Appendix 9: Plan of Study for Novitiate

Appendix 9

Plan of Study for Novitiate


The plan of studies (teaching syllabus) for novitiate—identical to the one presented in The General Plan of Formation[1] with some variations—presents what is required of the novices by universal Law[2] and our own law,[3] and the directives of the General Assembly in Costa Rica.[4]

1. Introduction to the Novitiate

  • The Novitiate: Nature, Objectives and Rationale.
  • Explanation of the plan of formation (content and experiences): General Plan of Formation, Provincial Plan, local Plan or project.
  • Relationship between the novice and the novice-master (personal accompaniment).

2. Vocation in the Church

2.1. Human Foundation for Vocation

Anthropology of Vocation:

– Psychology and religious life

– The personality and psychological dynamics. The process of personal identity

– Human and social maturation

– Self-knowledge and self-esteem

– Basic notions of character types

– The dynamics of community; interpersonal relationships

– Human maturity. Mental hygiene (psychological adjustment) in religious life.

2.2. Calls to Discipleship

  • The many calls and responses within the mystery of salvation
  • Forms of life in the Church; articulation of charisms and ministries

2.3. The Religious Vocation

  • Scriptural and theological aspects of vocation
  • Discernment of vocation: motivations and aptitudes

3. Religious Life

  • Scriptural foundation of religious life
  • Brief history of the forms of religious life; essential elements in religious life from a scriptural, theological, Claretian and psycho-pedagogical perspective:

– Vocation

– Consecration

– Evangelical counsels or “charisms” (poverty, chastity and obedience)

– The following of Christ

– Charism

– Community

– Mission

4. Claretian Missionary Life

  • The figure of the Father Founder, especially from his Autobiography
  • History of the Congregation: founding, co-founders, initial stages, its development up to the Founder’s death; a succinct history of the Congregation, of personalities and of its most characteristic works; history of the Bl. Martyrs of Barbastro; the most important documents of the Congregation
  • The Claretian charism and spirit: the charism in the Father Founder, the charism in the Congregation
  • The Constitutions and the Directory: the Constitutions as a Claretian project for following Christ; their origin and content
  • The Claretian missionary virtues
  • The three ways of living the one Claretian vocation (priests, deacons, brothers) and the various institutions making up the Claretian Family

5. Introduction to the Spiritual Life

5.1. Anthropological Foundation of the Spiritual Life

  • The human person open to God
  • Human development and Christian realization
  • The “spiritual experience” and individual dispositions

5.2. The Novelty of Christian Life

  • The figure of Jesus in the Gospels
  • The mystery of Christ and of the Church
  • Jesus Christ, the New Man, reveals the mystery of God and of the human being

– Grace as the Father’s “unconditional love” manifested in Jesus Christ

– The human being as a creature and as the image of God; the dignity of the person

– The sinful condition: meaning and consequences

  • The Spirit’s renewing activity in the believer, in the Church and in the world
  • The dynamisms of the life of grace: sacramental life, theological virtues
  • Growth in the spiritual life: freedom, responsibility, discernment

6. Introduction to the Liturgy

  • Nature of liturgy and worship in the Church
  • The liturgical year, the liturgy of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours; their place according to the Constitutions
  • Practical questions about participation in the Eucharistic liturgy and in the Liturgy of the Hours

7. Introduction to Prayer

  • Scriptural and theological foundations
  • Prayer in the context of the spiritual life
  • Prayer in the Claretian charism
  • Personal prayer and community prayer
  • Methods and techniques of prayer and meditation (prayer with the Word, meditation)

8. Introduction to Cordi-Marian Spirituality

  • Mary in the mystery of Christ and of the Church
  • Marian elements in Christian spirituality
  • Mary, model of the consecrated woman
  • Cordi-Marian spirituality: the Heart of Mary in the missionary life of the Claretian
  • Implementing expressions of Marian spirituality and ways of intensifying it

9. Introduction to the Claretian Mission

  • The evangelizing Church
  • The mission of religious in the Church
  • The apostolic mission of the Claretian (MCT, CPR, SW, IPM)
  • Practical orientations for the apostolate
  • Learning some techniques of the apostolate

10. Special Topics in Law

  • as a basic program the outline found in Appendix 10 may be used
  • this must be supplemented with other elements, as: CIC 662-672, 673-683 and 684-685, 686-687.

11. Other Elements

  • Musical formation
  • Manual skills, practical duties and domestic services
  • Information on the present state of the Congregation and of the Province: General Government, formation, apostolate, finances
  • Other appropriately determined topics according to circumstances


  • An active and participative method
  • Yearly planning
  • All necessary committees and departments may be organized: for liturgy; M.C.S.; music; Justice, Peace and the Safeguarding of Creation; culture; sports; library and others


  • Systematic Conferences during the year by the novice-master and his team[5] and by other collaborators (professors, experts, etc.)
  • Special intensive courses organized by the novitiate itself during the time of formation (special days, vacation outings, etc.)
  • Courses organized by and with other institutions of Religious Life (Congregations, Institutes, etc.), especially for studying and developing common themes


[1] Cf. Appendix 3, II.

[2] Cf. CIC 650,1; 652,2.

[3] Cf. CC 61; Dir 196, 197.

[4] Cf. Annales 56 (1976), pp. 466-467.

[5] Cf. CC 68, 77.