Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What is formation like for consecrated virginity?

Disclaimer: you are now reading a post about formation by the one being formed, not by the formers, which is kind of like asking a second-grader about the objectives and milestones required to advance to the third grade. </disclaimer>

Formation for consecrated life is formation for the whole person, to prepare them to live as a spouse of Christ on earth and a mother of souls. Forming the whole person includes spiritual, intellectual, and affective components. For example, I am taking a Faith Foundations class through the School of Faith (it's free and available to you, too!) for intellectual formation right now. For affective and spiritual formation, I am following a rule of life and meeting with local focolarine weekly. Each week, we review and share on practical applications of topics like:
  • God loves me immensely (where? when last week? even when you were suffering? how do you know? do you trust Him?)
  • doing God's will in the present moment (even in the car? are you patient in the present moment? do you stay there with Him?)
  • loving like God: first, unconditionally, with a smile (this is how you spend the whole day with Him! If only I knew anything about it....)
  • the Word of God lived out in life (we're on this now and I'm totally confused)
Med school is also a help with affective maturity and discipline. When I read about old-fashioned religious obedience and humility (e.g. when St. Bernadette would be told "kiss the floor and leave" or when St. Therese would not excuse herself for misdemeanors she wasn't guilty of) I think, "oh, perfect. Med school is just like that." The third year med student is in a year-long postulancy where no no excuse is valid and no credit is given. And who needs hair shirts when you have to give up your personal time to do practice questions, study, and drive? It's very hard to keep a balanced lifestyle, so it really tests your discipline and prudence. (When should I study? How much? Am I doing my duties? What comes first: morning prayer, or morning report??)

Formation has been challenging but amazing. I am shocked at the changes I see in myself just in the past 12 weeks. The most important part has been having spiritual mothers to set an example of unconditional love. God is radiantly generous!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing about your vocation journey. As it happens, mine is very similar, although I am a fourth year medical student living in Canada where the dynamic is a bit different. I have, however, trained in the US with a Catholic NFP-only Ob/Gyn, Dr. Mary Martin who is an expert in infertility management. Perhaps you'll meet her some day. I hope to be a family physician. I would be glad to meet you some day. Is there a way of e-mailing you?

    1. I am so glad to meet you! I just recently heard of Dr. Martin and am so glad you're becoming a family doctor. Please email me at medicalmatins@gmx.com. I look forward to hearing from you!