people who formed him knew what Anthony’s destiny would be, yet all of them were instruments directed by the hand of the Lord who kept on forging his servant into a prophetic sword or fire-tipped arrow. Not even Anthony knew of it, sought it, strove or prayed for it. Later, when his missionary image had taken on its definitive traits, he began in retrospect to retrace the road he had travelled and the meaning of his many different experiences.
In the formative process of his young manhood as a worker, he found help in friendship with older people who shared with him their experience of life.
As a seminarian, he received his formation in the seminary of Vic, which was noted for being “Tridentine,” not in the pejorative sense in which many now use that word, but in the sense that it combined the formation of the heart with formal education. In his Well-Instructed Seminarian and other writings, Anthony recalls the atmosphere of discipline, piety and study that he experienced there. A holy and charismatic bishop encouraged his seminarians toward the heights of priestly perfection and tempered their discipline with the inner law of charity.
Anthony did not live in the seminary as a boarder, but as a day student who lodged in the house of Don Fortian Bres, an exemplary priest who took a sincere interest in him and became a lifelong friend. His spiritual director was Father Peter Bach of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Many of his professors later became his friends.
During this period, Anthony became aware of God’s designs on him as a servant of his glory, an evangelizer in the manner of St. Stephen, filled with the Spirit and a witness of Jesus, standing at the right hand of the Father in glory.
None of the formation structures that were available to him were suited for giving him the formation he needed. A diocesan seminary was simply not geared to shaping an apostolic missionary. Nevertheless, the Spirit made use of these otherwise inept structures, strengthening them from within. Without any clear idea of what Anthony was to become, his bishop perceived something extraordinary about him, so that all his efforts towards furthering Anthony formation served to advance the plan of God for him.
As a newly ordained priest, Anthony tried to adjust to the stable life of a parish priest, but he somehow found it all too confining. He sought an outlet for his zeal by applying for the foreign missions, but his way seemed barred by unforeseen obstacles. As he describes it in his Autobiography and other writings, the whole process of his voyage to Rome and his four-month stay in the Jesuit novitiate was a formative experience. Although his stay was short, it left a deep imprint on him: he learned new and old apostolic forms of serving the Gospel, as well as a style of common life geared to mission. But this form of life, well adapted as it was to an apostolic plan and project, was nevertheless not for him.
When he was licensed as an apostolic missionary, he finally felt he had found his true identity. Having become clear on this matter himself, he could make it clear to others. He recognized, quite humbly, that he had a gift for forming missionaries. When it came time to distribute the various functions within his roughly organized Apostolic Fraternity, he put Canon Caixal in charge of books (the Religious Library), while he reserved for himself the formation of personnel.
As a Founder, he was the first formation director of the little group of men who, though already formed as priests but not yet as missionaries, became the nucleus of his Congregation of Missionaries. He had to initiate them into a truly apostolic style of life and missionary preaching. This formation had to be intense and condensed because of his sudden appointment as Archbishop of Cuba.
During the rest of his life the Founder, though separated from the main core of the Congregation, constantly influenced their formation, through his person, his example, the sharing of his personal experiences in his Autobiography, and through his discreet, though deep and effective interventions on their behalf.
Testimonies to our Father Founder’s Formative Experience
“I received a good nature and disposition from God, out of his sheer goodness” (AUT 18).
“I was barely six years old when my parents sent me to school. My first schoolmaster was a very active and religious man, Mr. Anthony Pascual” (AUT 22).
“Besides having a very good elementary teacher, which, as I have said, is no small gift from heaven, I also had good parents who cooperated with my teacher in moulding my understanding in truth and nurturing my heart in the practice of religion and all the virtues. Every day after lunch, which we ate at a quarter past twelve, my father had me read a spiritual book, and at night we would sit for a while around the table, where he would always tell us something edifying and instructive until it was time for us to retire” (AUT 25).
“My parents and teacher not only instructed me in the truths I had Io believe but also in the virtues I had to practice” (AUT 28).
“I was trained so well in obedience and resignation that I was always content with whatever was done, decided, or given to me by way of food or clothing. I never remember saying ‘I don‘t like this ‘or ‘I want that’ I was so used to thinking like this that even later, when I was a priest, my mother, who was always very fond of me, used to say, ‘Anthony, would you like this? I would always answer, ‘I always like what you like.’ ‘But, ‘she would say, ‘there are always some things we like better than others. ‘And then I’d say, ‘ Whatever you give me is what I like best of all ‘And so she died without finding out what material things I liked the best” (AUT 29).
“(I had) the constant good example of my dear father, who had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament” (AUT 37).
“I had a temptation against my own good mother, who loved me very much and whom I loved in return. I conceived a great hatred and aversion for her, and, to overcome this temptation, I forced myself to treat her with much tenderness and humility.I recollect that when I went to confession and told my director about my temptation and the means I had used to overcome it, he asked me, ‘Who tofd you to do these things?’ I answered, ‘No one, Father.’ Then he told me, ‘It Is God who has been teaching you, son; keep on as you have been doing and be faithful to his grace”(AUT 52).
The Young Worker
“Because I wanted to improve my knowledge of manufacturing techniques, I asked my father to send me to Barcelona. He agreed and took me there” (AUT 56).
“From that day forward (my superintendent) held me in high esteem, and on holidays he used to take me on outings with his sons. His friendship, advice and sound principles were very beneficial to me because he was not only a well-educated man but also a faithful husband to his wife and a good father to his children, a good Christian, and a realist both in principle and in practice. To tell the truth, some of this man’s advice was very useful to someone like me who had been brought up in a small town like Sallent, for at that time the very air we breathed was filled with constitutional ideas” (AUT 61).
“Disenchanted, weary and bored with the world, I considered leaving it for the solitary life of a Carthusian and pursued my studies with this end in view. I felt that I would be failing in my duty if I didn’t tell my father of this decision, and the first chance I had, I did so, during one of his many business trips to Barcelona. He was deeply moved when I told him that i wanted to give up manufacturing. He told me of all the fond hopes he had for me and his business and for the partnership we might have entered. When I mentioned that I wanted to become a Carthusian, his sorrow reached its peak” (AUT 77).
“But as he was a good Christian, he told me,’I don’t want to thwart your vocation, God forbid. Think it over carefully, commend it to God, and consult with your spiritual director. lf he says that this is God’s will, then I respect and worship it however it may pain me. Even so, I’d rather see you become a secular priest than a monk. Whatever happens, may God’s will be done”(AUT 78).
“In the early days of my stay in Vic, I asked whether anyone could recommend a good priest to hear my general confession. I was advised to go to a priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, Father Peter Bach. I made a general confession of my whole life to him and afterward always made my weekly confession with this very good director. It is worth noting that God has used three Fathers of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri to counsel and direct me al the most crucial moments in my spiritual life: Brother Paul and Fathers Anthony Amigo, Canti and Peter Bach” (AUT 85).
“Every year in the seminary chapel, during Lent, we made an eight day retreat, from Sunday Io Sunday. The bishop attended all the morning and evening exercises. I recall that during a sermon one day he said, ‘Perhaps someone will ask why the bishop is spending so much time with the students. I would tell him that I know what I’m doing. If I can have good students now, I’ll have good priests and good pastors later. Think how much more rest I’ll have then!’ “ (AUT 92).
“Before I could leave the parish I had to contend with a great many difficulties both on the part of church superiors and the townspeople, but with God’s help I managed it… I travelled to Tria de Parafita, where I met an Oratorian, Father Matavera, a man of great experience, leaning and virtue, whom I told of my voyage and the reasons for which I was undertaking it, as well as the difficulties I had encountered. The good Father listened to me with great patience and charity and encouraged me to continue in my purpose. I listened to him as if he were an oracle and presently resumed my travels” (AUT 121).
“The Lord did me a great favour in bringing me to Rome and introducing me for however short a time to those virtuous fathers and brothers… It was there that I learned how to give the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and methods for preaching, catechizing, hearing confessions usefully and effectively, as well as many other things that have since stood me in good stead” (AUT 152).
In a letter to a dose personal friend and collaborator who had just entered the Jesuits, he wrote on July 12, 1857: “For some time now, the Lord has been treating me Jesuit-style, that is, taking away from me what I want the most and denying me what I desire the most” (EC I, pp.1275- 76).
FORMATION IN THE CONGREGATION
Our Congregation began in 1849 as an association of secular priests. But little by little it began to experience the need for growth and a definitive structure. The Father Founder’s return from Cuba in 1857 and the election of Fr. Xifré as director General of the Institute opened up the possibility of solving this problem.
In 1858 the Father Founder took a great step forward by advocating the admission of students[i] One great obstacle stood in the way of this desire of the Saint. The disenfranchisement of the Spanish clergy had reduced them to a state of great poverty. Moreover, his missionaries did not accept any remuneration for their ministries. How could they afford the expenses required for the feeding and formation of students? The Saint urged the director general to cast aside all fear; he was convinced that this was God’s work and that the means for carrying it out were bound to come in[ii]. The Saint’s initiative was of crucial importance, because the Congregation was decidedly tending to develop from a priestly association into an autonomous Institute.
The following year, the Father Founder took the necessary steps with the Papal Nuncio to canonically legalize the pursuit of ecclesiastical studies in the houses of the Congregation, which gradually led to the formation of the “Claretian Scholasticate”[iii].
The New Class of Students:
General Chapter of 1862
At the beginning of 1862 the Congregation had already taken some serious steps with a view to its establishment as a religious Institute, by organizing its recruitment policies and regulating its ecclesiastical studies along autonomous lines. But up to that time the small group of students that had been admitted did not constitute a special class or category in the Institute.
From the 7th to the 14th of July, the Congregation held its first General Chapter, properly so-called, in Gracia, which at that time lay just outside the city limits of Barcelona. In it, decisive steps were taken that would lead to the establishment of the Congregation as a religious Institute: the organization of the novitiate, provisions for aspirants, the formula of consecration to the Heart of Mary as the act of incorporation into the Institute, and the gradual introduction of private vows. From this time onwards, the students would become an integral section of the Institute. For this reason the end of number 5 of the Constitutions was revised to read: “The Congregation will be made up of priests, students and coadjutor brothers” [iv]
The “Formative Code”
The establishment of this new class of students logically entailed adding a particular set of legislative rules for students to the 1857 Constitutions, then in force. The minutes of the General Chapter contain no hint of this. But since the Founder drafted them immediately upon his return to Madrid, it seems obvious that this was requested during the Chapter.
To this effect, the Holy Founder wrote as follows to Fr. Xifré on August 2, 1862:
“On Monday of this week (July 28th) I went to see the Brothers of Segovia and was pleased with everything there… I preached to them. I handed Don Clemente (Serrat) the Rules for the Students…, the consecration…, the vows…, so that he could copy them and send them on to you – unless they were lost along the way, as some of the mission verses I sent for you were lost in the mail That’s what I’m afraid of now” [v].
The letter of Fr. Serrat, sending Fr. Xifré the documents he had copied, is dated July 31st. At the end he notes, It seems impossible that he should have written so much” [vi]. The Father Founder must have written all these documents at La Granja, between July 2lst and 27th, 1862.
Until now, we have not been able to locate the handwritten originals of these documents, which are of such value for the Sons of the Heart of Mary. We are acquainted with the contents of the Rule for Students from four different sources: Text A, a copy by Fr. Julian Munarriz based on Fr. Joseph Macia’s copy of Claret’s hand written works; Text B, retouched by the Saint (according to Cardinal Larraona), sent on December 20, 1862 and published toward the beginning of 1863 in a 24-page work, together with the chapters on the novices, under the title “Appendix to the Constitutions” [vii]; Text C, a Latin translation of Text B; and Text D, which Is a new edition of Text C, as redrafted after the Chapter of 1864. The Regulation, according to Text A, must have been intended provisionally as an Appendix to the Constitutions of1857. It consists of 19 paragraphs, beginning with number 166, thus following of the 1857 Constitutions, which ended with number 165. It was first published by Cardinal Larraona in STUDIA CLARETIANA[viii] ,preceded by an introduction on its ongoing and contents. Fr. John M. Lozano later presented it in Constituciones y Textos de la Congregaciòn (Barcelona 1972), pp.289-298.
We are publishing it again in this Notebook for the convenience of those in formation-work or in formation, and the present brief reflection on the Claretian formation of professed students is based on it. To facilitate comparison, we have printed Text A page by page alongside text B, which was printed in 1863 as an appendix to the 1857 Constitutions. The style of Text B is more concentrated, canonical and disciplinary, while that of Text A is more spontaneous and “charismatic.”
Particular Regulation for the Students and the Formation Director
– Fundamental Principle
The whole Regulation Is organized around this fundamental principle:
The Students must at the same time cultivate their understanding through study and their heart through the virtues, but in order to bear fruit they need grace, which Is obtained through piety (cf. n.169).
After an introductory number on the insertion of this regulation in the general rules (n.1 66), three numbers are devoted to piety (nn. 167-169)1 six to the virtues (nn.170-175) and tour on studies (nn.176-179). The Regulation on the “Pedagogue” or Formation Director Is contained in nn.179-188.
– The Aim of Formation
The aim of formation is to become every day more and more fit to promote the greater glory of God and the good of souls; hence in their prayers they shall ask the Lord to make them fit ministers, powerful in words, deeds and examples” (n.1 71) or, as the printed text puts it “fit ministers of his word, in order to extend his name and spread his Kingdom throughout the world” (28b).
The missionary is a minister or servant of the Word, of the Gospel; the student, therefore, is not preparing himself to be an authority or power in the Church, but to be a servant. Among the functions of the ministry, his chosen work is that of prophecy, of evangelization.
The fitness required of him comes from the anointing-consecration of the Spirit, from an apostolic style of life and from suitable doctrine.
The piety which the Father Founder wishes for his students Is:
- Christo-centric, built around the Eucharist as sacrifice and presence;
- biblical for the Missionary is a man of the Word;
- Marian, for the student is a “son of the Heart of Mary;”
- personal, through meditation.
- The Saint recommends all the virtues, but some are more necessary or have distinctive traits in keeping with the student’s situation.
Humility is fundamental in all Christian asceticism, but “students” are especially prone to pride and must therefore be aware “that they have received their talent and everything they have from God,” and that they will have to render an account of the way in which they have made it bear fruit. For this reason, they must never scorn anyone “however short he might be.” In academic surroundings, “short people” are usually left aside or on the margin of things (n.170).
- The second virtue is the “rectitude of intention they must have in their studies,” which has no less an aim than rendering them fit for the ministry.
- The Saint regards “application to study” as a virtue and not just as a duty. Application implies “doggedness, Constance and perseverance.” It has a missionary end in view. But their application should “not lead them to forget the other virtues, or allow their piety and devotion to be suffocated or weakened” (n.171). “Application must be accompanied by obedience and mortification (n.172).
- The Saint also recommends silence, modesty, respect, useful conversation and taking advantage of the time.
The Father Founder is quite broadminded about centres of studies: in the house, at some seminary or in a university. He insisted on the study of languages for preaching and hearing confessions (n. 178). Even during their course of studies, the students had to be initiated in catechesis and preaching.
The Formation Director
In the beginning there was no house destined exclusively to formation. The students lived in a missionary community. The whole community was formative, but one of the Fathers was especially devoted to those in formation. in Text A, the formation director was called the Pedagogue, while in Text B, he was called the Prefect. His role was neither spiritual director of the seminary nor prefect of discipline; he was a brother in community who worked at initiating the students in missionary life. His “assignment” was “to form virtuous, wise and bit missionaries.”
Formation embraced “piety, virtues and sciences, but in a unitary manner: “all at once.”
As for piety, the director should see to it that all make their exercises of devotion “and make them well” For the same reason, he must initiate them in mental prayer and in the fruitful reception of the sacraments: “not out of custom or because it is commanded, but with love, fervour and devotions.” Piety must be personalized, even when the exercises were performed in common. It must moreover be balanced, “for at times there are students who because of their studies abandon the sacraments and prayer, or attend to them poorly, with distaste and as if by force; while there are other students who commit themselves so fervently to receiving the sacraments and to prayer, that they do not fulfil their studies. The latter should be made to understand that they should rein in their devotions somewhat, in order to be able to fulfil their obligations, whereby they’ll please God” (ri.183).
Their asceticism must be practical. The Pedagogue must see to it that the students “exercise themselves in the virtues.” The virtues most recommended are: “humility, modesty, mortification of the senses and passions, and singularly of the will.” But this practice must be illumined by means of instructions and readings.
Study must be programmed and organized. Moreover, pedagogically speaking, difficult subjects should be interspersed with easier subjects, for “thus their studies will be more enjoyable, less tiring – for variety itself is a kind of rest – and much more profitable.”
The formation director must be such “that he inspires trust and veneration,” and therefore he must be “meek and amiable, and at the same time modest and serious.” He must love them all equally and without exception, and in his personal dealings with them he must never lose his temper or speak haughtily or call them by nicknames. However, this must not prevent him from correcting them whenever necessary.
The formation director must also be an identity model, “so that he should shine in his love for the Congregation and in his observance of the Constitutions” (Text B, 37). “The superior must always strive to be one of the most observant and virtuous members of the Congregation” (Text A, n.180).
The Pedagogue must strive to establish union between himself and the students and among the students themselves, and must be in communion and harmony with the Superior, so that there may be a mutual trust between the two of them.
According to the regulation, the students must be initiated into the apostolate, and the Father Founder warmly encouraged this later in a letter to Fr. Xifré. He recommends that the latter distribute the students in houses that are near a seminary, under the care of their formation director “who will remain in the house even though the rest may be away on missions; and thus there will always be a community in the house, and they (the students) can lead the Sunday exercises of the Heart of Mary, recite Rosary and teach Christian doctrine in the church of the Congregation, and thus they will gradually become more practical. For it is very worthwhile for these young men to become at home in these practices. In fact, they may even be put in charge of some things that are compatible with their studies”[ix].
Joseph M. Vinas, CMF June 27, 1987 , Solemnity of the Heart of Mary
“Their total motivation should be to glorify God, whom they should incessantly ask to make them fitting ministers of his word, in order to extend his name and spread his Kingdom throughout the world”.
Copy by Julian Munarriz based on Joseph Marcia’s copy of Claret’s hand written works
Particular Regulation for the Students
166. The Student Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will observe all the practices prescribed for the priests which are compatible with their state, and the following ones as well:
167. They will make the offering of their works. They will have half an hour of mental prayer, at the beginning and end of which they will kneel, but during which they will stand. They will hear or serve Holy Mass and receive communion on the days their Director allows, which will be at least one day each week.
168. They will all have a Holy Bible, and every day they will read two chapters in the morning and another two in the evening; also one chapter each day from Rodriguez, except on Fridays, when instead of Rodriguez they will read the Passion of Jesus, and on Saturdays, when they will read of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
169. The students must at once cultivate their understanding and heart, in which they will sow the seeds of learning and virtue. And as the earth, however well tilled, will yield nothing unless it is watered, so it will be with the students; they must provide the water or moisture of piety. They will make their prayers carefully and fervently, and have a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, to Mary Most Holy, to St. Michael, to St. Aloysius Gonzaga, etc.
170. They must desire and long to acquire all virtues, but they must begin with humility of understanding and will. Hence, they will reject every thought of vainglory, overweening and pride. They should not be complacent over those tasks they succeed in, nor should they want others to praise them. When this occurs, they should refer the whole matter to God, reflecting that they have received their talent and all that they have, from God, and that they must render it all to Him. Otherwise they will be no more than thieves o! God’s glory, and will deserve to have the Lord withdraw His grace from them. They must never hold everyone either in contempt nor preference, no matter how short he may be; for ordinarily, the shortest are the most humble, and not a few times God avails himself of them for great undertakings in His Church. Let them always recall the words of Jesus, who tells them: “learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
171. If humility is the is first virtue the students must strive to acquire, the second must be the uprightness of intention they should have in their studies, which should indeed aim at nothing less than growing daily ever fitter to promote the greater glory o! God and the good of souls. For this reason, they shall ask the Lord in prayer to make them his suitable ministers, powerful in word, work and example. The third virtue of the students must be application to study. Hence, they will apply themselves doggedly, constantly and perseveringly, but must so apply themselves to studies, that they do not neglect the other virtues, nor allow studies to stifle or weaken their piety or devotion.
173. The students will obey and respect their Professors, and will never criticize or murmur about them. They will listen to them docilely and profit from their lessons. They will mull over and repeat the main things that their Professors have said. If they have not understood anything well, they should ask about it. And so as not to forget, they should briefly take some notes.
176. lf they speak with other students before or after classes in the Seminary or University, it must always be about sciences or matters of virtue, but never about the news or other things of the world.
175a. Studies may be taken in the house, or in some Seminary or University, as the Superior disposes.
177. The Superior will see to it that on Sundays, feast days and during vacation time, the students exercise themselves in teaching Christian doctrine, in writing or copying some talks or sermons, and even in saying them, leaning them well in advance, making trial of gestures, voice and other particulars, according to the rules of oratory, which they must strive to know.
178. During the months of vacation or in free time between terms, they will review the principles of the Castilian language, and Catalans will review the Catalan language, with a view Io expressing themselves most properly in the pulpit. Moreover they will all learn the French language, which is now a days a necessity for hearing the confessions of foreigners.
1 72b. They shall exercise mortification, refraining from reading newspapers, novels and books other than those assigned them by the Preceptor or Director, even though they deal with the same matter they are studying in class, recalling the adage: Pluribus lntentus minor est ad singula sensus. Nevertheless, if some student has such memory and talent that he has extra time after learning and understanding his lessons, let him tell the one in charge and suitable arrangements will be made for him.
Particular Regulation for the Pedagogue of the Students of the Congregation
179. The Pedagogue will be elected by the local Superior, for the time he deems suitable. It should always be seen to that he be one of the most observant and virtuous members of the Congregation.
181. The Pedagogue will think of the excellence of the assignment entrusted to him, which is no less than the forming of virtuous, wise and fitting missionaries. Oh, what a great reward awaits him in heaven if he fulfils it well. For if teaching the ignorant is so meritorious, what will be the merit of the pedagogue who teaches the students of the Congregation to be good themselves and fit for saving the souls of their neighbours?
180. Between the Superior and the Pedagogue there must always be the greatest harmony possible, so that the Superior may put full trust in the pedagogue and the latter may tell the Superior everything good or bad about the students and consult the same Superior on the means he deems prudent to put in action in order to remove some defect, acquire some virtue, or advance in piety and the sciences. But he will not alter anything without consulting him first.
182. Three things must be promoted carefully in the students, to wit: piety, the virtues and sciences, and all of them at once. As to piety, the Pedagogue will take care that none of the students fails to attend the spiritual exercises and practices of devotion, that all make them and make them well, and to this end he will teach them the way to make mental prayer, how they must hear Holy Mass and how they are to receive the holy Sacraments of penance and communion, not out of habit or because it is commanded, but with love, fervour and devotion, deriving more graces from these Sacraments each time, always taking care that a holy balance be kept. For sometimes there are students who, because of their studies, abandon the Sacraments and prayer, or attend to them poorly, with distaste and as if by force; while there are other students who commit themselves so fervently to receiving the Sacraments, to prayer and pious readings, that they do no comply with their duty to study. The latter should be made to understand that they must curb their devotions somewhat, in order to be able to fulfil their obligations well, whereby they will please God.
183. The Pedagogue must see to it that the students, besides their devotions, should exercise the virtues, especially humility, modesty, mortification of their senses and passions, and in a singular way, of their will. To acquire those and other virtues, they will profit much from reading Rodriguez, Scaramelli and others, as well as from the talks that must be given them.
184. The Pedagogue will take care that the students do not waste their time miserable, but that they take good advantage of it. The Pedagogue and the Superior will together form a plan or distribution of the time according to the classes and occupations of the students. Experience has taught that students, though adult and advanced in their career, profit more during study periods when they are all gathered in a common hall or room, watched over by the Pedagogue, so that no one is allowed to leave until the time set aside for study is completed. And if anyone is gifted with such a bright talent and facile memory that he knows and understands the lesson before the others do, he should be assigned books and other classes so that he may profit from them, and will thus be usefully employed, seeing that he cannon leave the common room until the time set aside for study is finished.
185. It is not fitting to burden the students each day with a long lesson on difficult subjects, because this troubles and tires them greatly. It is better to assign them a regular lesson, allowing them time to take another class in easy and agreeable subjects such as languages, natural sciences, etc. Thus their studies will be more enjoyable, less tiring – for variety is itself a kind of rest – and much more profitably.
186. There are three reasons why some students do harm to themselves:
187. The Pedagogue of the students of the Immaculate Heart of Mary must be meek and amiable, and at the same time modest and grave. He should never lose his temper or speak haughtily or call them nicknames. When someone makes a mistake or does not know his lesson for lack of application or for any other culpable cause, the Pedagogue shall warn him of it and if necessary he will apply the penance that the Superior deems suitable.
Appendix to constitutions 1862
On the Missionary Students
25. The Students Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, besides the rules for the priests that the Superior deems compatible for them, will faithfully observe the following:
26. They will hear or serve Holy Mass, will make their confession with the person designated by their Superior and will receive Communion on Vigils and Feast days, if their Director allows them to do so.
27. To their daily spiritual reading, they will add those chapters of the Holy Scripture which their Superior assigns them.
27b. They will painstakingly till and water their understanding and heart, sowing in them the seeds of learning and virtue; for, as the earth does not bear fruit unless it is tilled and watered, neither will the Student Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary bear fruit, unless they till and water their spirit with the water of devotion and piety. Hence they will make their prayer fervently and carefully; they will spiritedly visit the blessed sacrament and have a special devotion to Mary Most Holy, to St. Michael, to St. Aloysius Gonzaga and the Patron Saints of the Congregation.
28a. They shall lay a very deep foundation in humility. Hence they should flee as quickly as they can from every stirring of pride, which is the beginning of all sin. They should shake off all thoughts of vanity, never speak of themselves and take no pleasure in what others say of them; rather, they should refer everything to God, in the conviction that they have received everything from God and that of themselves they are nothing but nothingness ad sins. Hence they should not prefer themselves to anyone, no matter how short of talent he may be, always remembering the saying of Jesus: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” In order to exercise this virtue, they will wait on table and wash dishes, etc., whenever the Superior tells them to, and it would even be better if they themselves should ask to do so.
28b. Their total motivation should be to glorify God, whom they should incessantly ask to make them fitting ministers of his word, in order to extend his name and spread his Kingdom throughout the world.
29. They will obey their Superiors blindly and promptly, without complaint or resentment, in all things where there is no sin, and in this way they will please God. Therefore they shall subject themselves gladly and with a will to profit by the practices that are established or may be established for the acquisition of learning or virtue.
32. They will pay attention and reverence to Professors or Deans and always speak well of them. They will listen docilely, and so as not to forget, at a fitting time they will write a brief résumé of what they have heard, unless, for a just reason, something else is arranged. They will never criticize them or murmur against them.
33. With other students they will always act quite amiably; but they will speak little and only of scientific or virtuous matters, never of pastimes, political news, and much less of what is done or said in the Congregation.
34. Studies whether in theology or in any other subject, may be made in the house, in Conciliar Seminaries or in Universities, according to the disposition of the Superior, who may, besides class subjects proper, add those others which he deems fitting in the Lord, in view of the time and disposition of the individual.
35. On feast days and during vacations, besides reviewing the matters explained during the year, they should be occupied in the study of languages, in the exercise of catechizing or in something else proper in their state, as the Superior may dispose.
36a. They will speak correctly, and in the language they are ordered to
36b. And as it is necessary to attend to their health, even though they must study or debate all the time assigned them, they must nevertheless not allow themselves to be carried away by their passion for study to spend more time than is demanded or allowed, or by studying books or authors independently of the Superior.
On the Prefect of the Students
37. The Prefect, who will also be elected by the Director General and Sub director, will be immediately in charge of the students. This office is most excellent and important, as well for its aim and object as for its results. If converting one sinner is of itself so meritorious a work, what will be the merit for forming suitable ministers who in their own time will be instruments for the salvation of many? Therefore, he who is entrusted with so delicate a charge will be well informed as to his duties, which he shall strive to carry out with the greatest perfection and care. These duties will be:
1) To set a good example, so that he may shine in his love for the Congregation and his observance of the Constitutions.
3) To watch day and night over the punctual and exact fulfilment of the prescribed practices and the observance of the rules.
4) To give the student Missionaries the instructions in piety, good manners and learning which the Superior has assigned, seeing to it that virtue be always preferred to learning, but without neglecting the latter, for holiness and learning are the two feet of the missionary: both of them are essential.
5) Strongly to inculcate on them obedience, humility, modesty, and the mortification of the senses, of the passions, and especially of the will.
6) To see to it that all know their lessons perfectly, and to text them thoroughly before they go to class; he can never dispense them in this matter.
7) Never to permit, still less authorize anyone to go down to the parlour alone, or to go alone to class or any other place. This is a matter of great responsibility.
8) To love all equally and without partiality; to endeavour to know their afflictions and needs; to be well informed about their health, and should this be failing, to inform the Superior and employ the suitable means to this effect.
9) Not to burden them with lessons that are too long; but if someone has such a talent for studies that he does not need as much time as the rest, then by agreement with the Superior, ho will be assigned those authors and subjects to which ho should devote himself.
10) To see that no one impairs his heath by studying or writing after meals, or by having bad posture while he is studying or writing, or by kneeling too long while he is at prayer.
11) Finally, the Prefect of students of the Immaculate Heart of Mary can also be the Novicemastor, or if not, he can have an assistant, depending on the number of individuals or circumstances that occur. But in either case ho should be gentle, kind, modest and grave, so that he inspires all with trust and veneration. Therefore ho will never show them that ho is angry at them, and still less call them names or use abusive language. And whenever it is necessary to correct them, ho should do so with great charity, informing the Superior if the desired amendment fails.
[ix] Letter to Fr. Xifré, September 17, 1867, in EC II, p. 199. Four years earlier, on May 1, 1863, he had written to encourage Fr. Xifré to take over the Church at La Merced in Vic in the name of the Congregation, so that the students might be initiated into the apostolate there (cf. EC II, pp. 650-651).