Novitiate house forms part of the Mother House where lies the
tomb of the Founder and Founders. It lies on the hill of Ebrine
village, seven kilometers from Batroun city and at 400 m height.
Duration of novitiate
Novitiate spreads over two years. This is time of humanitarian, social, spiritual and religious training right in the heart of our Institute. "Novices do not come into the novitiate with the same human and Christian level. Special attention should be focused on each one in order to follow her step and to provide her the education and content of the training offered to her" (Potissimum Instutioni, 2 February 1990, 51).
Features of these stages
- The beginning of life in the Congregation;
- The break with the former life;
- Acceptance of some commitments during this lengthy duration ;
- A greater stability for two years and an exclusivity of twelve
The purposes of this stage
- Having “a better knowledge of the divine vocation in relation with
the Institute” Can. 646;
- “Experiencing the Instituted pattern of life” Can. 646;
- Inculcating “their thinking and heart with the Institute spirit” Can.
- “Experiencing their aims and efficiency”, i.e. their capacity to…
Training at novitiate, contents and stakes
Novitiate is a period of training in many respects; a period
of initiation to a new pattern of life, in the wake of
Christ. In this way, the person is introduced to a new way
of seeing herself, of seeing God and the surrounding world.
In the beginning, this will result in some destabilization
due to the break with the former pattern of life, then the
discovery of a new balance, a new meaning and acquisition of
new attitudes adjusted to the new situations she is supposed
This initiation leads the novice to the root of her being, which will trigger in her an attitude of interrogation, understanding, adherence, adaptation and conversion. However, there is only true conversion if the person enters on her free will and forms part of this adventure. Because nothing can be formed in her without her consent, adherence and contribution are absolutely necessary. This dynamic urges the novice to stand on her own and accept to freely loose the hold; otherwise, the training shall turn into a taming and conditioning process.
So, the training as a whole aims at helping the person to fully admit the maturation process of her personality through many awareness-takings, rising little by little to Christ's full caliber that she came to follow.
The way to novitiate between experiences and teachings (Cf. Session CSM - CSMF; sr. F. Greffe rscj):
The role of the novices’ teacher is to offer to the novice
a way, in the name of the Institute. This way is fulfilled
through concrete experiences and a teaching aiming at allowing
her to leave the world and its logic in order to perceive
another with another logic. These experiences and this
teaching give her the concrete and intellectual means, which
will help her understand this major change so as to adhere
to it as best she can..
Concrete experiences include the stages of a daily life witnessed
in cohesion with this new logic. The point is to adopt
a new way of thinking, living, acting and praying.
with an evangelical
mind and according to our Institute’s spirituality and
charisma. Likewise, she is invited to follow a certain way to
pray every day, to make conversation on the basis of God’s Word,
to read it again daily, to participate in the group prayer,
Eucharist and Divine Office.
The novice is invited to join some pattern of life in community
such as sharing the meal in a sisterly and heartily mood, to
partake in different activities (workshop, housework, garden
maintenance, rest, outings, games, sport activities), to have
a share in the management of the house, shopping, dialogue
sessions on expenses, greeting, reading again and reviewing
community life and how to get involved in decision-making. Further,
she is invited to follow a certain way of acting in greeting
situations, how to combine the opening to the world with the
As for teaching, it
will allow her to structure her life, to give meaning to these
concrete experiences and it will help her objectify
her daily life, to examine and discover it.
Teaching relates to many fields: introduction to the Bible,
introduction to lectio divina; renewal of Christian faith
and sacramented basis, introduction to liturgy, to prayer and
office; study of patristic texts, especially syriac Fathers;
study of some texts of the Church: Vatican II, Vita Consecrata,
Starting afresh in Christ; study of the Christian life,
its foundations and components; vocation and consecration,
spiritual and prayer life, vows, community life, apostolic
life, sacraments and vows; study of the Constitutions of the
Institute, its history, its founding texts, its spirituality
and charisma. Not omitting topics and themes of general cultures
and of secular sciences according to each novice’s needs
These approaches aim at helping the novice become integrated
in her own education, by introducing her to the understanding
of all her steps and suggested exercises, while explaining
to her the purpose and the means of these.
Approach to the educational process
The point is to explain to her the meaning of an educational
process, how to have access to it, how to be partake of
her own education.
Approach to self-knowledge
Novitiate is the appropriate place and time for the novice
to ask basic questions concernig her identity, personality, temper,
nature, capacities and limitations. Through interviews and
questions, she searches for answers: Who
am I? What is my story? How do I react? Why do I react so?
What kind of relationship do I have with others…
Approach to life intelligence
This approach consists of checking and confirming her
knowledge as well as the acquisition of a broader know-how such
as: planning her personal time, learning good manners and basic
gestures for communication and the maintenance of ties in
communities (role of humor, discretion, decency, consideration,
self-control, compassion and respect), body care,
and the importance of the physical culture and sport (outdoors
games, indoors games, walking, hikes), taste and know-how
development through hand-made and art activities (painting,
music, icon workshop and gardening), the broadening of general
culture through newspapers and magazines, reading and internet
use on diverse and current topics….
Through diverse exercises, the novice becomes
aware of her listening, understanding and expression capacity,
as well as her capacity to objectify, analyze, syntheses,
argue, research in a library, summarize
Allows the novice to be able to ask a theological question,
to read theological texts, to ask questions of faith, to
situate herself based on previous knowledge, measured
against new acquired…
Approach of belonging to a new ecclesial body of the Congregation
With the help of progressive immersion, the novice will perceive the MSHF Constitutions, founding texts, through
meetings with older sisters, collecting testimonies, reading
the stories of those who died etc. By reading, studying, extended
research, sharing and interiorizing, she will become the
sister of this family, adopting its spirituality, story,
projects and hopes…
Best focus of attention in education
Factor-time, maturation and maturity are reliable
scales. Yet some questions remain present in the educator’s
mind: Has this novice an inner space to adopt and integrate
conflicts? Has she the capacity to accept and take responsibility
of herself,for living the necessary loneliness, as well as finding balance between self-rule and fair dependency?
Is she able to read again the salient points of her own development?
has she the capacity to keep her distance from daily life,
events, people and things? Does she possess right judgment, good
sense? Has she a sense of responsibility? Does she know
how to organize her time? Does she possess within her something
that moves, that is getting on, that is apprehended on the
level of reactions, behavior and reflection? Does she accept
questioning on sensitive points? Is she able to
relativize situations? Can she retrace and objectify
the fulfilled course? Is she able to lead a life of abnegation
(in the psychological meaning)? Does she have the means to communicate
(opening to others)? Does she accede to an accompaniment
relationship with simplicity and transparency? Is she happy?
What are the places and objects of her joy of living? Is her
spiritual experience becoming genuine over time ?