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Jesuit Formation: Training a Jesuit Priest or Brother - Jesuits of North-West Africa Province | Society of Jesus

Gratitude Magazine March 2015 Edition

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Training of a Jesuit Brother

The training begins with two years of Novitiate in Benin City, Nigeria. This period of training and formation includes a 30-day retreat. At the end of the training, if the novice is approved, he pronounces his first perpetual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

This is followed by 2-3 years of professional and academic training, according to the talents and academic/professional background of the Brother. Then there will be 2-3 years of apostolic work, based in a community. This might take place in a parish, school or house of formation, and might include teaching catechism or some other subjects.

After that, the Brother is assigned to at least one year of theological and pastoral studies. After some years in the active apostolate, the Brother will do a year of spiritual renewal called Tertianship, which includes another 30-day retreat. At the end of the tertianship, the Brother is called to become a fully incorporated member of the Society.


Training a Jesuit Priest

The Jesuit priest’s formation starts with a two-year novitiate done mostly in Benin City, Nigeria. During the novitiate, one is Picture of Jesuit Priestly Ordination. expected to make a thirty-day retreat in the spirit of the Ignatian tradition. This retreat is based on the Spiritual Exercises. After the novitiate, the approved men will pronounce perpetual vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.

Then comes the period called the ‘First Studies’, which are usually done in philosophy and humanities. These studies are done mostly in Zimbabwe and in the  Democratic Republic of Congo. The First Studies lead to a period of Regency when the scholastic is immersed into one of the apostolate of the Society. This period is 2 -3 years.

After the regency, then comes the period of theological studies. The theological studies are done mostly in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. After some years of labour as priest, the Jesuit is then sent back to another kind of novitiate called ‘tertianship’. During this period, he revisits the Constitutions and does another 30-day retreat. At the end of the tertianship, the tertian may be called to final vows.  It is after final vows that the Jesuit technically becomes a fully incorporated member of the Society.

Stages of Jesuit Formation

Jesuit Novitiate

First Studies


Theology Studies

Graduate Studies


Final Vows


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North-West Africa Province

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Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria

Tel: +234 907 177 3535


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