Allahabad Province Congregation of Jesus

“Cherish God’s vocation in you. Let it be constant, efficacious and loving.”

- Venerable Mary Ward.

Formation is a process through which a person, desirous of living a committed religious life, is gradually led to a personal encounter with Jesus, an encounter that leads her to make the concerns of Jesus her own. Therefore formation embraces all aspects of life: spiritual, intellectual, human and emotional. Formation has to do with transformation, with inculcating attitudes, with imparting a vision and spirit.

The purpose of Formation is to create an individual with a deep personal love for Christ, who is available for mission, armed with sound learning and judgment as a member of an apostolic body , working in solidarity with those in need in any part of the world.

“Formation in the C.J. is determined by the objectives of the Congregation and it is grounded in the experience of the Spiritual Exercises and seeks to live and develop this dynamic in daily life.” (CN. 3.9)

A young person entering the Congregation of Jesus has to pass through a long period of formation until she takes the final step of committing her whole life to the Lord. This long process consists of the following stages:


The first stage of formation is known as ‘Candidacy’. It is a time of orientation….. a time of clarifying one’s vocation. This phase lasts for about 2 to 3 years during which the candidates are helped to learn to pray, meditate and are slowly initiated into the ways of life in the Congregation. They are also taught English which is the common language of the Congregation. After a year of language study those who have not completed Class XII are sent to nearby colleges where they complete their studies At the end of this period, if they are still determined to follow Jesus, and commit their life in His service, they are admitted to the next stage known as Postulancy.


“Begin to serve Him with abundant love and the greatest perfection.”

- Mary Ward.

This phase, also known as pre-novitiate, is a six-month formation period during which the candidates discern further, with the help of the Directress of Postulants, their vocation to religious life. They are helped to familiarize themselves with the spirituality of the Congregation - the spirituality of St. Ignatius and Mary Ward, and are helped to further discern their vocation to religious life in the light of ‘the General Examen’ given in the constitutions of St. Ignatius. If they discern and the Congregation feels that they have been indeed called by the Lord to life in the CJ. they are admitted to the Novitiate.


“ I will give Him what I have and all that I need I will find in Him.”

- Mary Ward.

This is a two year period of intensive formation during which the novice is placed under the guidance of a Directress of Novices who accompanies her on her formation journey. The purpose of the Novitiate to provide for formation in all aspects life: spiritual, intellectual, human and emotional. In short, to create an individual with a deep love for Jesus who is available for mission, equipped with sound learning and judgment. During this phase the novice learns and experiences the manner of life in the Congregation of Jesus and gains greater clarity about her vocation. She is helped to grow in familiarity with God in prayer, in personal love for Christ, and to learn to seek and find God in all things. During this period the novice is enabled to grow in her understanding of the three vows, the Constitutions, Decrees , the spirituality of Mary Ward and St. Ignatius and the history of the Congregation. To give an apostolic orientation and community life, they are given the opportunity to live in a village with families, earning their livelihood, working in a hospital and living in a community for one month each.

If at the end of these two years of Formation, the Novice is convinced of her call to consecrated life in the CJ and the congregation too is satisfied that she has the disposition, aptitude and other necessary qualities for such a life she is allowed to take the three Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience for a probationary period of three years. Thus she is temporarily incorporated into the congregation of Jesus during a solemn religious ceremony.


“Those only truly love who are wholly God’s, and such only are strong and apt for such good works as are in the world to be done.”

- Mary Ward.

The next stage of formation is known as the Juniorate and it lasts for 6 to 9 years. This is “a period of gradual integration of spiritual life, community life, apostolate and study so that the fullness of spiritual life becomes a source of apostolate, an incentive for study and for a deepened spiritual life.” (CN. 4.3). A Directress provides Spiritual direction and accompaniment to the Junior sisters. They follow intellectual and professional pursuits at this stage and thus equip themselves for mission. If already qualified/ equipped, they may be engaged in any ministry they are suitable for.


At the end of the Juniorate, the young religious is provided with a period of intense spiritual renewal before committing her entire life to God. She is freed from all other commitments for at least seven months and spends this time in spiritual reflection and renewal. This period, known as Tertianship, concludes with Final Commitment to the Lord.

Ongoing Formation

Formation does not end with final profession but goes on throughout one’s life. The purpose of ongoing formation is to prevent stagnation and give vigour and vitality to one’s committed life and to improve the quality of one’s ministries. It requires the members to update themselves in the field of ministry and at the same time take all steps to nourish and renew their spiritual life so that it becomes deeper and apostolic activity corresponds better to the needs of the church and people.

Ongoing formation thus is a challenge that goes on; it is a process which continues with time which makes consecrated life a pilgrimage of Faith.

“In our calling, a cheerful mind, a good understanding and a great desire after virtue are necessary, but of all these a cheerful mind is the most so.”

- Mary Ward.