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Frères de Saint-Jean Province de France
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Formation des Frères de Saint-Jean

Stages of formation

Following a preliminary time of discernment as a postulant (around 1 year), the first stage of formation is the novitiate (between 18 and 24 months). During this period the novice receives the habit and his religious name. The third stage is simple profession (at least 4 years), which is spent partly in a priory of formation so that the brother can begin his studies and partly in an apostolic priory on placement (1 or 2 years). At the end of this period, which should have confirmed whether or not the brother has a vocation with the community, he may take his solemn (perpetual) vows. For those called to the priesthood, which is the case for the majority of brothers, ordination always takes place after the brother has taken his final, solemn vows.


Throughout a brother’s initial formation he is personally accompanied by his formators, who help him to discover the charism and life of the religious institute and to discern freely whether or not to continue along the path to a definitive commitment. In order to guarantee the brother’s inner freedom and openness of heart, accompaniment provided in relation to the external forum (given by a teacher or prior) is separate from accompaniment provided in relation to the internal forum (given by a spiritual director or confessor).


Studies are undertaken in accordance with the Congregation’s Charter of Studies (Ratio studiorum), approved by the Holy See. They form each brother to live our vocation and prepare those who will continue to the diaconate and priesthood. They include courses in philosophy, theology, pastoral ministry, canon law and also the humanities such as Church history and psychology. More specific formation is provided in relation to emotional and sexual maturity and the prevention of abuse. The Brothers and Sisters who teach and the professors who come from outside of the Community all give their classes in the studium of philosophy and theology. In addition, it is possible to pursue university studies outside of the Congregation and to receive a state or canonical qualification.

For more information on our studies


Affiliation with the Angelicum (Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas)

By decree of the Roman Congregation for Catholic Education on 12 March 2020, the Studium of Theology in Rimont became affiliated with the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. This affiliation enables the Community of Saint John to award the canonical diploma of Baccalaureate in Theology to its student brothers after six years of study (comprising two years of philosophy and four years of theology). The fourth year is both a year of study and pastoral placement. The cycle of studies [or ‘year’?] ends with examination for the canonical baccalaureate in theology. This diploma enables the student to enrol directly onto a Licentiate of Theology programme.

Our affiliation with the Angelicum is recognition of the seriousness and quality of the formation we provide. It is an important encouragement for the Brothers of Saint John because of the importance of the search for truth in our vocation.

Logo Angelicum

Studium of Theology in Rimont

Delve a little deeper

Who are the professors for the different stages of formation?

The professors who teach in the Brothers’ centres of formation have either a State or Canonical qualification.

They are made up of Brothers or Sisters of Saint John, laypeople, diocesan priests and religious from other communities.

Whether studying philosophy, theology, or other subjects such as exegesis or psychology, the student brothers thus benefit from a wide variety of complimentary expertise.

Our formation houses

The community novitiates are in:

– TOGO (Kara)
USA (Princeville, Illinois)
MEXICO (Monterrey, Nuevo León)
– FRANCE (Rimont, 71)

What happens during postulancy?

Postulancy lasts for approximately one year. It is a time during which the postulant discovers our life and discerns whether he wishes to ask to enter the noviciate. Depending on the country, the postulant either lives in one of our priories or is involved with a priory whilst being resident elsewhere.

When a postulant is resident in a priory, he participates in the life of the Brothers. He meets regularly with the brother responsible for postulants and with a spiritual director of his choice. He also receives an introductory formation.

When a postulant is resident in a priory, he participates in the life of the Brothers. He meets regularly with the Director of Postulants and with a spiritual director of his choice. He also receives an introductory formation.
When a postulant is unable to reside in a priory, he follows a programme of meetings and opportunities to experience life in the priories as well as monthly formation. He is accompanied by the Director of Postulants and by a spiritual director of his choice. In this way he is able to continue with any studies or professional activities he is undertaking. Should he wish to ask to join the noviciate, he will undertake a retreat for vocational discernment.



How are religious names chosen?

A religious name is given to a brother at his clothing (when he receives the habit), halfway through the noviciate. The novice himself suggests three names, from which the superior chooses one. The monastic tradition of changing one’s name expresses the fact that, on entering religious life, the baptised person embarks on a new path in the footsteps of the Lord.

On a lighter note!