What are the steps of formation ?
The years of formation in the Brotherhood consist in three years at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary: postulancy, novitiate, and an additional formative year as a professed brother.
- Postulancy: During the first year, the brother is known as a brother postulant.
- Novitiate: If at the end of the postulancy he is found sufficiently disposed to the religious life, the brother is received as a novice during a ceremony in which he receives the traditional habit, donning the cassock, Roman collar, and tassel-less sash. and a religious name is received. The novitiate is the first stage of a brother’s religious life where he receives the religious formation which will serve as the foundation for his future life in religion. During this time he tests his vocation and thoroughly studies the catechism and spirituality. The new brother will be taught the importance of the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and will continue his study of spirituality. He will also attend classes on the psalms sung daily in the Divine Office.
- At the beginning of the third year of formation, the young man professes, for the first time, the religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience before the Blessed Sacrament on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel (September 29th) for a period of one year and becomes a professed brother. This concludes his novitiate, although his training will continue. During this third year at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, the brother receives professional development in the field where he shows most promise. He also studies apologetics and masters the Catechism so as to be able to teach it effectively to others.
After this third year of formation, the brother will be given an assignment within the Society of St. Pius X, most likely outside of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, such as one of the schools or priories of the Society, where he begins his apostolic life.
One year after the first profession of vows, each brother will renew his religious vows twice on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel for a period of one year. After these three single-year engagements, the professed brother can renew his profession for two consecutive three-year periods. After having been a professed brother for nine years, he can profess his vows of religion in perpetuity.
Throughout his religious life, the brother takes a month-long vacation every year with the approval of his superior. An annual six-day retreat of prayer, rest, and recollection is also held for all brothers.
What a wonderful gift of self to God!