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January 2002

Members of the Secular Order of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are called to perfection of the Gospel by observing common precepts of the Roman Catholic Church.  Members bind themselves to the observance of the Rule.

Our Order has adopted a lay Rule approved by the Church.  Public solemn promises are made, and members are integrated within an approved community of the Order.

We are non-canonical communities formed as  private non canonical communities until approval is obtained from the Holy See.  This document will help those responsible for formation to understand certain terms and concepts.  It is very important to remember that we are lay religious and we live in the world, but are not of the world.

a.       Profession:  Members make solemn perpetual promises.  This profession establishes obligations not only toward God, to Whom the promise is made, but also toward the Order.  This private profession represents a consecration of the candidate to God through Our Lady and the Rule of the Secular Order of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  This profession obligates the individual under the virtue of religion.    A full year as a Novice is required before a member may profess.  During this period of prayerful reflection and study, the novitiate is required to complete general teachings on the spiritual life, the Rule, Scripture and the spirituality of May.  The individual must also be recommended by the local community council.

b.      Postulate and Novitiate: The Order requires a first and second period of probation and training to properly discern and learn to live the Rule.  Normally a person is a candidate and then a postulant until the assigned period of admittance to the Order.

Reasons to prolong the Novitiate are:

1.      Doubts of sincerity and progress of the candidate by the Council and the community formation director.

2.      Perceived developing problems with Church standing, moral, ethical matters, i.e. marriage problems, illicit or potentially dangerous association with groups or persons (near occasion of sin), etc.

3.      Illness, such as mental illness or addictive afflictions.

Serious illness of a physical nature DOES NOT prevent a person from becoming a member of the Order.  The sufferings can be used for making reparations and for petitioning mercy for the world.  If a council does grant permission for a person to enter with a serious illness, the community has the profound obligation to encourage and minister to this person.

Novitiates are permitted to wear the distinctive clothing of the Order.  The black cross is used to distinguish between novitiates and professed.  Professed crosses have a silver-color metal backing.  During the novitiate, the candidate should be trained as outlined in the formation program of the Rule and as implemented by the local community.

c.       Priors.  Priors and those responsible for community and individual formation have the serious obligation to lay a solid foundation for the spiritual life based on the Gospels and teachings of the Catholic Church.  Spiritual mentors and formation directors are to be assigned from community or Order resources, or even outside the community, to insure proper formation.

A mentor is a person of prayer and spiritual life.  The mentor will assist members in acquiring holiness of life.  It is strongly recommended that each member seek out a regular confessor.  This priest may be the spiritual director.  ONLY PRIESTS ARE ALLOWED TO BE SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS OF COMMUNITIES.

Each member of the Order requires spiritual guidance.  Members are called to a higher life and are expected to work out their salvation as lay religious.  The Order does require communities to give basic spiritual growth teachings and materials.  This does not relieve the member from self-study or from seeking to participate in Diocesan and parish programs.

d.      Spirituality:  It is important to the council to realize what Christian perfection is.  This will help in discerning and keeping the community or members focused on what is truly important.  Christian perfection is not:

  1. The multiplication of religious exercises
  2. Adopting new devotions and practices of piety.
  3. Severe penances or mortifications
  4. External works.

Christian perfection arises out of the love of God and love of neighbor.  Christian perfection must be supernatural, and spilling out of your relationships with the Trinity, people, and things.  Only then does love make us like God.  Seemingly virtuous acts, miracles, locations, etc. do not offer infallible proof of holiness.  Grace and infused virtue are sources of Christian perfection.  1 Cor. 6:17:  “He who is joined to the Word is one spirit”.

We are called to live our lives in God’s Divine Will, as Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  God’s Will is to live, an infinite and all-consuming love, a love which takes in brother, friend, neighbor, and enemy alike.

Our members make the following consecrations prior to their lifetime profession: Consecration to Truth (God’s Word), Consecration to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart, St. L. De Montford, Total Consecration and the Consecration to the Divine Will.  The consecrations help the soul to focus on the path to holiness and request divine help in their spiritual growth.  Consecrations can be found in the Prayer Book.

The call to holiness is a call to the ideal and Person, God Almighty.   A soul given such a call is not content with personal mediocrity or favorable comparison with observed laxity in the pew or with the worldly.  This call is to do and live in the Divine Will.  We can remind and call members to the greatness and beauty of this goal.  It is a sacred duty.

One thing is necessary!  We are called to one great aim.  It is full consecration to God’s Will.  The central idea of this consecration to the Father through the Victorious Queen of the world is to fulfill perfectly His Divine Will.  We must learn to listen in our prayer life and to live in the present moment as the Holy Spirit prompts us.  We strive to do all for the greater honor and glory of the Father.  Simply stated, it means to do all to PLEASE GOD.

Lay Religious life should lead one to a higher degree of Christian perfection.  Regardless of vocation a soul is called to the love of God.  The Order provides a means for Christian perfection.

Why should one be a Secular/lay Religious Order and live by a Rule?

Joining a community of committed Christians brings home the solemn call:  “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”.  We are all called to Christian perfection.  Personal sanctification is our most serious obligation.  Most canonized Saints in the Church were people in a consecrated life style.  Brothers and Sisters in an Order pray for you every day and are available to assist you in time of need.  Consecrated life means to be set apart for the service of God.  People tend to become who they say they are.

This life opens the door to minister first to God and then to your neighbor.  We need

 the pressure of peers to help us and a Rule provides a faithful monitor.  Each member

 is an important tool to be used by Our Lady in the world.

The Rule is a proven guide to grow in the spiritual life and live in community with like-minded people.  The Rule helps one to do what is prescribed and saves a lot of time wondering what is to be done.  The Rule performed through obedience and love produces virtue since it is a means of fulfillment of God’s Holy Will.  Our obligation of prayer is very clear and each member will benefit by the prayers of the Order

Priors and those people responsible for formation should help community members to overcome tepidity, secret fears, material attachments, and an empty spiritual life.

Many times the demands of the secular life pressure the soul to leave religious life.  A sympathetic, listening heart will help.

The lay religious must learn to be detached from the world and be attached to God.  Your vocations to live in the world and yet not be part of the world, is the key.  The precepts of the Rule do not, in themselves, oblige under sin, but failure to live the spirit of the Rule can cause scandal and give poor example.

e.       Community Life: Special events are planned by the council to help foster a sense of community based on the Rule and the spirituality of the Order.  Community Councils are required to sponsor days of renewal and other events to help foster the Rule’s spirituality.

Mutual charity and tolerance are key practices.  To live or work in harmony with others requires great humility, patience, meekness and true charity.  In the community, we have a true opportunity to learn these virtues in a trusting and safe family setting.

Isolated members are also assigned to an Isolated Community or part of a foundation.  Councils should attempt to help isolated members grow and participate when possible.

Isolated Members should attempt to participate in the Regional or Special Events.  Isolated members are not excused from the obligations of the Order.

Formation Directors are to review the Order formation guide and keep records on the progress of the person.  Each person should be acquainted with the local and International Library.  It is imperative that the individual understands that they are assuming the obligation to observe the Constitution and Rule of the Order before profession.  Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace with God and men. (Luke 2:52)  Jesus prepared for His ministry by prayer, mortification, humility and obedience.  “He was subject to them” Luke 2:51).  We also must be meek and humble of heart.  (Matt. 11:26).  Our life must reflect the truth of the Gospel.  In this Truth will we find our sanctification and ministry to the Lord and within the Church. See the Formation Guide and Record form.

 Communities are encouraged to have books; video and audiotapes that amplify the formation guide for individuals.  In addition, every meeting is an opportunity to learn and pray.  Give everyone an opportunity to participate in the programs.  The Holy Spirit is the teacher, we are the means He uses to teach and sanctify our brothers and sisters in the Order.

APPROVED:                                       Roland K. Lee, JMJ

                                                            International Prior General


1 per Prior

1 per Spiritual Director

1 per formation director

1 per Diocesan Vicar for Religious

   With communities