Education at Juniorship

Last purpose of the education at juniorship

Education at juniorship is the continuation of the initial education at the novitiate1. It aims at the continuation of the human growth, on the human, intellectual and spiritual level, in a more open and more complex frame. The purpose of this phase aims at allowing the young sister to keep on focusing her entire life on the Sequela Christi and the Gospel Requirements within the MSHF Congregation according to its spirituality and presence right in the heart of the world. "Education should own the characteristics of the introduction to a radical Sequela Christi. Since consecrated life aims at taking shape in the Lord Jesus, it is a must to design a route that allows one to own, little by little, Christ's feelings towards His father", by the power and action of the Holy Spirit which cries out in us "Abba Father "!

For this reason, Consolidation of the "Inner Human " takes up a significant place. Prayer, silence, Lectio Divina, daily biblical meditation, Eucharist and regular spiritual accompaniment for the best discernment, are the pillars of this phase, in addition of the established theological and vocational education, because the keystone of this phase is the theological and academic courses, provided either successively or simultaneously.

The agents of Formation

The community of juniorship is not the unique place where the juniorist is educated (a significant difference with the novitiate community). The sister in charge of the juniorship is not the unique person helping the young sisters to receive education. Vita conserata speaks about numerous agents of the young sisters' education: God the Father being the first educator, the juniorist herself, the educator, the community, the events, the courses and the persons with whom she communicates, the world in which she is immersed, are sources which contribute to her own education. The challenge for her is to be helped to unify her depths through the multiplicity of these sources. Indeed, such role devolves directly on the educator who accompanies the juniorist during this stage of her life.

1 If "the religious life starts in the novitiate" (Renovationis Causam 4,13), the juniorship proves to be, as a whole, the end of the initial education and the fruits of the continuous education. The importance of this transitory phase and the special care it requires are more significant than any other phase of the education. Juniorship and a fortiori novitiate constitute the initial basis of the education, its modest beginnings. (For the education in apostolic religious life; elle Huasman, s.c.m.; collection consecrated life; p.27).

2 Going from Christ again (No. 18). 3 "Education requires (...) that all necessary aspects be presented, so as to be a doctrinal, spiritual and pastoral education, but also an education to a practical life that makes for the autonomy of the communities, as well as a vocational education, with the needed diplomas, when it proves necessary for exercising the proper apostolic mission" (IL. Synode VC. 91).

The challenges of the education of the educated persons

This new and complex situation of the approach of the world shall be lived in terms of difficulties as diagnosis and in terms of hardship as challenges. In a world that does not help towards growth, the juniorist faces difficulties she must create into challenges. There are hardships, where she is affected deep within. The task of the teacher lies in: to support her in order to overcome these hardships without wavering, or leave the fight and so that these hardships can be an occasion to confirm her personality and to deepen her consecration. This is a task that goes beyond the educational cycle, a sort of relationship that one can successfully build in personal and spiritual accompaniment.

1. Difficulties relevant to the shock of change of the educated persons

The young sister is invited to face transitions and the passage from a former life to a new life. This is a permanent task that requires awakening because the world in which she is re-immersed is the world she has just left. She must learn to be patient with herself and with discipline before starting to taste the fruits of her efforts: this is the test of time, the test of growth. She is supposed to find balance between what it is (reality) and what it must be (truth) and seek to give meaning to the daily life, whether positive or negative.

2. Difficulties relevant to the educated persons and their capacities

Facing social, communal and apostolic dimensions, the young sister is invited to live with others in mutual respect, to surpass herself and to be questioned in the name of Christ, who gathers us despite our differences. This is the Test of reality. She is supposed to develop both her inner psychological and spiritual space: psychological inner space where conflicts are developed, assimilated and assumed.inner spiritual space where spiritual experience (such as meeting God) is maintained, developed and fully lived. This is the test of interiority.  

3. Difficulties relevant to the weight of the Institution

The young sister is bound to find her place in the life of Congregation, to be regarded as an integral part of all projects of the community. Courses being longer and longer, she must wait too long, on one hand, to assume responsibilities, and she must face the weight of a hierarchically organized Institution and the conflicts of generations of others; therefore, she lives the test of hope.
To conclude with what the Church says

"Young people need to be encouraged to follow the high ideals of a radical Sequela Christi and the deep requirements of saintliness, for the sake of a vocation that surpasses them and goes beyond the initial project that urged them to enter a specific Institute". ".We must be deeply generous to devote our time and our best energies to education. In fact, the consecrated persons are among the most precious assets of the Church. Without them, all apostolic and educational projects remain disregarded and unaccomplished wishes. Not mentioning that at our present pressed days, time, perseverance and waiting are needed more than ever to attain the purposes of education. In an environment in which speed and superficiality prevail, we need serenity and deepness, because human being is being built very slowly". "The future of a consecrated life depends on the dynamic capacity which Institutes shall set forth for the sake of their members' education".

“If it is true that revival of the consecrated life depends mainly on the education, it is also true that education, in turn, depends on capacity of suggesting a methodology, a spiritual and educational wisdom which direct little by little those who intend to devote themselves to make Christ’s feelings their own. Education is a vital step, which leads to convert to God’s word until the depth of the human being, and at the same time, to learn the art of searching the signs of God amidst realities of the world”.

Will this education end with the education cycle expected for six or seven or even ten years? The young sister will always need to be assisted by her elders, especially when she enters pastoral work; this is especially where she needs to read again and to review permanently her way of life in the light of the Lord and the Church. New strategies are always to be set up, so not to leave our young people by themselves. A new look, the look of another one in her company remains necessary at every age, all the more that every age has its own crisis, interrogations and traps. Not to omit that, by accompanying the young buds of today, we shall prepare those who will be in charge tomorrow. May we prepare a holy, sound, solid and living relief for the sake of the Church of Christ and His kingdom, hic et nunc.

As a charter for every educator, here is a text to be regarded as a milestone we should keep in our ministry of education:
"I know that we do not change the givens of their nature,
But we can develop a certain number of reflexes:
Encourage them to go ahead, taking situations to the best side.
Dispose them to wonder, to gratitude.
Invite them to tame loneliness.
Let them discover that they are well loved and that they can love.
Taste the grace and forgiveness.
Incite their uprightness as their intellectual curiosity and their art gifts. (.)
Living just
Living plentifully
Rather than aiming for artificial success
Elusive, relative and ambiguous happiness
Ido not want them to live by proxy
Without acquiring autonomy
Since what we know to do and what we can do
We discover it by doing it.

" Collette Nys-Masure 'Celebration of the daily life' Ed. Littérature Ouverte - DDB  

Blessed week Let us pray : 

Christians in Africa.

"That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace."

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