Through God’s grace, a candidate for the Oblates of the Virgin Mary undergoes a radical reorientation to Jesus Christ in the spirit of the Founder, venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri (1759-1830). As prayer forms his heart in the likeness of Christ, the candidate participates in community life, apostolic works in a variety of settings, careful spiritual direction, and rigorous studies in philosophy, theology, and the charism of the institute. Oblate formation grounds itself in the prayer and study necessary to teach and defend the truths of faith and moral values which are revealed by God and entrusted to the Magisterium of the Church.
After an official visit to Our Lady of Grace Seminary and completion of the application process, the accepted candidate begins the period of formal preparation for religious vows and ordination. The three stages of the formation program are:
POSTULANCY: During the first two years of formation, the postulant begins to live religious life in the Oblate spirit. Following a typical academic schedule with breaks at Christmas and during the summer, the postulant pursues or completes a degree in philosophy and liberal arts.
NOVITIATE: The second stage of formation is a full year of intense spiritual maturation in preparation for religious profession. The novice engages in prayer and study of the religious life and the Oblate charism as he seeks confirmation of God’s will for his life. The experience of the 30-day Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius plays a central role in this discernment.
THEOLOGATE: After first profession and reception of the Oblate habit, the cleric studies theology and prepares for final profession and ordination. His theological studies culminate in a Master’s degree, with the possibility of further specialization at the doctoral level. Summer apostolic assignments and a pastoral year provide valuable experiences of living and working with Oblates around the world. This period of formation typically lasts five years.