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Travel the Path with us... to Mary

The process of joining the Society of Mary is a thoughtful and considered one. Through the various stages of discernment, a person can comfortably get to know the Marist community and its sense of mission and spirituality. It also allows the community to welcome and encourage those discerning a vocation with the Marists while aiding them in their process of discernment. This mutual exchange of prayer, introspection, and friendship helps a person to discern God's intention for his life.

The Marists want to give you time to make a good decision. We want you to feel confident that this is what you want to do with your life. We don't want to rush you.

The process varies to suit the needs of different people; we follow a flexible schedule throughout the candidacy process.

Society of Mary InquiryOnce you contact the Marists, we will send you an informational packet. The packet includes a simple questionnaire to fill out and return to us. This no-obligation form helps both sides to get acquainted. Once we receive the form, the Vocation Office will contact you about your interest in religious life with the Society of Mary as a priest or brother.

The next few steps will include many conversations with Jack Ridout, Vocation Director and/or a Marist Priest or Brother. As your discernment becomes clearer about the possibility of joining the Society, you will be asked to live in a Marist community for a period of time for you to test out community life and for us both to get to know each other better. During this time you will be provided a Marist to mentor, orient and be of help for further discernment. You will also be provided with a spiritual director.

Prior to this live-in period, you will be asked to go through a thorough behavioral history and interview process to help you and the Marists assess your readiness for this period of living in a Marist community. The provincial and his council will decide about your readiness for this move into temporary community.

Following the successful completion of your live-in discernment period, and if both sides appear ready, you can apply for the Postulancy program. You will be asked to provide certificates of Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation and letters of recommendation and undergo psychological and medical tests. Upon decision of the Provincial and his Council, you may receive a formal call to Postulancy in the Society.

The Postulancy program is at least a 10-month period designed to introduce you to Marist religious life and to prepare you for the novitiate. The postulant experiences communal religious life more intensely and learns about Marist history and charism. You also will begin formation with a thorough background in the Catholic Faith emphasizing areas that may have been unclear before you entered Postulancy.

You will also learn a great deal about prayer and methods of discernment that will help you deepen your growing sense of vocation and deeply rooting you in your Baptismal sense of call as a Catholic. You will work with a spiritual director. You will also begin the process of learning the basics of the mission of the Society and its spirituality.

Nik Rolewald, PostulantThis will prepare you for the more intense work of the novitiate. Studies in philosophy may also be initiated during this time for those preparing for ordination. You will also participate on service projects. Once again, you will be provided a spiritual director.

Towards the end of the Postulancy and if you perceive that you are ready for the Novitiate, you will undergo both physical and psychological testing, and write an autobiography. The Formation Director then reviews the application and supporting materials. Following receipt of all documentation, three Marists will interview you, and make a recommendation to the Provincial who will Decide whether you appear ready for a call to the Novitiate.

The novitiate is a one year period of preparation prior to taking temporary vows as a Marist. During the novitiate, novices concentrate on spirituality, prayer, the history and Constitutions of the Society of Mary, and the three vows of poverty, celibate chastity, obedience.

Society of Marist Novitiate

Although you do not take academic courses, you do participate in service projects. At the end of the novitiate, candidates may request to take temporary vows as a Marist. The Provincial and his Council will make a complete review and decide whether to call you to vows in the Society of Mary.

The vows of poverty, celibate chastity, and obedience are to God but are received by the Superior General of the Society of Mary, or his delegate.

After being called to vows, the new Marist will go to Rome to study at the international theology program there for Marists from around the world. Both priest and brother candidates will do further studies to prepare them for their future in ministry. Those studies usually require four years and there is also a year of internship in a Marist ministry during those years.

Those in temporary vows will be called to take final vows in the Society after three or more years. For students for the priesthood, there is also an internship as a deacon at the end of studies. After Marists become deacons, they are generally ordained to the priesthood within one year.

Candidates who plan to be Marist brothers study theology or religious studies for two years following the novitiate and take time to develop their specific talents for ministry within the Society.




The preparation
for a lifetime of
Marist service
is deliberate
and prayer-filled.

It is also amazingly
rewarding and
a tremendous opportunity
for growth.


Request More Information
about the Society of Mary
as your vocation.




More about a Vocation with the Society of Mary

I Am A Marist
Hear about religious life in the Marist community, personal discernment stories, and faith experiences from our Marists, in their own words.

Read I Am A Marist>

Frequently Asked Questions
You may have many questions while considering a vocational life as a Marist. Our FAQs may help in your research.

Read Vocation FAQs>

At many stages of life you may feel God calling you. But how do you understand and act upon God's plan for you?

Read About Discernment>

Vocation Resources
Delve into our resources of books, web sites, and other links that may help in your discernment.

Visit Vocation Resources>




Throughout the
formation process today, students interact with laity
in the classroom as well as
in ministerial environments.

This is absolutely necessary, since the Church will prosper
in the future only with a
closer collaboration between laity and religious.

Mark Kenney, SM



Society of Mary Statue



"I want to journey with others
as a companion rooted in Scripture, Church tradition,
and the community of faith.

I want to help others connect
the sacred and the secular by unearthing the Divine rooted
in everyday life."

A newly-ordained Marist