Appendix 4: Criteria of Maturity For Religious Life

Appendix 4

Criteria of Maturity For Religious Life

1. Introduction

1. There is a specific maturity necessary for religious life. There are normal personality traits that must mature and be developed in order to be able to live religious life appropriately. From a formation perspective, it is necessary to make the values of religious life present to those being formed. If we are talking about Claretians, we have to refer to the values of the Claretian project contained in the Constitutions, Directory, GPF and CVD.

2. Personal maturity is not an absolute and static reality, but is always relative and progressive. Maturity is a conquest; it develops through a process that goes throughout the life stages of the person. The Church and the Congregation require that the candidate acquires at each stage of the formation process the psychological balance and maturity proper to his age and the period of formation he is in (beginning novitiate, first profession, perpetual profession). Although full maturity cannot be demanded of the candidate at the beginning, both the candidate and the person who accompanies him in his discernment, must have before them, as points of reference,[1] the criteria of maturity for religious life.

2. Criteria of Maturity

We start from the experience of vocation and from the fact we operate in a context of faith, love and freedom. We understand that our life cannot develop if we lack a climate of faith and prayer, listening to the Word of God, in communion with the Church, with an attitude of interpreting the signs of the times, with a joy in living, etc.

Having said this, in order to live the values of religious (and Claretian) life, the person must manifest sufficient maturity through the following personal characteristics:

1. Given that our life involves a certain life tension, one must possess a sufficient underlying psychological balance and an ability to overcome the conflicts and internal and external tensions in living out one’s vocation.

2. The sense of radicality and definitive pervasiveness demands a sufficient ability for dedication and generosity, the ability to make a definitive option as well as the ability to be consistent, constant, stable and persevering.

3. The charism of virginity demands an emotional maturity, self-control, discipline and the ability to sublimate one’s drives.

4. The living of poverty involves an ability to interior and exterior detachment, inner freedom and adaptation to different environments, especially ones that are very impoverished.

5. Radical and missionary obedience demands an ability to accept from another person the norm for my life (at key moments) and the readiness to be sent.

6. Living in community demands that one possesses emotional maturity, a good character, the ability to give of oneself (passing from self-centeredness to self-sacrifice) and the ability to adapt oneself to other people.

7. The ecclesial and universal sense of being a missionary involves the capacity for detachment (from local environments, family, native country, etc.), availability, overcoming of prejudices, emotional maturity and being able to adapt to other environments.

8. The one being formed must assimilate in a personalized way the complex of values that orients him, guides him and impels in accordance with the Claretian vocation.


[1] Cf. CVD 251-257.