“We are the clay and you are our potter; we are the work of your hands.” (Is 64:7)
As the Potter breathes on the clay and molds it as he sees fit, we are formed. This is how we are prepared as we tread the path of life we are destined to take. The breathing (calling) and the molding (formation) by the Potter (our Creator) are processes that help us in our journey.
The Camillian formation, like all other religious formations, starts with the initial process of discernment. Vocation discernment is a process on understanding how God is calling you to be of service to him. It is both a spiritual and a personal journey. Are you called to such vocation? Are you called to be a Camillian, to serve God by serving the poor sick even at the expense of one’s life?
To be a Camillian, a candidate undergoes a formation that will guide and help him in his discernment. We have the Initial Formation that covers Pre-Novitiate Formation, Novitiate Formation, and the Post-Novitiate Formation.
As an aspiring Camillian, he will first have a year of orientation of seminary life. The Orientation Year aims to assist the candidate, in a systematic and progressive way, to identify his own vocation and to develop his full personality harmoniously in the community. It also leads to a growing assimilation of a personal experience of God. It gradually introduces the value and meaning of religious life as lived in the Camillian Order.
Right after the Orientation year is the College Formation (St. Camillus College Seminary), a stage wherein the qualified Camillian seminarian from the Orientation year is trained in the College Seminary level. It aims to develop the total person of the seminarian within the setting of a community so that he can attain some degree of psycho-spiritual maturity and mental acuity needed to discern better the initial call of God for apostolic service. It is also the stage of formation of the seminarian’s initiation towards apostolic life that sets the direction for further growth towards a deeper understanding of Christ’s call to serve the poor sick through the Order.
Aside from the Regular Pre-Novitiate Formation, we also have the Adult Formation that lasts for two years. It is primarily designed for aspiring professionals and adults who wish to commit themselves radically to follow Christ more closely through serving the sick even in danger to their own lives.
The candidate who passed the Pre-Novitiate Formation then enters the Novitiate Formation (St. Camillus Novitiate), a period wherein the life in the Institution begins. A novice is given a greater understanding of his divine vocation as well as his vocation to the Order. It is within this period that the novice experiences the manner of life of the Order, focusing his mind and heart on its spirit, charism, and ministry. It is a period of religious initiation where the determination and fitness of a novice is tested. The Novitiate ends with the temporary profession of vows.
The successful novice enters the Post-Novitiate Formation or the Scholasticate Formation (St. Camillus Scholasticate). The religious prepares himself with “maturity and responsibility for perpetual profession” by faithfully living the evangelical counsels and by practicing the demands of the Constitution and the General Statutes of the Order. The Scholasticate Formation consists of psycho-spiritual, intellectual, cultural, apostolic and religious training. What is crucial at this stage is the creation of a community that favors conditions for religious maturation. It is within this climate that the religious enters into a deeper union with Christ; thereby he is guided and prepared for the lifetime self-donation to the Lord.
The Pastoral Year Formation is a one full year formation, which is a part of the Post-Novitiate/Scholasticate Formation that serves as immediate preparation for perpetual profession of vows and integration of academic formation and Camillian ministry through exposure and immersion in the various Camillian ministries, interspersed with days of reflection and integration. It is a non-academic year of formation that a candidate undergoes after the completion of formal studies in the Scholasticate and upon the approval of the Council.
The task of religious formation does not end with the perpetual profession. It involves a life of continual spiritual/religious growth and human maturation.