Novitiate house

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 canonic months.

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. 646;
- “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 to live.

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.
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 break

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.

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 and capacities.

Educational approaches

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….

Intellectual approach

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 books…

Theological approach

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 ?

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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