The road to becoming a Divine Word Missionary is a challenging, yet joyful one that includes education, formation, prayer, pastoral work and cross-cultural training.
Here are the steps you’ll take on your journey:
When a man first explores a call to life as a Divine Word Missionary, he will make contact with the Vocations Director, and after an initial period of inquiry and contact with the SVD, he will enter the Pre-Novitiate.
The pre-novitiate is seen as the first experience of community life for the candidate to the religious missionary vocation.
The Novitiate provides a special time and environment for the nurturing of a growing vocation. The Novitiate builds upon what is already underway in a person’s life. It serves to mature and clarify a vocation in accordance with the religious lifestyle and the special charism of the SVD.
During this time, the Novice must deepen his understanding of and commitment to his own vocation. This is a time of serious personal and community discernment, the aim of which is to allow the novice to make a mature and free decision whereby he publicly commits himself to the religious missionary life of the Society as a student for the priesthood or for brotherhood in the SVD.
During Novitiate the student discerns his vocation within the Society, which will lead him to making a public commitment to live according to the apostolic counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, according to the Constitutions of the Society of the Divine Word. For the next 5-7 years, at the beginning of the academic year, (usually on March 25,) every SVD seminarian or brother in formation makes a commitment to live religious life according to the SVD Constitutions for one year. With the intention to commit oneself for life, assisted by professional formation personnel, his community and personal reflection and prayer, the student makes a choice to live religious life for one year. The temporary character of living religious life gives the student the freedom "to choose again," until he is ready to say his "Yes" for life, at the end of his initial religious formation.
The academic program is based at Box Hill in Melbourne, Victoria. Our students study philosophy and theology at the Yarra Theological Union. Those students who are able to meet the requirements will, in the course of their studies, earn a Masters of Theology Degree from the Melbourne College of Divinity.
The Overseas/Cross-cultural Training Program has developed in the SVD over the past several decades and has, by and large, provided participants with an enriching intercultural experience. The program has become an important element of missionary formation.