When Catholics speak of “formation”, we mean preparing people to participate more effectively in the mission of Jesus.
Formation is much more than training or education; it is about the internalisation of values, attitudes and perspectives, and the maturing of faith.
Jesuit formation is always undertaken with the idea of mission in mind. What we do in our formation helps us to be better able to help others. When St Ignatius went back to school at the age of 33, he did so in order to be able “to help souls”.
The formation of a Jesuit begins with two years in novitiate, followed by several more years of study in the areas of philosophy and theology and practical experience in various ministries. Formation continues even after ordination.
As lay people take on roles in Jesuit ministries, formation has become important for them as well. This includes spiritual formation in the form of retreats, which are offered by several Jesuit spirituality centres across Asia Pacific.