The word Vocation comes from the Latin verb Vocare meaning to call. God calls all men and women to follow him in some way. Some are called to be Mothers, Fathers, Lawyers, Truck drivers or Doctors. God also gives unique vocations to follow him in religious life and the priesthood. God can and does call people specifically to be Paulines.
A Vocation to the Order
God calls men to be Paulines. Every religious orders exists because God has given a charism, a special gift to the Church through a particular saint or order. The Pauline Charism, like all great orders, is very robust and broad. It essentially is based on four pillars.
A Love of Prayer alone with God alone and liturgical prayer
A poor and industrious life
A desire to spread devotion to Our Lady, particularly in the running of her shrines
An openness to the needs of the Church, in preaching and the administration of the Sacraments, particularly in the hearing of confessions.
The Order is a monastic order, but has a very active apostolate in parishes. The Order looks to the tradition of the desert Fathers of Egypt and particularly to St Paul the first hermit as well as to the communal life of Blessed Eusebius, our founder, and St Augustine, our Rule giver.
There are two way of living the Pauline Charism, either as a priest or as a brother. They both take the same vows and wear the same habit. A brother lives the life of a proper monk; he can give his complete time and energy into becoming a saint. He lives the religious life without the worries and cares of a priest. He is close to people and close to God. Lay brothers tend to be the real saints in religious life. They keep our monasteries and houses running, they serve Mass, they work in the fields, they cook, they work in the office and they clean. They are our backbone and our constant humble prayer to God. A priest on the other hand, celebrates Mass, administers the Sacraments and gives himself to pastoral work in our shrines and parishes. A Pauline Priest juggles both the life of a priest and a monk, though rewarding, it is not easy and not for everyone.
What to do with a Vocation?
Should you feel a pull or a tug on your heart towards our order, the first thing you should do is pray and secondly come and see us. Please visit our shrines or parishes and say hello to us. The best way to get the girl is to ask her out on date, likewise in a vocation the best thing to do is come and visit us. A vocation, like a wife, is not on a website but in a real place.
The growth of a Vocation
To be a Pauline, like being a Christian is a lifelong process. He who repents quickly falls back quickly. One begins the process of becoming a Pauline by approaching us and being in contact with us. This may take several weeks, months or even years. At this informal stage, one is called a candidate to the order. Once a certain degree of maturity in the possibility of a vocation is reached one can apply to live with us full time as a postulant. A postulant lives the complete Pauline life, but without the obligations, responsibilities of it and therefore without its privileges. These two stages are done in Australia and are very flexible. They are a time for a young man to look at us and for us to look at him. Once a postulant and the order is certain, then it is time for the novitiate.
The novitiate is essentially boot camp for the religious. Entering the novitiate one becomes a Novice. Novitiate is a real test, it lasts a full 365 days and the novice is almost completely cut off from the outside world. It is a time of rigorous growth, work and prayer. The novice must also make a choice either to become a priest or to be a lay brother. Lay Brothers usually do their novitiate in Australia, whilst future priests generally are sent to Poland, which is a great test of the seriousness of their vocation. During novitiate, one is clothed in the habit of the order and may take a new religious name. The novitiate ends with the profession of temporal vows.
Temporally professed Paulines are Paulines and live the full life of a Pauline. The vows are sort of like a try before you buy period. They are renewed yearly, meaning one can leave by not renewing. This period can last anywhere between 3-9 years. During this time, future priests live at our house of formation in Rome and study 2 years of Philosophy and 3 years of Theology at the Angelicum University. They can study either in English or in Italian. Lay brothers also spend a period of two or so years in some form of formation in Australia. After a suitable amount of years, living the real life of a Pauline in a temporary way, both the man and the order may choose to make it permanent in the profession of Solemn Vows.
A solemnly professed Pauline is a Pauline who makes his vows permanent, that is until death. He becomes a full member of the Pauline family and shares in all its privileges, rights but also in its responsibilities and obligations. The initial formation for a lay brother is complete at this stage. A Pauline can only be ordained a deacon or a priest after he is a full-professed member of the Order.
Every Vocation is unique. Every Pauline is unique. Every formation is unique. God calls unique individuals, uniquely to our unique order. If he is calling, you to follow him in the adventure of the Pauline vocation, then do not be afraid, come and see us.