Formation and Application
The formation program is ultimately nothing more or nothing less than various Dominicans, in different roles, helping others to discern the Holy Spirit’s call in their lives and to learn how to respond to that call in terms of a religious life oriented toward preaching.
That, however, is a simple summary of a very difficult and many-faceted program. And the real beginning of the process takes place before one ever contacts the Dominicans. It begins with the candidate’s own struggle to discern if he has a call to the religious life or not. This can take place over a number of years, and usually involves some help from others, especially a confessor or spiritual director. The dynamic here should be noted: it is a personal call from God to the individual, but the recognition and understanding of that call normally requires the help of others. This dynamic continues throughout the following, more formal stages of formation: the candidate continues to struggle to understand and give shape to his call under the guidance and direction of others. Nor should it be surprising to us that this is the case. God always enlightens us, teaches us, sanctifies us through the Body of Christ, his Church. His grace for us, in other words, is always ministered to us through others. The grace of a vocation is made incarnate in the service, education, and training that others give in order to bring that vocation to life.
The following is a broad outline of how a man moves forward from initial inquiry towards application to the Province and finally onto the path of formation: