WHY DO YOU NOT WEAR A HABIT?
Since we are a religious community more similar in nature to a Society of Apostolic Life than to an Institute of Religious Life, the habit is not a requirement for our identity. During the founding of our community only twenty years ago, the discernment process led us to this choice: to wear modest and simple clothes. The local authority of the Church of Rome blessed and supported the decision, giving canonical recognition to our Rule of Life. Even though as consecrated women “we are not of the World,” we nonetheless live in it. We witness Christ through our life, without any external visible sign, except for the joy of our consecration.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE A PRIESTLY SPIRITUALITY?
Priestly spirituality means that in our charism we look to Christ the High Priest as a model and inspiration of who we are and what we do. Our Rule of Life says:
“The figure of Christ the Priest is at the center of the spirituality of the Apostles of the Interior Life. Jesus Christ, manifestation of the Father and giver of the Spirit, is loved in a particular way by the Apostle of the Interior Life. The more she loves Christ, the more intensely she will love the apostolic activity of Christ, that is, his salvific mission”. (RoL 3)
We try to imitate Christ in His three-fold office of Priest, Prophet and King, taking full advantage of the Common Priesthood of the Faithful bestowed on each of us at Baptism (defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1546-7). Having a priestly spirituality does not refer to having any desire or claim to become ordained ministers. Our Rule of life clearly states:
“The Apostle of the Interior Life, aware and well informed of the Tradition of the Catholic Church concerning the ministerial Priesthood and of all that pertains to the dogmatic dimension of the Sacrament of Orders, is respectful of all the functions reserved to the Priest. She nourishes in her mind no ambition whatsoever in this regard and furthermore works actively in defending all areas of Catholic doctrine”. (RoL 6)
The vows of poverty, chastity and obedience taken by each AVI enhances the communal priesthood of the baptized. Our consecration unifies us with Him so that all our life is spent to grow in union with Christ and serve through the ministry He cared for the most: the formation of souls.
DO I HAVE TO LEARN ITALIAN?
Being a missionary community, we are required to be open to adjust to new cultures and environments. Our community is an Italian foundation, thus the Italian culture is part of who we are. It is a privilege for us to say that after being founded in 1990, the AVI were first approved canonically by the diocese of Rome, which is the heart of the universal Catholic Church .
It is our desire that a large part of the formation process to become an AVI takes place in Rome, which is where both the Mother House and the House of Formation are located. For non-native Italian women who feel a desire to discern our charism, it is a requirement to study Italian to prepare to live in Rome. The two official languages of the community are Italian and English.
HOW OFTEN WILL I BE ABLE TO SEE MY FAMILY?
The family we come from is very important to us. We are grateful to our parents for the gift of life and we honor and respect them, even if our vocation takes us away from a frequent interaction with them. We keep in touch with our parents and siblings and their families on a regular basis through phone calls, emails and visits (also during the time of formation). We are attentive to the needs of each specific family and we discern with the superior how to make ourselves present to our family when special circumstances arise. Every year each of us AVI is granted a period of three weeks to spend with our family at home.
CAN I KEEP MY PHONE, IPOD AND LAPTOP WHEN I JOIN THE COMMUNITY?
Yes, you can. During formation you will learn how to use technology in a balanced way and for the purpose it is intended: a means to an end and not a distraction or an amusement toy. We are not allowed to waste God’s precious gift of time just surfing the web or watching videos online, so as to maintain a prayerful and recollected attitude during the day. Everything we do has to have a purpose connected either to personal formation or apostolate. The choice to use technology for our recreation time is discerned with the community and is done together and not in isolation. The technological means at our disposal are given us by God’s Providence. We are trained to use them to give Glory to Him and to build His kingdom.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE LITURGY IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
The Liturgy is very much part of our life. Our day is timed by the Liturgy of the Hours that is comprised of Morning, Daytime, Evening and Night Prayer and Office of Readings. To pray all the Hours of the Liturgy expresses our desire to be in communion with the Church that prays without ceasing.
The priestly spirituality with which our Charism is imbued clearly shows how the Mass with Thanksgiving after Communion is the source and summit of our faith and indeed of all our life.
I STILL HAVE STUDENT LOANS. IS THIS AN IMPEDIMENT TO JOIN?
If you find yourself in this situation, you will be asked to work with the vocation director to find the best solution for your case. Having loans doesn’t automatically disqualify you to consider our community; however, the community cannot take on your loans as you only begin to explore the charism or enter formation.
WHICH LEVEL OF EDUCATION IS REQUIRED TO JOIN THE AVI?
Since part of our formation is earning a BA in Philosophy and a BA in Theology, at least a High School Diploma is necessary.