The main idea for these four weeks is to offer rich and practical formation in Spiritual Life to Formators (in Seminaries and Formation houses) and Students of theology (USA and Europe/Africa).
The first three weeks consist essentially in offering a solid initiation into the foundations of spiritual life. The contents of these three weeks can be found under the course “SF000” here.
Note: The third week will be a retreat in which the students will learn the Prayer of the Heart (or Contemplative Prayer) which is the third and last part of the SF000 Course.
The fourth week will offer a unique teaching on the theological connections between the main topics in Theology (Bible, Dogma, Sacraments, Moral, Pastoral) and Spiritual Life and also a course on “Ensuring Steady Growth.” (see here) This fulfills the Vatican II wish for students of theology to “experience” what they are learning (see Vat II, O.T. 16).
The formation will include: courses, workshops, and daily hours of prayer (one hour of Lectio Divina and two hours of Prayer of the Heart).
This course has many unique aspects:
- It quenches the intellectual and practical thirst of theology students
- It offers a very solid, clear and practical formation in Spiritual Theology
- It helps ensure fruitful implementation of the teaching in the lives of students and answers practical questions (through workshops and one-to-one sessions)
- It allows the grace of God to work in the ample times of prayer and during the dedicated retreat time
- It links the spiritual life of the student with his or her actual studies in theology by bridging topics in Spiritual Theology (Bible and Spiritual Life, Dogma and Spiritual Life,etc…)
- It opens the way for whoever feels the call to later teach Spiritual Life, Spiritual Theology, or work in spiritual formation to have a solid foundation.
The formation would be aimed at students in theology (seminarians, religious, committed lay persons,…) and also to those who, after having studied theology, desire to specialize in teaching Spiritual Life or Spiritual Theology or to work in the area of Spiritual Formation. It is a very demanding four week commitment, but we hope and pray it will bear many fruits for the Church.
It is important to note that the topics and spirituality taught are rather of the entire Church, and not of a specific spiritual family. We draw from the two thousand years of the Church’s living spiritual doctrine and from the spiritual masters. We would like to strengthen the common denominator in all spiritualities first, by offering something “valid for all”, very much inspired by the structure of the Mass itself. We consider this aspect an important part of the mission of the School of Mary. Should a student desire to deepen his or her own specific spirituality, they will be able to do so afterwards in their own spiritual family.