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Initial Formation in the Province of the United States

15/09/2009: United States

On September 8, 2009, Feast of Mary’s Nativity, the Marist Brothers welcomed Christopher Santoro into Initial Formation as a postulant in a simple Rite of Welcome, borrowing from the monastic tradition with a contemporary feel. Building on the three meanings of the word postulant (from the Latin: postulare - to claim, to request, and to demand,) Chris was asked to stand outside the door of the Novitiate and knock three times indicating his intention. Br. Rob Clark (Novice Director,) greeted him at the door and a dialog ensued among the Novice Director, Vocation Director (Br. Mike Sheerin), Brothers from the Esopus communities and Chris.

The monastic tradition called for the dialog to demonstrate the “newcomer’s” readiness, preparedness and determination to take this first step into religious life. It also asked for the community’s willingness and commitment to accompany him. In this simple ritual, symbolized by the three knocks at the door, Chris was claiming his personal spiritual journey, requesting Marist life for himself and demanding that life from us, his Marist Brothers. We ritually marked this moment of initial formation for two reasons: 1) Chris is new to us and this first step is significant for him. 2) By his presence among us we are being reminded that we as a community have the responsibility of nurturing new membership by word and example. We, his new Brothers, offered him our support and encouragement in his quest.

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