The Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary's formation program has a first stage of discernment known as the postulancy and novitiate. The person who wants to become a member of the Disciples seeks to answer the call of Christ who invites him to become one with Him, consecrated by the Holy Spirit to the service of the Church. During this first formation period, the aspirant as well as his superiors discern the candidate’s vocation and his capacity to embrace, as his own, the particular life of the Institute.
The postulancy is an initial period to become familiar with our life and discern the candidate’s vocation. The candidate may then be admitted to the novitiate. The novitiate's main goal is for the novice to learn how to live as a Disciple in accordance with the expectations of religious life, practicing the evangelical counsels to grow in charity and, in this way, achieving in their life the unity and balance between contemplation and activity, as it is called for in our particular way of life.
During the novitiate we have three experiences that introduce the novice into our spiritual traditional: a 30-day spiritual exercises that put us in contact with the Ignatian style and spirituality; a month dedicated to working in hospitals where we live an intense experience of love and service to Christ in the poorest and the most needy; and a pilgrimage that introduces us into the mystery of life, which is a journey in friendship following the Master's footprints.
The novitiate concludes with the religious profession, in which the disciple consecrates himself to Christ to follow him more closely through the journey of the evangelical counsels according to the charisma of the Institute.
After the first stage of our education is completed, we begin the formation period that prepares us to receive the sacred orders and our future ministry. The core of this education is the philosophical-theological studies.
We are convinced that a solid theological education is the best foundation of the spiritual life. We are also convinced that the desire to know Jesus Christ is what moves us to study in depth, and to confront the high demands posed by our education. Two things characterize the way in which we live our theological formation: 1) our love of the Church and our fidelity toward its teachings; and 2) the desire to better serve the Church with a solid education which may require higher degrees, such as a Masters or a Doctorate.
We also encourage and promote exposure to those things that may help us in our overall formation, depending on the objectives of the Institute and the needs of the Church. For this reason, we enrich our theological education with the study of the humanities, the reading the classics, the experiences throughout the various apostolates, sports and other leisure activities, and the joy of a communal life.