Jesuit formation is about helping young men who join the Society ‘make progress’ in their journey of following Christ. It starts with a two-year novitiate where the men discern more deeply their call and make the Spiritual Exercises.
At the end of their novitiate, the men take vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Jesuit brothers go on to receive specific formation and go where the needs are great and where their talents are needed. Those called to be priests have a longer programme. They firstly study philosophy and humanities for two or three years. Then there is two-year practical placement in a Jesuit ministry, for example working with refugees or teaching in a school. This is followed by four years of theology and then ordination.
Every Jesuit province has a Formation Delegate whose role is to guide each young Jesuit and to propose when and where he will be sent for each step of his formation.
The Formation Delegates from the different European provinces meet every year to discern and discuss the needs emerging and how best to help and accompany those in formation. What mattered most to St Ignatius, and what matters also to Jesuits today, is that each man is helped to make progress in his following of Christ, to deepen his attachment to Christ and to develop his ability to love and serve in all things, finding God in each moment of the day.