Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FSP Formation Through a Wide-Angle Lens

One of the most exciting periods of a novice’s two-year formation as an up-and-coming Daughter of St. Paul is what we call her “apostolic experience.” It’s much like an internship. The timeframe for both our novices, Sr. Emily Marsh and Sr. Sywia Skonieczna, is five months, but the cities couldn’t be more different: Philadelphia and Warsaw.

A European assignment is not the usual, but seeing as Sylwia is on loan from Poland for her novitiate and is destined to return, it’s a must.

Novices Emily and Sylwia with Sr. Carmen
It requires a fair amount of soul-searching, both for each novice and their host communities. Can they live with each other? How do they grow together in the charism, that is, the way they are present to the Church and the world as Paulines? Does the mission flourish because of their collaboration? And especially for the novice, can she see herself faithfully living a life of consecrated chastity, poverty, and obedience?

From what we’ve heard so far, both novices are settling in very quickly. No doubt you’ll get to check in with them now and then through this blog over the next months.

So what’s their director doing meanwhile? Sr. Carmen Christi Pompei has flown the Boston coop, too…with the postulant director, Sr. Rebecca Marie Hoffart, from St. Louis! But wait. No time off for these two. They’re attending an intense, two-month course in Rome for “formators.” Topics in their syllabus are related to modern youth culture, evangelization in a world of globalization, and our communications culture today. Conferences on our Founder’s writings connect the heart of Pauline spirituality with the formative journey. Finally, the experience will be capped by a pilgrimage and retreat. We won’t be able to live with them!

Jackie Gitonga, Laura Nolin, Cheryl Galema, Theresa Noble,
and Erin Nolan with Sr. Rebecca
Joy, awe, gratitude, and renewed commitment light up Sr. Carmen’s e-mails back to us, and Sr. Rebecca is intrigued with the international makeup of the group of 32 formation directors. Both of them look forward to sharing all they’ve gleaned with the postulants ( and novices, as well as with other young women exploring a religious vocation.

There are 185 young women in the first stages of initial formation with us around the world in a congregation that numbers 2,600. Seven of them live in the U.S. In addition, seven junior professed sisters with temporary vows continue their discernment in our communities in the U.S. and Toronto in preparation for their perpetual, or “final,” vows after six years. If you'd like to contribute financially to their formation, why not send your gift online to the Daughters of St. Paul Education Fund:

Now, our formation directors aren’t the only ones going to Rome. Today Sr. Margaret Kerry and I leave to accompany several Pauline Cooperators on a pilgrimage to Italy, especially to the sites of our foundation. We'll meet up with Sr. Carmen and Sr. Rebecca there. Look for my next blog post Nov. 3, after I return. Ciao!

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