When a man is interested in having a closer look at our life, he starts a discernment process which, from start to finish, involves the following stages:
At this stage a man simply expresses his interest in getting to know us better. As an affiliate, he regularly visits our houses, begins to experience our spirituality and builds relationships with various brothers. Quite often he will also join some of the brothers for vacation and Christmas retreat.
At some point an affiliate will also move into one of our houses, especially if he has not done so previously, in order to experience the day-to-day life of the brotherhood. He is free at any time to cease being an affiliate.
If a man’s interest has been piqued he can decide to consider our life more seriously. He will then enter a formation process, first in his local region, and then in our international formation house in Ann Arbor. During that time, he will “go in common,” i.e., start experiencing what it means to no longer own anything by himself, but to share everything with one’s brothers. For a period, he will also leave whatever occupation he is engaged in and serve full-time in our internal life and in our mission. During this period he also passes through our programme of courses and teachings which help him understand our life and calling. Intensive pastoral care helps him discern whether this way of life is really for him.
3 Temporary Commitment
After a minimum of four years, an affiliate in training can make his first temporary commitment. In doing so, he commits himself to live the life of the covenant, to remain single for a year, and to share his life with other brothers. In other words, he attempts to live “normal” brotherhood life, and the very attempt to do so helps him and his brothers see whether this life fits him.
He will typically renew this commitment at least twice before making his lifelong commitment.
4 Lifelong Commitment
At the end of a period close to seven years, then a man can make his lifelong commitment.