Formation & Education

IMG_0332In summoning disciples to share fellowship and mission in his company, Jesus invited them to “come and see,” (see John 1:39). The Church has entrusted the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament with the important mission of advancing love for the Eucharist through an ever-deeper awareness of the life that flows from the sacrament. In order that others may share in this Eucharistic mission, the Congregation continually welcomes new members. Formation gradually and progressively introduces the individual to our life of prayer, fraternity, and service centered in the Eucharist. Our formation/education program is divided into three stages leading to final vows and ordination to the priesthood.

Be the apostle of the divine Eucharist, 
like a flame which enlightens and warms, 
who will go to proclaim Him to those who don’t know Him 
and will encourage those who love Him and are suffering.

Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Founder

Stage 1: Pre-Novitiate

Focus: Discovering the Call (Vocation)

ASPIRANCY is a time of vocational discernment with the Vocation Director. It is a non-residential period and the aspirant continues his regular job and/or studies. This period deepens the level of dialogue and sharing between the Congregation and the aspirant. There are several interviews with the Vocation Director including an in-depth behavioral assessment interview. The aspirant may then request further discernment into the life of the congregation, which will lead to postulancy.

During Aspirancy, we offer the Blessed Sacrament College Formation Program. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in a special way during the formative years of young adulthood. We are eager to accompany you as you discern God’s call in your life. The Blessed Sacrament College Formation Program can help. Learn more about the College Formation Program.

POSTULANCY provides the opportunity for a more profound understanding of Christ, His church, and a first initiation in the Congregation’s Eucharistic spirituality. The postulant lives with the religious community and so experiences religious life and a variety of ministries under the Postulant Director. This program awakens within the postulant a desire to follow Christ, and to help him discern his vocation in the church. If needed, the postulant enrolls in pre-theology studies of philosophy in preparation for the Scholasticate. At the end of this stage, there is an evaluation of the postulant prior to Novitiate.

Stage 2: Novitiate

Focus: Discovering the Eucharistic Vocation and Vowed Religious Life

The NOVITIATE is a time apart from the usual pattern of one’s life and involvements so that the dimensions of the Eucharistic vocation and mission can be explored and integrated. Through prayer, study, reflection, community life, and limited ministry, the novice grows in an understanding of his call, the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, the charism of our Founder, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, and the joys and challenges of religious life. The novitiate lasts for two years and is presently located in New York City at our Saint Jean Baptiste Community. At the end of novitiate, and if approved, the novice professes vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience and moves on to the scholasticate.

Stage 3: Post-Novitiate (Scholasticate)

Focus: Discovering the Eucharistic Mission

The SCHOLASTICATE is a time of formal graduate-level study and continued formation in our Eucharistic spirituality and prayer, community life, and ecclesial ministry leading to final vows and priestly ordination as a Blessed Sacrament Priest or final vows as a Blessed Sacrament Brother. Our seminarians live in our Chicago community and are formed for the priesthood according to the requirements of Canon Law and the program of studies at Catholic Theological Union, a graduate school of theology. The Master of Divinity degree is a requirement for priestly ordination.

The scholastic brother equally prepares himself to serve the mission of the Church and our Congregation by studying theology and other subjects pertinent to his chosen ministry.