Chapter 5: Period between te years 1922-1966- Second Part

Chapter 5: Period between the years 1922-1966


 IV. Vocational and Formative Documents

1. Vocations

1.1. The Work of Claretian Vocations

The “scarcity of personnel” was the constant concern in the deliberations of the XV General Chapter of Castelgandolfo (1949). This theme would determine the opening of new apostolic fronts and the constitution of new organisms. “Fostering and increasing vocations” is insistently presented as a remedy and, among other things, it is decided:

“In order to attain these aims, the Vocation Work should be established in all Provinces with the co-operation of the Claretian Collaborators. In the General Curia the Vocations Secretariat should also be established to organise and stimulate the propaganda movement.”[1]

The Manual of Regulations of the Work of Claretian Vocations is published in Annales, in 1950[2]. The Work is established in the Curia and, at the same time, also in the Curia, the “Vocations Secretariat” is created. As an important consideration, the Claretian Collaborators would be “like a powerful arm of the Work”[3].

The General Direction of the Work publishes in 1951 a small treatise, The Vocation Recruiter, with very precise methodological orientations for vocational promotion[4].

1.2. The Secretariat for Claretian Vocations

In 1962 a new Secretariat for Claretian Vocations is created, which, as it appears, tries to improve on what was previously done[5]. Its brief Book of Regulations makes reference to the manual of regulations of the Work and adopts Fr. Schweiger’s circular on vocations (1955), quoted several times in the previous chapter, and the conclusions of the vocational encounters held around that time.

2. Postulants

In 1962, the General Prefecture of Formation published the Manual of the Claretian Seminarian[6]. It is an update of the Espejo del Postulante [Mirror of the Postulant], which was becoming obsolete.

The manual consists of three parts “Espíritu” (formative lines), “Devocionario” (Devotional practices and prayers for all time and various circumstances) and “Cantoral” (with liturgical and congregation songs). Although the book still keeps some obsolete practices that would have been better to omit, however, it maintains some formative nuclei worth emphasising:

2.1. Strong Claretian Tone

From the very beginning, the manual introduces the postulant into the reading and meditation of the “definition of the missionary Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” and of the “consoling promise,” as a vocational and formative stimulus. It gathers typically congregational prayers and songs. And it presents old traditions and customs of the Congregation (praying the Hail Mary every hour, etc…)

2.2. Liturgical Spirit

Echoing the latest orientations of the Church, the manual stimulates the awareness of the importance of the formation and constant living out of liturgy.

2.3. Piety and Charity

In addition to other virtues (humility, chastity, modesty, etc…), the manual gives maximum importance to piety and chastity, in keeping with the tradition of the Congregation: “before and above everything else, they should be truly and solidly pious” and “as beloved Sons of the Heart of Mary, they should have a heartfelt devotion to their heavenly Mother”[7]. And “as dearly beloved Sons of the same Mother, they should love each other, so that Jesus may recognise them as his own, the Mother may put her pleasure in them, and the Seminary may become an image of Paradise”[8].

2.4. The Prefect and Spiritual Direction

The Prefect is “the immediate superior of the seminarians” and, therefore, the person responsible for their formation. The manual especially underscores the personal accompaniment. They should “frequently” have personal dialogues with him, open their heart to him and submissively listen to him[9].

3. Novices

With the passing of years, the coming of the new Code of Canon Law and our particular law, the development of the Congregation and the changing times and circumstances of the formation, the need to write a new treatise for the formation of the novices became obvious. Very sensibly, the Superiors of the Congregation thought of drafting another work that would be “original and our own, containing the unmistakable spirit of our Fr. Founder and of the first Missionaries of the Institute”[10].

Thus was born the idea of the treatise El Novicio Instruido, written by Fr. Raymond Ribera in 1931[11]. The book, which also takes into consideration certain pedagogical aspects from other religious Institutes and Orders our Congregation can benefit from, is deeply and totally Claretian. It contains abundant references to the Word of God, to the Heart of Mary and to the Congregation. El Novicio Instruido gives maximum importance to the practice of spiritual life (methods of prayer, days of recollection, retreats, examen, spiritual reading, etc…); to living out the vows; to the practice of virtues; and to the internalisation of the Constitutions, life project of the Congregation, and of the congregational traditions. These practices should be done in a community that fully and totally lives the Claretian life and knows how to transmit to the novice the experience of the congregational life.

The following could be highlighted as important formative aspects:

3.1. Objective of the Noviciate

In El Novicio Instruido, the noviciate is described as a time that precedes religious profession in order to test the vocation of the novice and to lay the foundations of all virtues. That is to say, a period

“for the Novice to discern if it would be convenient for him to embrace religious life, and for the Congregation to examine and test if it would be proper to admit the Novice among its members; also, so that during it, the foundations of all virtues may be laid (Const. P. I, ch. XXIV)”[12].

Under a different aspect, the Noviciate is also presented as a time during which the novices may be formed in the true spirit of the Congregation in order to be genuine Sons of the Heart of Mary, tireless apostles and heralds of divine glory[13].

3.2. Personalised formation: self-formation

Fr. Ribera calls personal formation “self-formation”[14]. When we speak of self-formation, we are not emphasising individualism[15]. The other formation agents must always be taken into account, namely: God, the Superiors and the community[16]. What is being emphasised is the novice’s personal implication in his own formation, always in line with the congregational project and in consonance with the orientations of the formators. Self-formation implies certain principles, such as:

“The first thing a young person needs in order effectively to co-operate in his own formation is knowing the psycho-physiological heredity he has received, to wit, his physical constitution and temperament, which are the natural basis and the most important element of his moral character;(…)”.[17]

“The young novice should also reflect on the first education he received in his family, (…).”[18]

“It is important also that the young person in formation know the level of his talent or ability, of his capacity to understand the nature of things, of his memory to learn and to retain, of his attention and concentration;…).”[19]

“Self-formation comprises also the resolved determination on the part of each one to form or perfect in oneself naturally virtuous habits,(…).”[20]

“Lastly, we recommend, for the self-formation of our young novices, the attentive and frequent reading of some treatises of both intellectual and moral education,(…).”[21]

Consequently, the novices should totally devote themselves to laying the foundation of virtues with great desire and interest, eagerness and application, involving themselves in this task with all their spiritual energy, all the strength of their heart and all their personal capabilities. And in order that this determination may not be purely idealistic, they should give themselves to the practice of those virtues, using the most effective means for the consecution of their intended aim[22].

3.3. Upright Intention

Fr. Ribera, speaking about upright intention[23], considers this spiritual dimension as a sanctifying element of the first order[24]. The upright intention gives meaning to every dimension of the life of the novice, orienting it only towards God, to doing his will and to being concerned about his interests. In this way, the novice will also grow in human maturity and affective balance, giving his life an optimistic and positive meaning, and seeking always the welfare of others[25].

For the upright intention to be authentic, it must be purified from other intentions or motivations that may distort it. This may easily happen in the noviciate, because of the inexperience of the novice[26]. In general, there are three motivations that usually distort the upright intention of seeking the glory of God in one’s works: vanity or vain self-esteem, self-complacency and human respect[27].

In order to form oneself, in a practical way, in uprightness of intention, the first step is removing the motivations that distort it, by means of continuous watchfulness and personal renewal. In the second place, offering all our actions to God from early morning. And thirdly, renewing this offering in each and every one of the actions we do, in our prayers and recreations, in manual labours, etc…[28]

3.4. Observance of the Constitutions

In addition to instruction and the study of religious life, one of the duties of a novice is the painstaking observance of the Constitutions. Other duties are the practice of the virtues proper of religious life, especially those related to the vows and those pointed out in the Constitutions, as well as the constant exercise of prayer and meditation. In the same way, with regard to personality, the novice should strive to acquire self-control and mastery of his judgement, will and passions, the reform of his character and of his external behaviour, in line with the spirit of the Congregation[29]. The novice should learn to perform the spiritual acts proper both of the religious and of the Congregation[30]. He should also strive to practice the missionary virtues that emanate from our condition as religious and from our Claretian vocation[31], and to behave in a manner worthy of a Son of the Heart of Mary[32].

3.5. Instruction and Study

A very important act is the participation of the novices in ascetical conferences given them by the Novicemaster on religious life, the Constitutions and the Congregation. The aim of these conferences is:

“to instruct the Novice in everything that concerns religious life and the virtues that should enhance it.”[33]

It is necessary to attend the conferences (as well as the community sermons) with the same spirit of faith with which the Apostles listened to the instructions given by the Master, with attention, docility and desire to benefit from them[34].

In keeping with what is prescribed in our legislation, it gives some orientations on the matters that should be studied in particular[35]. In the first place, the novices are purposely not permitted to devote themselves to the study of sciences, arts and letters during the time of the Noviciate. They are only permitted briefly and moderately to review the sciences and subjects they may have learned in previous years. They should also memorise the holy Constitutions, at least the main chapters, and other selected spiritual documents. It is left to the judgement of the Novicemaster to decide which texts should be memorised. Normally, it was customary to make them memorise the chapters of the first part of the Constitutions that applied, or would later apply, to the novices, and almost the entire second part; also the Catechism and the common prayers. It was also desirable for them to memorise some texts from Sacred Scriptures[36] and from the Church Fathers.

One of the objectives of spiritual reading is “to enlighten the intellect and nourish the spirit with fruitful truths that are the nourishment of the soul.” Hence, the following are recommended: first of all, the Sacred Scriptures, especially the New Testament; then ascetical works of sound doctrine and the lives of the Saints, especially of our Claretian brothers who were outstanding for their virtue, and of religious and missionary saints[37]. Moreover, the reading of the works about the spirit of the Congregation is taken for granted[38].

For all this, the Noviciate has been and must always be dynamically structured and organised to attain this objective, as a “school of experience” of religious and congregational life.

3.6. Virtues

Fr. Ribera is not content with a pedagogical commentary on the virtues proper of the novices according to the chapter “de probandis”[39]. What is really interesting is that he begins the section about virtues with “charity, the fundamental virtue, origin and motive power of all the others”[40]. It is the most necessary virtue for a missionary, according to our Fr. Founder[41], and the first one that persons in formation should seek[42].

3.7. Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is an expression of docility to the Spirit and of responsible co-operation with the Novicemaster in searching for God’s will.

Though not obligatory[43], it is highly recommended by the Church, by our Father Founder[44] and by the Congregation as a most efficacious means to overcome the difficulties in our vocational road and to stimulate our own sanctification[45].

In “El Novicio Instruido” a practical method is presented for conducting the dialogue with the Master, indicating the attitudes that should be awakened and the points that should be elaborated. These points comprise in a dynamic way the whole personality of the novice[46].

Normally and in a general way, it is advisable to do the spiritual accounting monthly, on the recollection day. However, the tradition of the Congregation in our formation centres is to do it weekly in our Noviciates and at least every fifteen days in our Scholasticates[47].

4. Professed

As we said when we spoke of the regulations for the postulants and of the spiritual practices for the novices, “El Novicio Instruido” is valid also for the professed, with the proper adaptations[48]. Furthermore, the last part of the book (Section Five) is dedicated to the newly professed (students and brothers)[49].

In this section “certain advices” are given to students and brothers lest they lose the spirit they acquired in the noviciate. These advices are also expected to strengthen the newly professed in that spirit, help them grow in all virtues, advance in the way of holiness they have started, and adequately prepare themselves for the renewal of vows.

5. Ordo Studiorum Generalis (O.S.G.)

5.1. Drafting and Revision

The XII General Chapter was celebrated in Vic between the months of August-October of 1922, several years after the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law (1917). Among other things, it asked for a new ordination of studies in the Congregation.

An ad-hoc commission worked for seven years on the drafting of the Plan until August 1929. On 12 November of that same year, upon the approval of the General Government, Fr. Nicholas García, Superior General, promulgated it “ad experi­mentum” under the name of Ordo Studiorum Generalis pro Missionariis Congregationis Filiorum Imm. Cordis Beatae Mariae Virginis, commonly known as O.S.G[50].

In addition to the Chapter orientations, this Plan of Studies gathered the proposals of the Congregation channelled through the Prefectures of Study, and other documents of the Holy See, of Religious Institutes and Congregation, of Church Seminaries and Universities. The 1929 O.S.G. was in vigour in the entire Congregation for almost thirty years.

However, an important event was to bring about its revision and adaptation. On 31 May 1956, Pope Pius XII promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Sedes Sapientiae with the General Statutes. It asked the religious Congregations and Institutes to adapt their Plans of Studies to the norms and orientations of this Apostolic Constitution. Our Congregation carried out the requested adaptation and promulgated it on 7 March 1959, after almost three years of work[51].

5.2. Some Orientations

1st. In addition to the ecclesiastical subject matters, the 1929 O.S.G. presents a broad overview of humane learning to be studied during the academic year or during vacation times[52].

In order to broaden the academic, cultural and professional formation, in addition to the properly ecclesiastical matters, the 1959 O.S.G. establishes other auxiliary and special matters[53]. It also offers the possibility for certain students to undertake special studies commensurate with their capabilities[54].

2nd. The entire academic formation is oriented toward mission. However, our legislation and our plans of studies established lines of pastoral formation, theoretical as well as practical, in order to complete the apostolic formation.

The 1929 O.S.G. prescribed all kinds of continuous practical exercises for a better assimilation of the subject matters[55], apostolic experiences during the theology course[56] and a fifth theoretical and practical year as immediate preparation for the ministry[57]. And the 1959 O.S.G. dedicated more ample and explicit legislation to the pastoral aspects. Thus it insisted on the pedagogical value of practical exercises to delve into the subject matters, develop critical sense and make the application to the real situation[58], in view of the need to undergo apostolic experiences throughout the whole course of studies[59]. It also gave guidelines for the organisation of a Pastoral Year for the newly ordained[60].

 V.  General Chapters

1.  XII General Chapter. Vich 1922[61]

This was a very important Chapter. In addition to adapting our legislation (Constitutions and General Dispositions) to the new Canon Law, important decisions were made regarding formation. Among them was the drafting of a new Plan of Studies[62].

1.1. Criteria for admission[63]

The questionnaires that the candidates must fill up are directed to a better knowledge of the persons, in view to a better screening and formation of the same. It is good to underscore the following concrete criteria for admission:

1st. In principle, those persons who in time may be needed by their parents or grandparents should not be admitted. Those who are under paternal authority need the permission of their parents or tutors.

2nd. At the time of admission, the candidate should make a written declaration clearly and freely accepting certain conditions set forth by the Congregation[64]. In the same way, he should declare that he accepts that, should he leave the Congregation before the profession, everything that he brought when he entered will be returned to him. But, should he make his profession, even for the first year, everything will become the property of the Congregation, with the exception of whatever may be considered hereditary property.

1.2. Persons in Formation

Regarding the persons in formation, the Chapter gives some dispositions for the various formation stages. Thus,

1st. The postulants comply with the aspirancy prescribed in the Constitutions, and even the immediate preparation for the Noviciate, by being formed in our minor seminaries[65].

2nd. Before their profession, all novices should know “that, should they hide some excluding impediment or some hidden sickness, the Superiors have no intention to admit them, thus making the profession invalid”[66]. In such case, they may be dismissed or perpetually disqualified for any positions in the Congregation. Therefore, three months before the first profession, at the time of making his written request for admission into the Congregation, the novice should make a declaration of intentions in the sense set forth by the Congregation[67].

The novices who, during the noviciate year, find themselves in danger of death, may profess in articulo mortis with permission from the superiors, depending on the situations[68].

The Master should explain to the novices n. 56 of the Part One of the Constitutions according to the sense given by the Chapter[69].

3rd. The students should not be admitted either to tonsure or to minor or major orders, if they should not declare in writing that they have a firm resolution to reach the priesthood[70]. Major Superiors, in keeping with the orientations of the Church and of the Constitutions[71], are not obliged to promote the students to sacred orders, but may postpone them whenever they deem it convenient[72].

Lastly, the Chapter gives certain guidelines and norms on the transfer of brothers to students and vice versa, the confessors in our formation centres and the examinations for sacred orders[73].

1.3. Brothers

The Chapter approved some conclusions regarding the brothers, among them, that of placing good Ministers in charge of the brothers. Ministers who would be true formators and spiritual animators, capable of helping them in their prayer life and in their on-going formation specially through spiritual and doctrinal conferences[74].

1.4. Formation for the Missions

Taking into account “our missionary character and (…) the idea of our Venerable Father,” the Chapter asks that the Superior General open Missions in various parts of the world. To this end, among other things, it insists on the fact that “it is necessary to prepare the Missionaries, either in a School of Missions, or in the Missions themselves, before they are sent to the ministry. They should study Pastoral Theology and the Rubrics, Languages, customs and practices of the pagans”[75].

1.5. Abandonment of the Congregation

One of the important matters that the XII General Chapter studied was the the “causes and remedies” of abandonment of the Congregation.

“It is a lamentable fact that many individuals do not persevere in the Congregation, as they had one happy day promised God and the Congregation itself. Without exaggerating their number, which is certainly considerable, it is the duty of the Chapter to study the causes of the deficiencies and recommend suitable remedies.”[76]

1st. Among the real causes of abandonment that the Chapter mentions, the following are listed: laxity in admitting to profession or ordination persons who are not suited; deficiency in their formation; the “demoralisation” of the newly professed by persons lacking in religious and inspiring behaviour; lack of tact and prudence on the part of some superiors; lack of charity toward the brethren, especially toward the Coadjutor Brothers; preoccupation with family needs; care of one’s own health; bad example of those who have left; indifference towards one’s commitment to vocational fidelity; carelessness in speaking about the abandonment of vocation and, in America, about taking on work outside the Congregation[77].

2nd. The remedies suggested to foster vocational fidelity, in the light of these causes, are accompanied, in some cases, with pedagogical suggestions and administrative as well as juridical proceedings, such as these:

In screening vocations, those candidates whose parents may be presumed to need their material help should not be admitted; more should be demanded in the formation and in admission to profession or orders; selection of good formators; special care for the newly professed, ordained and in the assignment of the coadjutor brothers; promoting the spirit of piety and observance through Prefects for spiritual matters; helping in a special way those who are spiritually most in need, etc…[78]

2. XIII General Chapter. Rome 1934[79]

The Chapter was very important, especially because of the new impulse given to academic formation.

2.1. Formative Plans

The Chapter decreed the “drafting of an Ordo pietatis and an Ordo disciplinae which, together with the Ordo studiorum, would form the basis of the education of our members[80].

2.2. Studies

Regarding studies, a compilation of 26 conclusions was approved, among which we highlight the following, because of their importance[81]:

1st. The Prefect of studies. His figure is kept as it stands in the O.S.G. and his job is the direction of studies under the dependence of the Rector. This figure, which in no way prevents the action of the Prefect of Students, is necessary to give impulse, direction and unity to the studies. What is indeed convenient, by reason of harmony and discipline, is to consult and listen to the Prefect of Students whenever necessary (con. 1).

2nd. Personalised formation. In order to foster the special aptitudes of the students and the progress in learning, there should be, in addition to the regular subjects, “some other special subjects obligatory” for those designated by the Academic Counsel, after consulting with the Superior and the Prefect of Students (con. 2-3).

3rd. Apostolate. There should be no class on Sundays. They should devote themselves to the Lord’s Day’s rest, to the practice of Catechesis and the sacred functions. However, the classes of Music and Religion should be kept (con. 11). The latter should keep “their traditional character that has been so beneficial to the formation of our Students” (con 12).

4th. Formation of Formators. “The scientific preparation of professors and the technical and pedagogical formation of those who are destined to be Prefects and Masters of our students” should be fostered. In addition to their life’s witness, they should shine for a good preparation in “ascetics and ecclesiastic and religious pedagogy.” A Ratio formationis that should gather together the experience of so many years of the Congregation’s life could be of help towards this formation (con. 14).

5th. Mariology. The Chapter establishes “the creation of a chair of scientific Mariology in our Faculty of Theology. This chair should gather, in addition, other Marian aspects, such as liturgical, poetic, artistic manifestations, but always with a mainly scientific background, with a view to organising a complete doctrinal body on the Heart of Mary” (con. 13).

6th. O.S.G. Keeping in mind the fundamental principles set forth and approved by the Chapter, it is requested from the Fr. General that, after a sufficient period of experimentation, a complete revision of the O.S.G. be made. This revision would “give the Congregation its definitive Ratio Studiorum, on which its academic formation should be based” (con. 16).

2.3. Reading of Newspapers in our Formation Centres

The general criteria given by the Chapter regarding the reading of dailies and periodicals in our communities do not apply to the students in our seminaries. In a stricter sense, neither should those magazines be permitted that may have a negative effect in the good moral or intellectual formation of our students. Nevertheless, the Superior should provide some means to keep the students informed about the news that are deemed necessary[82].

2.4. Study and Use of Languages

The Chapter strongly recommended that all should study and use the languages of the regions they are assigned to, and gave concrete guidelines on how they should behave in those regions, both in community and in apostolic life. As a criterion for discernment, the Chapter asked that, in addition to the norms of the Ordinaries and of the Major Superiors, “the usefulness of the ministries and, above all, charity, courtesy and harmony be always kept in mind”[83].

2.5. Brothers

The theme of the Brothers was one of the concerns of the Chapter. Their spiritual life, vocational status and situation in the Congregation were studied and reflected upon.

The Chapter urged all the persons-in-charge (Superiors, Masters and Ministers) to attend to and, with utmost care watch, the formation of the brothers, especially the young ones. They should take care of their health and welfare, in keeping with the religious state and family life, hoping in their turn to obtain a positive response on the part of the brothers in their behaviour and the fulfilment of their religious obligations[84].

2.6. Preparation for Perpetual Profession

The Chapter also accepted and echoed the Instruction given by the General Government[85] on how our young, students and brothers should prepare themselves for perpetual profession[86].

2.7. Apostolic Noviciate

The theme of Apostolic Noviciate, which was studied from different angles by the commission on observance and by the juridical and government commissions, was approved for the young priests who were finishing the five years after priestly ordination. It was a plan to offer our missionaries, before they were assigned to a fully apostolic life, a year of perfection and sanctification under the direction of a Master or Prefect[87].

2.8. Foundation of an International College in Rome

The Chapter studied the possibility of establishing in Rome an International College, under the authority of the Superior General, to complete the common studies and obtain specialisations. After a long discussion and putting their trust in God and the Blessed Virgin, it came to this decision:

“1. The establishment of an International College of Higher Learning in Rome is approved, leaving to the Superior General with his Counsel the determination of the nature, functioning and other conditions of the aforesaid College. 2. The Chapter accepts the vote of the Commission that the establishment of the College be done as soon as possible, leaving, however, the determination of this possibility to the judgement of the Superior general with his Counsel.”[88]

3. XIV General Chapter. Albano 1937[89]

3.1. Formation of Personnel

The Chapter distinguished between the passive element (persons in formation) and the active element (formators), and offered the following guidelines:

1st. Regarding the Passive Element of Formation[90];

a)  Vocational screening. The Chapter recommended increasing the screening of vocations and gave various criteria therefor. Concretely, it decreed:

* that illegitimate children should not be admitted, even if they should have later been legitimated by their parents’ wedding.

* that blood analysis should be made in order to detect any “predisposition to sicknesses that often develop in later years,” which make people unfit for religious and priestly life.

* that the health background of their grandparents and, at times, of their uncles and aunts be studied.

* that candidates who do not show signs of vocation should be dismissed at an early stage[91].

* that subjects who, after due probation, remain with an unclear vocation should not be admitted to the noviciate or to profession.

b)  Formation. Considering that the task of formation should last for life, the Chapter, in this matter, asked:

* that the Superiors and Ministers should take care of the young priests and the newly professed brothers.

* that, taking into account that “it is truly dangerous for a good missionary religious formation” to send the newly ordained priests to their own country, the Father General should promote effective interchanges between persons of different nations and provinces.

* that the next Superior General should put into effect the resolution of the previous General Chapter regarding the apostolic Noviciate[92].

2nd. Regarding the Active Element of Formation

Lamenting the scarcity of well-prepared personnel available in the Congregation, the Chapter asked for a better formation of formators. At the same time, it indicated certain guidelines and means to overcome this important lacuna[93].

Regarding the formators of Brothers, the Chapter asked that the ministers be true spiritual fathers of the Brothers; it insisted, it once more recommended and prescribed that they should take care of their formation, continuing and bringing to completion the formation that was started in the noviciate[94].

3.2. Study

The Chapter amply and deeply reflected on theme of study. It gave a wide range of orientations and guidelines with a great missionary vision of the future of the Congregation.

Wishes and Proposals were discussed. The former were orientations for the General Government with a view to the organisation of studies. The latter were indications that were transmitted to the General Commission for Studies, to be taken into consideration at the time of the final drafting of the Regulations of Studies.

1st. Among the approved Wishes we may highlight[95]:

a)  Ratio Studiorum. The time for its definitive drafting has come. To this end, a commission should be assigned, formed preferably by persons with experience in the field of teaching and formation.

b)  Gymnasium (Minor Seminary). It should last for all at least five obligatory school years[96]. The humanistic culture should clearly predominate in the programme. In addition to Latin, Greek, the national and foreign languages, the basic or main subjects should be mathematics and the physical and natural sciences. Therefore, these latter ones should be included in the new O.S.G. Our students’ culture, at the end of their humanistic (and philosophical) formation, should be at par with the average culture required in the respective country.

c) Philosophy. The introduction to Philosophy should begin during the fifth year of the Gymnasium. In the Lyceum the humanistic and literary formation should be continued and broadened, combining it with the study of Philosophy and the Sciences. At the end, there will be a general examination of Philosophy, obligatory for all, which will be the basis for the granting of the Faculty’s internal degrees.

d) Theology. The Theology will be given in five years. The first four will be more theoretical and fundamental: the fifth year will be mainly practical. At the end of the four years, a general examination of Theology will be given, obligatory for all, which will be the basis for the granting of the Faculty’s internal degrees. The fifth year will serve as immediate preparation for the priesthood. In it, the life of piety should be intensified, the preparation for the forthcoming pastoral ministry will be fostered and some selected questions (on Dogmatic and Mystical Theology[97], Catholic Action) should be studied.

c)  Specialisations. Those who are assigned to make higher studies or specialisations must be, as a general rule, priests or about to be ordained. They should have the necessary qualifications[98]; and, lastly, they should have finished their career or completed at least the first four years of Theology, with the dispensation of the fifth year. The Chapter recalls that the Central Internal College of the Congregation should be established as soon as possible.

2nd. Among the Proposals made for the General Commission for Studies, the following are emphasised[99]:

a)  On those in formation: that the fifth year of the Gymnasium should be held after the Noviciate, in the same formative centre and under the direction of the Novicemaster; also, that the fifth year of Theology should form a separate section and, better yet, a separate College.

b)  Regarding the professors: that the Theology professors should be persons fit to study and to teach and the position of professorship more stable. That both professors and students should be provided with adequate means, such as good libraries and sufficient technical reviews in order to be on a par with the latest advances.

c) With regard to higher formation, given that the Congregation has a universal and catholic mission, its action and means should be directed not only to the humble, but also to the higher and more educated levels of society. At least a select group of priests should strive to acquire a higher education[100] not only in Church disciplines but also in profane ones. Without abandoning natural and exact sciences, the profane sciences to be given priority option should be the so-called “cultural sciences” (Liberal Arts), because they are a more direct, immediate and universal instrument of apostolate[101].

Responding to apostolic challenges in a highly scientific and cultural environment implies a clearly missionary outlook and a solid quality preparation, both theological and spiritual[102]. The scientific and philosophical formation will be offered to ordained persons who are already in possession of superior theological formation and give some guarantee of moral assurance. However, it would be fitting that Superiors select the suitable persons in advance in order to prepare and orient them from the first years of their studies.

Among other initiatives of great concern and commitment toward an apostolate of this type, it was suggested that the Congregation endeavour to establish its own University Centres, with capacity to grant academic degrees. Also, that some of our members obtain degrees in practical civil careers, like architecture, etc., according to the needs, and to revive again the idea of St. Michael’s Academy, so pleasing to our Fr. Founder.

d)  Looking at the formative centres, the Chapter requested that the “General Superior College” should offer a “complete, integral and unified formation with selected elements,” that would serve as a model for our boarding schools. This would improve the quality of formation in our Congregation and would unify everyone’s criteria and aspirations. At the same time it proposed the reorganisation of the Scholasticates and of the teaching and administrative personnel. It directed that the centres should have well-furnished libraries according to their different categories, and suggested that specialised libraries be established in the different seminaries and houses, following a joint provincial plan.

3.3. Missionary and Apostolic Formation

The Chapter, following the spirit and the letter of the previous one, asked that the missionary formation be fostered as early as the time of postulancy through conferences, instructions, magazines, etc. about the Missions[103]. The Chapter “again and efficaciously” recommended as a priority the ministry of popular missions and spiritual exercises and urged all Superiors and Prefects of Students to form the young seminarians in these ideas, in the practice of missions and of composition and declamation[104].

4. XV General Chapter. Castelgandolfo 1949[105]

4.1. Vocation Promotion

Urged on by the scarcity of personnel in the Congregation, the Chapter insisted on fostering vocations. It presented some initiatives:

1st Without leaving out the postulancy schools, it is necessary to open up vocational promotion to the young, through Spiritual Exercises, as well as to the elder ones and to late vocations.

2nd. The Provinces should assign concrete persons to vocation promotion and select Priests who are “intelligent, zealous and with a noted proselytising spirit” for the position of spiritual directors in our day-pupil schools and youth associations.

3rd. In the Provinces, the “Vocation Work” should be established, integrating into it the Claretian Collaborators. In the General Curia, the “Secretariat for Vocations” should also be established to promote propaganda[106].

4.2. Postulancy Schools

1st. The first problem studied was the adaptation of our internal formation to the official secondary education. The Chapter encouraged the Prefectures of Studies, both General and Provincial, to propose concrete solutions in their respective countries, demanding as a minimum the level asked for by the O.S.G.

2nd. The second referred to the bad material conditions of our minor seminaries, “unfit for an educational atmosphere,” that tend to alienate good vocations. The Chapter requested the General Government to help and stimulate the Provincial Governments to put a remedy to this situation.

3rd. Lastly, what was established in the C.I.A. regarding admissions of postulants and novices was confirmed[107].

4.3. Formation of our Members

In general, the Chapter did not contribute anything new with regard to the formation of our members throughout the various formative stages, including the first years of priesthood. It encouraged everyone to comply with what was already established, and to follow the suggestions given in some recently held short courses[108]. Nevertheless, certain formative criteria were particularly stressed. Thus, for example:

1st. The Chapter asked that we should tend to be more strict in the admission for profession and ordinations[109] and that doubtful persons should not be admitted. The definitive screening should be made before perpetual profession. The “virtue of those to be ordained,” as requested by our norms[110], implies the “positive practice of virtues” and the acquisition of the habit of mental prayer.

2nd. Regarding the meditation of students and novices, some Prefects and Novicemasters had requested that the students be allowed to make their meditation in private, like the Priests[111]. After studying the theme and interpreting the sense of n. 110 of Part One of the Constitutions[112], the Chapter saw no difficulty in doing it the way the formators proposed. However, it left its application to the criterion of Fr. General[113].

4.4. Revision of O.S.G.

The O.S.G. continues being considered a very efficacious instrument to promote “the cultural uplift of our members.” Since the publication of an Instruction from the Holy See on formation and ecclesiastical studies seems to be imminent, the Chapter believes it would be better to wait till it comes out before we publish our own legislation on teaching. On due time, the General Prefecture of Studies or a special Commission will be able to make the said revision with greater knowledge and efficacy[114].

4.5. Raising the Scientific Level of Our Members

In addition to the revision of the O.S.G., other scientifically and academically far-reaching projects and orientations should be promoted and set in motion. Some of them had already been approved in the previous Chapter. In particular:

1st. The International College of Rome, which should raise the cultural level not only of the professors, but also of the formators and preachers of the Congregation.

2nd. The Centres of Specialisation, in order to obtain academic degrees in various fields, assimilate other cultures and lines of thought, and complete the process being implemented in the Provinces.

3rd. The Juridical Institute, which was already functioning in Rome, for the formation of canon lawyers who could render prestigious service to the Church and to Religious Life.

4th. The Interprovincial Colleges, to pool the efforts of the Provinces with a view to establishing their own Centres or Faculties, and to offer priestly formation in a joint venture during the 5th year of Theology.

5th. To foster the attainment of civil degrees, in keeping with the norms given by the previous Chapter[115].

4.6. Fidelity to the Church

In all these efforts (scientific formation, raising of the cultural level, investigation and production on the part of professors, etc…), the Chapter declared[116]  that the doctrine held and taught by the Congregation in its centres is in “full and absolute submission… to the teachings of the Holy See” in keeping with the Constitutions[117]  and the O.S.G[118].

4.7. Manifestation of Conscience and Disciplinary                 Account[119]

1st. The manifestation of conscience was one of the formative means that the Chapter was most concerned about[120]. The Congregation should stick to what has been legislated by the Church[121]. Although it cannot be demanded, it should, however, be “insistently recommended in the most efficacious way as a necessary means of perfection,” giving all possible facilities to the members of our communities.

2nd. The disciplinary account to the Superior or person-in-charge has a different nuance. The Superior may demand it from everyone, whenever he may deem it appropriate. The Superior should exercise this duty and right mainly with the brothers, the students and the young priests during the formation period, through the respective persons-in-charge (Ministers and Prefects), in keeping with the Constitutions and the orientations of congregational tradition. In order to facilitate it, it would be fitting to have some appropriate form papers.

4.8. On the Brothers[122]

1st. The Chapter laments the lack of vocations for brothers[123] and praised those who work on their vocational promotion. It condemned the negligence, on the part of superiors and ministers, of the attention due to the young brothers and to those in formation. It also denounced the scorn with which some unscrupulous individuals treat them.

2nd. Regarding the future, the Chapter established, among others, the following guidelines:

a)  Admission.

*   As a general norm, the postulants who do not qualify to pursue the studies towards the priesthood should not be admitted as brothers without a period of probation in their own houses.

*   Before the Noviciate. In principle, brothers should not be admitted to make the postulancy before the age of 15. Pre-postulancy may be offered to candidates between the ages of 15 and 17 so that they may receive religious and cultural instruction and be trained in their offices. At age 17 they may already begin the canonical postulancy.

*   For the Noviciate. Candidates should not be admitted to the noviciate unless they have reached the age of 18.

b)  Formation

*   The brothers should remain in the same noviciate or go to another formation centre during the first three years of temporary vows in order to receive a good formation and learn their trades. Then, during the first two years of the three-year profession, they may be assigned to other communities with a special accompaniment. The last year of temporary profession, before perpetual profession, they should return to the Noviciate to prepare for it in a fitting way.

*   From the viewpoint of the organisation, the formative aspects of the brothers should be gathered in a book of regulations proper for them. In addition, according to the Chapter, the ideal situation for the brothers would be to have postulancy and noviciate exclusively for them.

5. XVI General Chapter. Rome 1961[124]

Among the main concerns of the Chapter were the scarcity of personnel (number), in view of the great number of works that are being carried out, its lack of preparation (quality), and the problem of an updated formation of the same[125]. To overcome the existing difficulties, especially the lack of balance between persons and works, the Chapter gave some “general recommendations.” That everyone, without exception, should assume his own responsibility, that attention should be given to the concentration of efforts towards apostolic enterprises, to the intensification, above all, of inner spiritual life of the Congregation, and to the suitable orientation of the theme of vocations and formation.

5.1. Vocations[126]

After studying the crisis of vocations in the last years, the statistics on perseverance and the causes of abandonments, the Chapter offered many suggestions to the Congregation to put a remedy to these problems.

1st. It urged all the Sons of the Heart of Mary to fidelity, to develop “an enlightened and efficient, deeply felt and persevering vocational conscience.”

2nd. In addition to the General Government, who should dedicate “all its attention” to the increase of personnel and its pain­staking formation, everyone (individuals, communities and major organisms) should consider themselves vocation promoters.

3rd. The first vocational effort should be directed to native vocations of each country. No organism should be satisfied merely with the number of vocations that is enough for themselves; everyone should seek vocations for the universal Congregation. Economic investments should primarily be oriented toward the countries that offer a better present and future vocational promise.

4th. In vocational promotion and screening, the quality is more important than the number of candidates. Vocations should be sought mainly in our apostolic endeavours (schools and colleges, parishes, associations, Missionary Union, Claretian Collaborators, etc.). The Claretian vocational promotion should be organised and a Manual containing concrete vocational norms and guidelines should be offered to vocation promoters. In order to obtain a high rate of perseverance, special care should be given to the screening of candidates. Therefore, a previous examination should be made of the personal qualities and family background of the candidates, a previous sufficiency test and, should it be necessary or convenient, there should be a time of pre-postulancy the better to observe them.

5th. The buildings of our formation centres for children and young adults are also a factor of vocational appeal and perseverance. Therefore, they should have the hygienic and pedagogical conditions that are suitable for formation[127].

6th. Taking into account that the perseverance of vocations greatly depends on the quality of the formators, it is indispensable to choose them with care and prepare them adequately.

5.2. Formation of Our Own Personnel[128]

In addition to the vocational crisis and the defections before and after profession, the need to intensify our specific Cordimarian and Claretian formation was the reason for the orientations given by the Chapter for the academic, religious and spiritual formation.

1st. Giving due respect to the spirituality of other Institutes, we should emphasise our own. For this reason, the Chapter, in a special way and as a characteristic note of our spirituality, recommended the formation of our young ones in the experiential life of a “Cordimarian Filiation.” To this end, we should foster the knowledge, reading and publication of the testimonies of our brothers in this field.

2nd. Physical education (sports, vacations, etc…), so necessary for the health of the missionary, was also the object of the Chapter’s attention, with a certain concern. In view of the existing “excessive urge for sports,” the Chapter asked for upright intention, modesty and prudence in whatever may be organised.

3rd. In order to attain a quality and, as far as possible, uniform formation, the Chapter insisted on the drafting of an Ordo formationis, which had been approved by the previous General Chapter, and asked for the revision and publication of the Mirror of the Postulant.

4th. Academic formation has been perfectly organised and actualised with the recent revision and promulgation of the O.S.G. The Chapter urges the Congregation to comply with its orientations[129].

5th. Perpetual profession of the Students. Taking into account the tendency of the Church and the practice of some Institutes of increasing the years of temporal vows before perpetual profession, it was decided that “after the three years of temporal vows, another two-year period of temporal vows could be granted to all Students before perpetual Profession. In doubtful cases, perpetual Profession could be delayed one more year.” Both this two-year period and the three-year period of the brothers may be done in just one profession or divided in two one-year professions, at the discretion of the corresponding major Superior.

5.3. Brothers[130]

It was verified that the above mentioned vocational crisis was, perhaps more virulently, affecting the brothers of our Congregation. The Chapter’s concern about them was above all manifested in the approval of certain conclusions the better to attend to their religious and professional formation.

1st. The brothers should be formed as genuine Sons of the Heart of Mary, as missionaries who are capable of fulfilling the aims of our Claretian vocation according to the Constitutions[131] and as good religious and lovers of the Congregation.

2nd. As to their admission, ignorant candidates or those who possess bad character should not be accepted[132].

3rd. Before the noviciate, they should have a time of postulancy in keeping with the Constitutions and Canon Law, and should possess “a proper cultural formation.” For the period after the noviciate, for the first years of temporal vows, a compulsory specific period of formation should be organised.

4th. The Chapter gives a firm impulse “to the technical formation” of the brothers, which must be obligatory. The organisation of provincial or interprovincial aspirancy centres is suggested, in which the foundations for technical formation may be provided, in addition to religious formation.

5th. As in the previous Chapter, the General Government was tasked with the drafting of a more concrete Book of Formative Regulations about all that was discussed regarding the brothers and, particularly, with regard to assignments, especially during the years that follow their first professions.

VI. Codex Iuris Additichi (C.I.A.)

Special mention must be made of the Codex Iuris Additicii [Additional Code of Law], commonly known as C.I.A., which is a compilation of all the ordinations and dispositions given by the General Chapters and Governments up to and including the 1922 General Chapter. It had three editions, with their respective revisions and adaptations[133].

It is a clearly juridical document, which gathers the congregational legislation from the time of our Fr. Founder[134]. However, it is really important to keep it in mind because, through norms and orientations, it develops the principles that have regulated the congregational formation during the years it was in vigour.

[1] XV GENERAL CHAPTER., Annales, 39 (1949-1950), p. 125.

[2] CMF. Reglamento de la Obra de las vocaciones Claretianas, Annales, 39 (1949-1950), pp. 461-467.

[3] Cf. Reglamento de la Obra de las…, pp. X, XII.2.

[4] CMF. El Reclutador de Vocaciones, Rome 1951, pp. 22. It speaks of the criteria for vocational promotion, the means, methods and most suitable times, practical orientations for the promoter, the reports and necessary examinations, etc…

[5] CMF. Secretariado de Vocaciones Claretianas, Annales, 46 (1962), pp. 348-350. In the Presentation to the Provincial Superiors, it is stated: “We have been doing something, and even much, until now in the field of vocations. But starting with the year when our Work of Claretian Vocations began, linked with the Prefecture of Formation since the last General Chapter, various trials have been made and not to listen to the lessons of experience would be an unpardonable temerity” (p. 348).

[6] GENERAL PREFECTURE OF FORMATION, Manual del Seminarista Claretiano, Madrid 1962, pp. 183.

[7] Cf. pp. 9-10, nn. 1 and 5.

[8] Ib., p. 21, n. 1.

[9] Cf. Ib., p. 18, n. 6.

[10] R. RIBERA, El Novicio Instruido [The well-Instructed Novice], Madrid 1931, pp. 479; reference in Prologue, p. X.

[11] In this book “my brothers will not find other merit than the fact that it was inspired by obedience and drafted with love and affection for our young men, the hope of the Congregation. Also the fact that in it are compiled and condensed the teachings of our holy Founder and of some of his venerable companions who had such great influence in the formation of the first generations of Missionaries, glory of our beloved Congregation” (Prologue, pp. X-XI).

[12] R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 25.

[13] The pedagogical orientations offered should help achieve the objective of the Noviciate, so that “all who make use of them may be formed in the true spirit of the Congregation as legitimate Sons of the Heart of Mary and later become indefatigable Apostles and glorious heralds of the divine glory” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, Prologue, p. XII)

[14] “The young are in absolute need of direction; (…) but they are not to expect everything from it. (…) Certainly, the young are to follow the guidance of their novicemasters and superiors, but they should co-operate with it by their own personal action, through rational and constant application of certain principles of self-formation that will powerfully contribute to the integral and harmonic development of all their faculties” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 182).

[15] “Besides the fact that an independent self-formation brings out odd, queer and eccentric individuals, and this is very far from our character and vocation.” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 183).

[16] “Furthermore, taking into consideration our natural weakness and the scarce self-knowledge we possess, all this work of self-formation necessarily demands, besides God’s natural and supernatural concurrence, the co-operation of other external agents. We are referring to our Superiors and our own companions” (Cf. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 189).

[17] R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 183. This knowledge is needed “so that, knowing the good qualities of both, and the deficiencies that usually accompany them, they may foster and improve the former and eliminate the latter, if possible. Should this not be possible, at least they may correct them, taking advantage of their activity and re-directing their natural tendencies towards what is good” (Ib.).

[18] R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 183-184. Since “it usually takes such deep root in us that, if it is lacking, it can hardly be made up for; and if it is wrong, it is harder yet to correct it; (…). But, however difficult it may be, it cannot be denied that a determined will can obtain glorious triumphs over defective habits acquired in the bosom of an ignorant, neglected family, or a family less favoured by the circumstances or social atmosphere. This is especially true if this determined will is placed at the service of a noble ideal and aided by divine grace,” (Ib.).

[19] R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 184-185. “He should also consult on the shortcomings of his own intellect, such as shallowness, volubility, hard-headedness, intellectual squint, that is, the defect of those who have the tendency always to see things contrary to what others see, and similar, and believe what his educators tell him about this matter, (…). The young man in formation should also follow the decision of his superiors regarding the studies or subjects he should devote himself to, after complying with all that has been prescribed” (Ib.).

[20] Cr. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 185. Since “grace operates on nature and the more pliant and developed that nature is, the more satisfactory the result will be” (Ib., p. 185). Among the habits a novice should foster are: the habit of order, of cleanliness, the sense of personal dignity, the habit of veracity, of respect to others, of kindliness, compassion and deference, of submission and self-denial, of stability and constancy, of magnanimity and fortitude, etc…” (Cf. Ib., pp. 186-189).

[21] R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 190.

[22] Cf. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 214-216.

[23] It exists “when one aims in his acts only to give glory to God, to please God, or to love God” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 305-306).

[24] “This upright intention is a true heavenly alchemy that changes into gold of charity and gives supernatural value to everything it touches, even the most indifferent actions, such as eating, sleeping, etc., and increases the merit of those works that are good in themselves multiplying the sources of new merits, depending on the different intentions one has, as the holy Founder explains in chapter XXVIII of his Autobiography (part I)” (R. RIBERA, EL Novicio…, p. 310).

[25] “Thus they will be at peace, whatever the result of their actions may be. They will be indifferent to any disposition whatsoever of Providence or Superiors. They will rejoice when their brothers excel and succeed, even though they themselves remain in the shadow. They will grow in merits and holiness and will become worthy of the grace of apostolate and of eternal glory” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 310).

[26] “In fact, the young novices, more out of thoughtlessness than out of malice, may easily fall into the deception of being content with only an apparent and easy-going virtue. This may happen because they are encouraged, on one hand, by the desire to persevere in the vocation they have received, and feel, on the other, that they lack the spirit of self-denial and sacrifice demanded by solid virtue. In this situation, there may be a mixture of a certain good intention of pleasing God, and a considerable dose of disorderly self-love, together with twisted intentions that frequently escape their attention, unless a sensible Novicemaster makes them aware of it” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 307).

[27] Cf. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 304-310.

[28] Cf. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 310-311.

[29] Cf. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 27-28.

[30] “This is the reason why our Novices should painstakingly dedicate themselves to practice, as perfectly as they can, the various prescribed spiritual acts, and others that are customary in the Congregation, or those that they themselves may have chosen to foster their own devotion. This is what we are going to teach them in this most important section, about which we wish to call the whole attention of our young ones” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 70).

[31] “Our young novices should pay attention to the emphasis with which our Father Founder exhorts them to devote themselves totally to the practice of virtue (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 215).

“However, we are not trying here to give a broad and detailed explanation of all these virtues, but only to initiate our novices and help the young professed in the practice of the same. Therefore, we leave such explanation to the conferences of the respective persons-in-charge. Here we will only propose some motivations for those virtues and will indicate the most common means to attain them, always on the basis of the way of doing things in our Noviciates and Formation Centres, with a view to our missionary vocation” (Ib., pp. 216-217).

[32] “Since God is present everywhere, the novices should always and everywhere behave with great external modesty and inner recollection out of respect to God’s divine Majesty. In order to favour this behaviour that faith inspires, we will explain in this fourth section the conduct that the novices should have in the various places they frequent during the day. In this way, always and everywhere they will spread around them the good odour of Christ, and will show themselves as good Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 366-367).

[33] R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 125.

[34] Cf. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 125-127.

[35] Cf. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 372-374.

[36] Concretely they were recommended to memorise the compilation of sentences of Sacred Scripture from the book El Tesoro del Humanista [Treasure of the Humanist], by Fr. Girbau, the main parts of the letters of St. Paul and other important passages from the New and the Old Testament (Cf. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 373-374).

[37] “In the first place, the divine Scripture, above all the New Testament, in which he will find the pure truth in its very fount. Finding pleasure in the reading of the Sacred Books, especially of the Holy Gospel, is a sign that one has the spirit of Jesus Christ and a token of predestination (Jn 8, 47).

Then it is good to take a liking to ascetical readings of solid doctrine, such as the ascetical woks of St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori, those of St. John of the Cross, St. Therese, our Holy Founder, Granada, V. Lapuente, Blessed Avila and, especially, Rodríguez, etc.

In the third place, they should read lives of Saints and, among them, that of our Founder and of his sons who were outstanding in virtue should deserve their attention and preference, together with the lives of religious and missionaries Saints” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 140).

[38] “It goes without saying that the novices must read and re-read the books in which they are supposed to imbibe the genuine spirit of the Congregation. Some such books are the holy Constitutions, the “Espíritu de la Congregación,” this book itself “El Novicio Instruido,” and the works of some of our Missionaries about the Heart of Mary, zeal for souls, etc.” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 140).

[39] CC. 1924, part I, ch. XXIV.

[40] Ib., p. 216.

[41] Cf. Aut. Nn. 438-453.

[42] Ib., pp. 218-219.

[43] It is good to keep in mind that “the manifestation of the spirit is not obligatory in conscience. Neither the Holy Church (c. 530), nor the Congregation (Ord., 562), want to impose it. But both the Church and the Congregation, in the same aforementioned quotations, insistently exhort not to leave aside such an efficacious means for perfection, which has ordinarily been practised by the Saints” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 175-176).

[44] Fr. Ribera says, quoting Fr. Claret: “We could not explain better the usefulness and the importance of the manifestation of conscience, than by repeating the pondering words with which our holy Founder extols it to the Seminarians in his Colegial Instruido. Let us respectfully listen to him:

“(…) Regarding the need of having a good spiritual director, both the Old and the New Testaments, the masters of spiritual life and all the books and treatises written on this matter are in agreement.

“It is not enough, then, to have a confessor to whom all sins are manifested with all sincerity. We also need a teacher that will guide us on the way of virtue. It is indispensable to have a guide that will go ahead of us to lead us in an unknown area such as the designs that God has over us. We need an expert captain that will point out to us the reefs of a sea where shipwrecks happen so frequently (…) Even the Saints, however much enlightened they were, and though they were highly experienced in God’s ways, made use of this practice. They looked upon it, in keeping with the usual way of Divine Providence, as the most suitable means for the progress and perfection of souls: Hanc viam tenuere omnes Sancti [all the Saints followed this way] (St. Vincent Ferrer).

Such is also the practice of the more virtuous persons. If asking for advice and following it with docility is a sign of prudence for them, it will certainly be foolishness to think that it is not necessary, and that one can be guided only by the impulses of the heart and by the lights of one’s own spirit alone (…).

We should approach him as we would an angel, or Jesus Christ, or God himself. We should talk to him with full confidence and with all the sincerity demanded by the rank he holds towards us, as a prudent adviser, a kindly physician, a faithful friend. Finally we should have a childlike submission, docility, openness and simplicity toward him” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 177-179).

[45] “This practice is so important for our young members, novices and professed and even priests, above all during the first years of apostolate, that, without it, it will be almost morally impossible to overcome the difficulties and dangers that will come their way in the development of their spiritual and missionary life” (R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, p. 179).

[46] Cf. R. RIBERA, El Novicio…, pp. 180-181.

[47] “Regarding the frequency, when the Constitutions advice the monthly spiritual accounting on the recollection day, they do not pretend to curtail the freedom to do it more often. On the contrary, in various places (part II, n. 27; part III, n. 2 and others) they presuppose or recommend this greater frequency which becomes a true necessity for the young. In our Noviciates, it is customary for the Novices to give an account to the Master weekly and, in the case of the Scholasticates, not to postpone it more than 15 days” (R. Ribera, El Novicio…, pp. 177-179).

[48] Ib., Prologue XI.

[49] Cf. Ib., pp. 412-459.

[50] CMF, Ordo Studiorum Generalis pro Missionariis Congregationis Filiorum Imm. Cordis Beatae Mariae Virginis [General Plan of Studies for the Missionaries Sons of the Imm. Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary], Rome 1929, pp. 98.

[51] Ordo Studiorum Generalis Congregationis Missionariorum Filiorum Immaculati Cordis B. Mariae V., Rome 1959, pp. 157. Cf. P. SCHWEIGER, De studiis…, Annales 45 (1959-1960), pp. 151-165.

[52] Cf. arts. 2.1., 88-129, 194-233 and appendices, pp. 87-80.

[53] Cf. arts. 87-150 and appendix, pp. 129-132.

[54] Cf. arts. 233-260.

[55] Cf. arts. 153, 157-165.

[56] Cf. arts. 120, 128.

[57] Cf. arts. 118.2, 119.2.

[58] Cf. arts. 192-199. In the study of Moral Theology and Liturgy, great emphasis was given to the practice of solving “moral and liturgical cases” (Cf. O.S.G., 1929, arts. 123.3, 165; 1959, arts. 129.4, 199.4, 268.1.1st).

[59] Cf. arts. 141, 164.3, 167.

[60] Cf. arts. 140-150. Regarding the organisation of the pastoral year in the Congregation, cf. Annales, 42 (1953-1954), pp. 400-404.

[61] XII GENERAL CHAPTER, Anales, 18 (1921-1922), pp. 901-922, 925-975.

[62] Cf. Ib., pp. 914-915.

[63] Cf. XII GENERAL CHAPTER, Dispositions 70-75, pp. 952-953.

[64] The declaration should include these items:

“a)That he has the resolve to observe the Constitutions, Ordinations and Dispositions of the Congregation as long as he remains in its bosom.

b)  That he will, gratuitously and without any claim for compensation, render the services that may be required from him while he remains in the Congregation and, therefore, he will not ask for anything, should he leave the Institute.

c)  Similarly, that he disclaims any indemnity that the laws may grant by reason of industrial accident, should he suffer any.

d)  That he is not aware of any impediment to enter the Congregation.

e)  That he is seeking admission into the Congregation without fraud or deceit, and without any coercion whatsoever through violence or fear.

f)  That he agrees that: 1st. all the letters that he may write or may be addressed to him be opened by the Superior or the person commissioned by him. 2nd. all his faults or errors be manifested to the Superiors by anyone who might be aware of them” (Ib., Dispositions 72, p. 952).

The declaration should be signed by the Superior or his delegate, and two witnesses not connected with the Congregation. The postulant should be informed that the Superiors may dismiss him if it should be discovered that he has kept back some excluding impediment or hidden sickness (Cf. Ib., Dispositions 73, pp. 952-953).

[65] Cf. Ib., Dispositions 94, p. 957.

[66] Ib., Dispositions 84, p. 955.

[67] The declaration states:

“a) That the novice has the intention to profess in the Congregation and to remain in it until death, should there be no unforeseen obstacle.

b)  That he is not aware of any impediment nor has he hidden any important impediment that might hinder his admission to profession.

c)  That he accepts all the obligations and the most difficult things implied by religious life, as practised in the Congregation. In particular: 1. That his defects, faults and errors may be disclosed to his immediate or mediate superiors by any one who may be aware of them, without his previous knowledge. 2. That, even if one has professed as a cleric, he may temporarily be occupied in manual labours, if there is reason for it, at the discretion of the local or major Superior. He may even be definitively transferred to the category of Coadjutor Brother, should there be cause for it, at the discretion of the Provincial Superior in the case of persons in temporary vows and of the Superior General for those in perpetual vows. 3. That the Superiors may assign him to any part of the world and to the most difficult and dangerous missions, any time they deem it convenient. 4. That he accepts and will accept any position in the Congregation, whether lowly or honourable, to which he might be legitimately assigned.

d) That, should he leave the Congregation, he will not demand any compensation for the services rendered, which are totally devoid of any right to retribution according to the law and, therefore, he renders them freely and disinterestedly” (Ib., Dispositions 96, p. 958).

[68] Cf. Ib., Dispositions 90, pp. 958-959.

[69] The sense is as follows:

“a) That, even if they were admitted in the category of clerics, they should be available not only for the priestly ministries, but also for the menial tasks proper of the Coadjutor Brothers. They could be dedicated to these tasks not only as a practice of virtue but also in punishment for transgressions or as a help in the House. b) That they will be obliged to accept any position for the good of the Congregation, be it an honourable one, like that of Superior, or lowly and worthless, to which they may be legitimately assigned. c) That the clerics, for any serious cause, at the discretion and by decree of the Superior General with his Consultors, after perpetual vows, and of the Provincial Superiors with his, during the temporal vows, may be assigned even perpetually to the class of Coadjutor Brothers, in which case, they should repeat the noviciate; otherwise they should obtain apostolic dispensation. d) That the Superiors may send them to all parts of the world, and they will have the obligation to go, should they be sent” (Ib., Dispositions 90, pp. 956-957).

[70] Cf. Ib., Dispositions 12, 112, p. 977.

[71] Cf. CC. 1870, n. 108; cc. 969,3; 970; Pius X, Apost. Let. 2 July 1912; 7 June 1913.

[72] Cf. Ib., Dispositions 113, p. 961.

[73] Cf. Ib., Dispositions 10-11, 114, 121, p. 936.

[74] Cf. Ib., p. 931. Ministers “who would painstakingly care for the brothers, giving them the necessary attention, especially with a view to their spiritual progress” (Ib.).

[75] Cf. Ib., pp. 920-922.

[76] Ib., pp. 928-929.

[77] Cf. Ib., p. 929.

[78] “The recommended remedies to shun the lack of fidelity to one’s vocation are mainly: a) To give painstaking attention to the admission to profession and ordination, and not to let ourselves be carried by considerations of an ill-advised compassion, which is contrary to true charity. And if ever, during the time of noviciate or temporal vows, certain individuals should present some doubts, the same should be resolved by means of special tests before they come to the definitive steps. b) To choose, as much as possible, good Masters, Prefects, Superiors, Ministers, and see to it that they give special and painstaking attention to the brothers, especially in the spiritual aspect. c) The newly professed and the young Priests should only gradually and with caution be placed in contact with the older ones. d) See to it that, as much as possible, there be more than two Brothers in each house so that they may help one another and may be attended to with greater diligence. e) Exert great care in helping all avoid dangers and overcome difficulties, giving them tasks that are commensurate to them. f) Not to admit those who need or can be foreseen to need to help their parents for lack of means on the part of the latter. If the need arises, the Congregation should give the appropriate help. g) Foster more the spirit of piety toward our own. h) Assign Prefects for spiritual matters for the entire Congregation and for each Province; their task should be to give due attention to the general observance of the Congregation and of their respective provinces. i) When the families ask for help or express the need they are in, that correspondence should be sent to the General Government who should take care of the need and give it due attention. It should not be given to the person concerned lest he falter in his vocation due to the natural feeling over the need of his own family. j) Exert efforts so that those who have lost or slackened off in the religious spirit may recover it. To this end, all fatherly means should be exhaust, such as advices, exhortations, corrections, even fatherly punishments and, if need be, change of house or even of Province. When these fatherly means do not produce the expected results, recourse may be had to disciplinary means, generally reserved to Major Superiors. Some such disciplinary means may be commands by virtue of the vow of obedience, more serious, and usually public, penalties or punishments, special vigilance, and canonical monitions, which should be applied more often and more efficiently than until now.” (Ib., pp. 929-930).

[79] XIII GENERAL CHAPTER, Anales, 30 (1934), pp. 421-427, 437-463, 502-531, 567-572, 853-865.

[80] Cf. p. 443.

[81] Cf. Ibc, pp. 448, 454-455, 527-531.

[82] Cf. Ib., p. 516.

[83] Cf. Ib., pp. 514-515.

[84] Cf. Ib., pp. 459-460. Among the resolutions taken, the following may be highlighted:

“1.     Efforts should be made to give the Brothers the designated conferences with regularity. The Priest in charge of these conferences is the Minister; in his defect, the Superior or another assigned by him. These conferences should be given at a specified time, and should not be omitted even if there should be only one Brother; but in this case, they could take the form of particular conversations with him, in which he would be instructed on his main duties with kindness and trust (…).(…)

5.  Fr. Minister should be with the Brothers as much as possible and, with kindness and interest, attend to them, instructing, consoling and encouraging them, being a true father to them. In this matter we strongly call the attention of everyone, because of the responsibility that the negligence of these duties might bring upon them in the eyes of God and of the Congregation. Neither should the Superior forget them, but rather take care of them, as ordered by the Constitutions, and see to it that they properly perform the acts of piety and dedicate themselves to the tasks proper of their class.

6.  This care and concern should be afforded especially to the young Brothers, above all, in the first years of their religious life, during which they should ordinarily remain in the noviciates or seminaries and not be assigned to regular houses.

7. The spirit of industry and occupation during working hours should be recommended to the Brothers, along with due respect for the Priests, which should be emphasised by sanctioning all infractions of the same. In the same way, the priests and other members should in turn treat the Brothers with respect, charity and kindness, never showing the least manifestation of scorn, as befits the sons of the same Mother. The Brothers should not be allowed to use the title of Reverend, which is reserved to the Priests” (Ib., pp. 516-518).

[85] Cf. Anales, 27 (1931), pp. 145-150, 273-275.

[86] Cf. Ib., pp. 460, 518.

[87] Cf. Ib., p. 461.

[88] Cf. Ib., pp.. 448-449.

[89] XIV EXTR. GENERAL CHAPTER, Annales, 34 (1938), pp. 9-13, 47-68.

[90] Cf. ib., pp. 52-54.

[91] “However, with regard to the dismissal of children who do not seem to be promising, certain late developments should be taken into consideration. Nor should too much importance be given to some defects that are proper of the age, unless they are signs of bad character or evil and immoral inclinations. Never should the dismissal of immoral persons, or reasonably suspected of being immoral, be delayed” (Cf. Ib., p. 53).

[92] On this matter, Fr. N. García wrote the circular El año de perfección religiosa y misionera [The Year of Religious and Missionary Perfection] (Annales, 36 (1940-1941) PP. 97-116, with attached Regulations).

[93] Among them:

“+ the study of religious, clerical and missionary pedagogy, both theoretical and practical;

+   putting those who seem to offer hopes of being good formators, side by side with others who competently carry out this office;

+   having some competent priest write a book on the formation of our members.

+   holding meetings of Prefects and Masters under the leadership of an experienced priest with sound judgement.

+   making use of interprovincial Colleges or Formation Centres, when a particular Province lacks the necessary elements.

+   Prefects of Postulants should not be too young; it would be fitting to choose for this office priests who know the character and the way of life of the native children. The Masters and Prefects of the Professed should have the canonical age;

+ for the formation of Superiors, books on the duties of a good Superior should be read, summarised in the Circular of the Fr. General on Superiors, (Anales, 1927, p. 195). In the same way, for the formation of Students, the Circular published by the same Superior General on this matter is strongly recommended (Anales, 1932, p. 225)” (Cf. Ib., p. 54).

[94] Cf. Ib., p. 54.

[95] Cf. Ib., pp. 57-60.

[96] In exceptional cases and for special reasons, under certain conditions, two school years could be combined into one.

[97] The study of Ascetical Theology, with a practical and casuistry character, should have been made throughout the previous four years.

[98] They should be endowed with qualities such as health, intelligence, solid piety, equanimity, fluency of speech, etc…, that will ensure good results in higher formation, success in the academic mission and will warrant a good service to the Congregation (Cf. Ib., p. 60).

[99] Cf. Ib., pp. 60-65.

[100] “This higher culture, in the case of our members, should always presuppose a solid and mature ecclesiastical and theological formation. It should be obtained by attending official centres, both national and foreign, cultivating scientific relations, collaborating in magazines, keeping in touch with cultural associations, etc., etc., always, of course, under the direction of obedience” (Cf. Ib., p. 61).

[101] “Taking for granted a solid formation in scholastic Philosophy and Theology, with all due caution and under the continuous and attentive supervision of Superiors, it would be fitting that some of our Priests should devote themselves to the study of non-scholastic Philosophy. This would contribute: a) to enrich their own knowledge and modernise it in the good sense of the word; and b) to learn the language of that Philosophy and familiarise themselves with its way of thinking, so that their apostolate may be more efficacious” (Cf. Ib., p. 53).

[102] The conditions indicated for this apostolate are:

“1st. A solid and foolproof cultural theological formation to avoid the dangers of contagion and to win and never be defeated when faced by them.

2nd. An equally solid religious and pious formation of their spiritual life, based on principles of supernatural faith, and faithfully practised.

3rd. That the aim of this apostolate is to win people and draw them to Jesus Christ.

4th. That this apostolate must be absolutely framed within religious discipline, with constant and diligent vigilance on the part of the Superiors, and with absolute submission and dependence on the part of those who exercise this apostolate.

5th. That the culture thus obtained should be primarily and mainly aimed at our own members.

6th. An open confession of Religious and of one’s own religious profession should at all times be recommended, with a few exceptions that should be approved by the Superiors.

7th. Therefore, the clerical and religious habit should always be worn with holy pride, always keeping in mind canon 596, for the cases foreseen by the same, (…)” (Ib.).

[103] Cf. Ib., p. 57.

[104] Cf. Ib., p. 55.

[105] XV GENERAL CHAPTER, Annales, 40 (1949-1950), pp. 106-140.

[106] Ib., pp. 125-126.

[107] Cf. Ib., pp. 126 and 129.

[108] Thus, with regards to the specifically spiritual formation, the Chapter confirmed all the foregoing and “acknowledged that in this matter we have a magnificent theory. We have an exceptional chapter indeed, inspired on the Holy Constitutions, chapter XXV of Part One, De Scholasticis, aside from the others devoted to the Novices, Novicemaster and Prefect of Students. We also have very wise norms in our CODEX, which makes use of the experiences of Experimental Psychology, and thorough circular letters of the Superiors General. The last General Chapter gave too its own practical norms for the formation of the personnel, as may be seen in ANNALES, 1938, pp. 52-53” (Cf. Ib., p. 129).

[109] The Chapter asked for greater strictness in formation. Thus, speaking of the lack of observance, the Chapter indicated, among other causes, the following: “On the part of formators, a certain condescension and failure to inculcate sufficiently the spirit of self-denial and sacrifice” (Ib., p. 131).

[110] Cf. CC. 1924, Part I, ch. XXX and C.I.A., N. 410.

[111] The reasons for such petition were: avoiding routine, which is so harmful in this very vital point of prayer, and adapting it better to the particular needs of each one (Cf. Ib., pp. 121).

[112] This number says that the novices, students and brothers should make their prayer faithfully and in common (conjunctim).

[113] Cf. Ib., pp. 121-122.

[114] Cf. Ib., p. 127.

[115] Cf. Ib., pp. 127-128.

[116] Cf. Ib., p. 128.

[117] Cf. CC. 1924, Part I, n. 2.

[118] Cf. ed. 1929, art. V.

[119] Cf. Ib., pp. 129-130.

[120] The Chapter recognised that “the situation we have reached of infrequent practice (of the manifestation of conscience) after the completion of studies is lamentable, although the present tendency of the Church is ever more to urge its recommendation, if not its imposition. Its lack of practice or its negligence is, to say the least, a negative argument of the spirit demanded by the religious state” (Ib., pp. 129-130).

[121] Cf. c. 530.

[122] Cf. Ib., pp. 130-131.

[123] “With regard to the scarcity of Brothers that presently afflicts our Congregation, more or less like the others, the Chapter highly praised so many self-denying Brothers who in the present circumstances have to attend to various or all the offices of the Houses” (Ib., p. 131).

[124] XVI GENERAL CHAPTER, Annales, 46 (1961-1962), pp. 67-78, 101-115.

[125] “The Chapter, then, is aware of the seriousness of the moment. It has sensed the dangers that surround us everywhere and has given the warning note. And this warning is not given to make anyone feel pessimistic. It is a fact that everywhere the Congregation works intensely and has acquired a prestige that perhaps is not consistent with the number of its members. The phenomenon we are referring to is not exclusively ours. It is common to all Institutes. Perhaps we are among the least affected by the present situation and among those who are more successfully overcoming the difficulties. The President of the Chapter insistently exhorted everyone to be optimistic and to place their trust in God and in the Heart of Mary. He encouraged each one to do whatever he could, to undertake anything obedience should entrust him. In this way we would be able to overcome the difficulties and vigorously continue the progressive rhythm that the Congregation has undertaken these last years, in fidelity to the injunction of its apostolic and dynamic Founder” (Ib., p. 69).

[126] Cf. Ib., pp. 101-102, 104-105.

[127] With regard to the buildings of our formation centres, the Chapter acknowledged the painstaking effort exerted by the Congregation in the construction and foundation of the international Theologates of Rome and Salamanca, which offer a great hope to the Congregation (Cf. Ib., p. 103).

[128] Cf. Ib., pp. 101-103, 107.

[129] With regard to studies, the actual sense of the Constitutions (I, 124, 132) on the students’ obligation of daily reciting the lesson to the Prefect was authentically interpreted. Considering the practical impossibility of its implementation, the intention of the legislator is accomplished when the Prefect accompanies the students and keeps track of their academic progress (Cf. Ib., p. 74).

[130] Cf. Ib., pp. 105-107.

[131] Cf. CC. 1924, Part I, nn. 79-80.

[132] Cr. CC. 1924, Part I, n. 74.

[133] Ed. 1925, 1940 and 1953. It was translated into Spanish and edited, in 1928 in a synthetic form to be read in the communities, under the title of Ordenaciones y Disposiciones de nuestro Código (Madrid 1928) and in 1955 with the name of Epítome del Derecho Adicional (Madrid 1955).

[134] Cf. Praefatium, ed. of 1925, pp. 3-5.