Formation of young Professed in West Africa
In 2007, following an initiative of Mother Benedict, Prioress of the monastery of Toffo and with the consent of several other superiors of West Africa, a monastic formation was put in place for monks and nuns of West Africa. It consists of a Studium with six sessions spread over two or three months, intended to complete the initial formation in the noviciate. It does not cover a seminary programme.
Two Sessions of Formation in Southern Africa
For several years BECOSA has been offering a formation for the formators of Southern Africa. The most recent session took place in July 2015 at the Abbey of Inkamana.
Twenty-five brothers and sisters took part in this session. Similarly a session brought together again monks and nuns of Namibia 15-19th August at the provincial house of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at Doebra, at which there were about forty participants.
Formation of young Professed in Brazil
In recent years the superiors of monastic communities of Brazil had set their heart on the development of a substantial programme of study for young professed in the framework of courses organised by Young CIMBRA. In January 2007 the new executive committee decided to form a cycle of three years for the young professed. This was a proposition a little different from that of preceding years:
1. One session a year instead of two.
2. Each session lasts 15 days instead of two.
3. There are 5 hours of course per day, with study exercises and lectures in the evening.
4. The participants undertake to follow the full cycle of 3 years.
5. To ensure a good study-atmosphere and a good level of contact between professors and students, the number of students should not exceed 30.
The purpose is to offer an academic introduction matching the monastic studies. The majority of local communities in Brazil are not in a position to ensure the formation of their young professed. This initiative is guided by the hope of seeing the formation of future formators and, beyond this, that a good part of the material offered by these courses should be passed on by the participants to their own communities as an element of permanent formation. This proposition was enthusiastically received by the local superiors.
A certain number of professors have accepted to take part, many of them drawn from the monastic milieu, but also a certain number from state universities.
La Manne des Pères / Manna from the Fathers
This venture was launched in January 2014. Four volumes have already been published in French:
1. Polycarp of Smyrna
2. The Life of Anthony the Great by Athanasius
3. Commentary on the Psalms by Augustine
4. The Lord’s Prayer by Cyprian of Carthage
Apart from no. 3 these give a complete text. The editors have decided to number the volumes, thereby giving them the character of a collection and making it easier to follow the volumes issued.
Further titles are being prepared for issue in 2015:
1. The Life of Benedict of Nursia by Gregory the Great (full text)
2. The Life of Macrina by Gregory of Nyssa (extracts)
3. The Rule of Augustine (full text)
4. The Life of Martin by Sulpicius Severus (extracts)
It is intended to issue the texts in groups of four each year.
As far as is possible without becoming artificial, it was decided that the programme should be guided by current events, e.g. anniversaries. The Year of Consecrated Life has been observed; similarly, the Life of Martin coincides with the opening of the Year of St Martin.
The AIM offers free distribution for monastic formation to French-speaking monasteries in Africa and Asia which lack resources.