‘We must be with people, helping them to discover the freedom of the road, and glimpse the goal of all our journeying… We will be only able to do this if we are with people where they are, not telling them where (we think) they ought to be.’ T. Radcliffe OP
Resultant from our incarnational spirituality we believe that there is a close correlation between our deepest desires and God’s desires for us. As such a large part of the mission of the community is to listen closely to others, to help them to know themselves in God and then to discover the correlation between their desires and God’s desires for them.
Our job, indeed the job of all of us, is not to terrify, but to set people free. Religious life in the past has not done that very well. So we have regrettably been terrorists on occasion: endeavouring to put the fear of God, rather than the love of God into people – with terrible consequences. The young must be given the freedom and the guidance to grow and to choose.
Vocational choice unfolds in and through the ordinary reality of our life. It has to do with a way of life that appeals to us, grabs us and excites us to the core of our being.
It is congenial to who we most deeply are. It represents the specific organic direction in which we are invited to continue our ongoing formation process. All of life has the potential of touching us, of helping us to unfold as the unique persons we are called to be.
Recognising the uniqueness of each person, discernment, admission and formation in the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham is tailor made to each person’s individual needs and begins where the candidate is – spiritually, emotionally, affectively and intellectually.
It happens gradually and covers several stages following the enquiry stage:
|Candidacy …||Aspirancy followed by Postulancy|
|Initial Formation …||Novitiate ending with Temporary Profession|
|Juniorate ending with Permanent Profession|
|Ongoing Formation …||that lasts throughout the rest of life.|
It is very important to remember that all the years up to Permanent Profession are a time of discernment, of verifying God’s call to life in this community. However, as someone who has experienced it said, our formation program is very thorough.
Hence the hope is that candidates will arrive at their first profession with sufficient maturity and freedom to sustain their choice in the years ahead.