God in His love has gifted us with a founder who was a holy priest, a theologian and a teacher; a missionary of charity who lived the Gospel in an authentic manner.
Marie Anne de Tilly from being the dutiful, silently suffering elder daughter of a landed, penniless country nobility to become the teacher-formator of his first recruits. Fr. Chauvet guided her to brave the threats of her stepmother, to live in community with peasant girls and become the second superior. She will always be remembered by her inspiring statement worthy of emulation: “I have left the world, to give myself to God, for the good of the Church and service of neighbor.”
Marie Micheau who had never known the existence of a school in all her 17 years was transformed to be a good learner and be the First School Mistress and Superior of the School in 1700.
Barbe Foucault, formerly a domestic employee in a rich Farmhouse, transformed her shyness into tranquil daring, to become successively a hospital nurse, a Superior and in 1717, as the First Elected Superior General of the SPC Congregation.From the example of the first three Sisters, Marie Anne de Tilly, Marie Micheau and Barbe Foucault, transformation came from the heart. IT CAME FROM A DEEP FAITH, A STRONG RESOLVE MADE FIRM BY TRIALS AND PATIENCE IN SUFFERING – THE PASCHAL WAY. THEY WERE FORMED IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE MOLD OF FR. LOUIS CHAUVET – OF THE MOLD OF CHRIST.
Paulinian Formation is the total dedication to the overall formation of the whole person, both the human and spiritual dimensions.
Formation of the whole person refers to the process of transforming the inner and outer self in such a way that they become like the inner and outer being of Christ, Himself, a developmental process that takes place, as our Patron St. Paul states: “…until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). Fullness of life produces a person transformed or as St. Paul puts it – “complete in Christ” (Col 2:10).
The transformed person then contributes to the TRANSFORMATION OF THE WORLD – what Scripture refers to as the “Kingdom of God” (Mt. 13:45). The growth of the person by an intentional focus on one’s spiritual and interior life development will spill over into the physical body and human speech and actions, which have effect on the entire society. This transformation was very evident in the lives of Fr. Chauvet, our first Sisters and our own Patron, St. Paul.
THIS PROCESS OF IMITATION JESUS CHRIST OUR MODEL – IS TO BECOME WHOLE, TO BE TRULY HUMAN, TO GLORIFY GOD. St. Paul underscores the fact that wholeness is a divine quality: “God is not a God of disorder but of wholeness” (1 Cor 14:33).
Formation of the whole person thus calls for helping each Paulinian Formator to know and understand the call of what it means to be TRULY HUMAN – to be “DISCIPLE” and “AMBASSADOR” for Christ, a “MISSIONARY” after the heart of Christ. Thus it is a FORMATION FOR DISCIPLESHIP, EXCELLENCE AND MISSION.
Paulinian Formation is “Formation for Mission” expressed through a life of discipleship, excellence and service. This was the secret of our Founder, Fr. Louis Chauvet and St. Paul, our Patron. Their founding charism still exist today not only because they were great planners or strategists, but above all, they lived the very message they proclaim: “Life for me is Christ!” and “I have no greater blessing than to hear my daughters walk in the Truth” both proclaim a Christ-centric spirituality.
Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the distinct character of the founding charism, saying: “In our present age of professional, academic, scientific and technological development, it is absolutely necessary, “to preserve the identity of religious institutes so securely lest religious become part of the life of the Church in a vague and ambiguous way” (MR, 11). This becomes even more imperative with the words of Paul VI: “Let us not forget that very human institution is prone to become set in its ways, and is threatened by formalism. It is continually necessary to revitalize external forms with this interior driving force, without which these external forms would very quickly become an excessive burden” (ET, 12).
How many religious and lay educators today are caught up in the fast pace of “development” – hopping from one meeting or seminar, or training, to another, in a string of external activities, that steal away sufficient time and space for Christ and for one’s own religious family, which are both sources of that “interior driving force” flowing from the charism of the founder. How many of them soon experience the “excessive burden”… the lack of spirit or soul… the emptiness of such external activities that deplete and burn out one’s personal resources….”
A spirituality that is lived out becomes culture and will eventually endure. But “a spirituality that does not become culture is a spirituality that has not been fully received, not entirely thought through, not loyally lived.” In a catholic institution, certain core values, trademarks and spirituality are caught through the witness of Consecrated Persons and the Laity in School. If this happens, the Paulinian identity will emerge rousing and inspiring the whole institution. If each Paulinian Formator is renewed in Christ, who is the foundation of the whole educational enterprise, the Paulinian Spirituality will be seamlessly embedded into the fabric of the present educational culture, and embraced by the present, down to the next generations of Paulinians. Quoting from the Report of the SPCEM, 2009-2014: “The Paulinian identity should be well manifested in the life and work of all Paulinian Formators. This desired ATTRIBUTE, however, would involve a formation that cannot happen overnight. Paulinian values and traditions are learned and assimilated through time… The quest to become a Paulinian Formator can be elusive unless pursued with relentless determination and support.”
May this formation program help each “Paulinian Formator” to walk to an improved quality of teaching and learning, of innovative services, of good governance and Christian leadership rooted in Christ. As His disciples, may we humbly pursue excellence, faithfully preserve the Faith and passionately serve the Church and society, the Paulinian way – walking in Jesus Christ, the Truth, the greatest blessing that each Sister and Lay Formator can ever offer to Fr. Louis Chauvet, our beloved Founder. “Following him along the Gospel paths of light and life, may we always allow ourselves to be seized and spurred on by Christ’s Charity.” (Mo. Myriam de Ste. Anne Kitcharoen, SPC)