Factory-produced novices?

Should every young novice be treated in the same way when it comes to formation? Does one size fit all? St. Jane de Chantal didn’t think so.


Each woman has to be formed according to her particular qualities and shortcomings, says the saint and co-founder of the Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary.

Go to the website of the Visitation Sisters and read the article, “Formation: Not a Mass-Production Factory!”

What would a “factory-production” of novices look like?

While me and my fellow novices lived within the same house and followed the same schedule and had similar house jobs and had classed together, we each had our own ministries (as well as a shared one) and we each set our own goals that we worked through with our novice director.

Is this really an issue? Or is this just some hype put out by this group to drum up interest?

No formation process is exactly the same. Even if you live in the same house and follow the same program, everyone’s reactions will be different, and each novice is evaluated individually.

This just seems like a somewhat misguided marketing campaign. :confused: I very much doubt that St Jane Chantal would be happy to see her words used to imply that other orders do have “factory produced” novices.

To those outside religious life in these times of individualism, the very fact of a Rule of life means mass-production methods.

They cannot see that in truth there is much more in religious life than the idea of a Rule suggests. Rule means total subjugation to them - in the wrong way. Just as they see celibacy as repression.

None are factory produced. Their obviously needs to be some similarity for the novices of one community since they are called to the same charism and mission --> there is no generic calling to religious life more than a generic calling to marriage. The call is to a certain spouse or a certain religious community. Each community needs to balance the formation between the similarity required for it to be the community it is called to be and the individual aspect that lets each member be all they can be in that community.

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