“We want to form the members of our Institute in great human and Christian maturity so that they reach the extent of the full stature of Christ (Eph 4:13).” (SSVM Constitutions, 195)

Mother superiors and their assistants from the Houses of Formation in the Province (Postulancy, Novitiate, Juniorate).

Mother superiors and their assistants from the Houses of Formation in the Province (Postulancy, Novitiate, Juniorate).

During the past week, the mothers and sisters who serve in the houses of formation gathered with our Provincial Superior, Mother Mary of the Immaculate Conception, SSVM, for our annual Formators’ Conference.  This time allows not only for review and consideration of the life in the houses of formation (a perennial work!), but also for a more deep reflection on the manner of community life and approach to formation according to our charism.

SSVM-2017 Formators' Conference Prov USA presentation

The thematic basis for the conference this year was the influence and teachings of Saint John Bosco (1815-1888) in our own charism and way of formation.  Our founder, Fr. Carlos Buela, IVE, has always been very devoted to the great “father of youth” and founder of the Salesians.  Don Bosco developed how to live the Christian life in common through a holistic education according to “the spirit of the Oratory.”

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Don Bosco (1815-1888), educational innovator and “friend of youth”

Directly aligning himself with the spirituality and pastoral method of St Francis de Sales and St Philip Neri, Don Bosco articulated the warmth and structured vision of joyful Christian formation in order to make saints.  Our Constitutions and Directory of Spirituality (and our Directory of the Oratory!) are all indebted to these three great saints.

St Philip Neri, St Francis de Sales, St John Bosco

St Philip Neri, St Francis de Sales, St John Bosco

(Of interest: In 2016 the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquired a portrait of St Philip Neri by Carlo Dolci (1616–1687) [very nicely written “catalogue entry”] which is now on display in Gallery 601.)

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May our own community life, religious life, and missionary life be places where sisters become saints.  May they also know how to bring their fellow religious and all those souls in their care (young and old) to the holiness of life so as to live forever in Heaven, our true home.

Don Bosco, pray for us!  Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us! Saint Philip Neri, pray for us!

Missionary Sisters in Papua New Guinea (who did their formation in the US!)

Missionary Sisters in Papua New Guinea (who did their formation in the US!)

In a special way, please pray for those sisters who will profess first vows (and those who renew their temporal vows) on Wednesday, November 1st, Solemnity of All Saints in Washington, DC.

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“…so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.  Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:14-16)

SSVM-Juniorate-2016-2017