Tuesday, April 23, 2013


When ten of us arrived at the Institute of Religious Formation in Chicago last August, we spent several days transitioning into our new life that we would be living for the next nine months. We were given lots of time to discover the neighborhood, learn about each other, and to find everything we needed on campus. We were even taught about the Chicago transportation system by  taking a bus downtown. The director of the program reminded us several times that the reason for the extensive time we were given that first week was so that we would experience and reflect on what new candidates to our religious communities experience when they first arrive.  One of those days early on we took the Myers-Briggs personality test and a few days later someone gave us our personal results and the class results, i.e. the class profile.  I distinctly remember not thinking much about our class profile at the time because they were just names on a chart.

For the last week or so we have begun the process of transitioning out of the IRF. The classes are winding down; we have had our last class with Kevin, the psychologist who met with us every Tuesday morning since September. We are completing our projects, both team and individual, and planning for our closing liturgy on May 14. One day last week Paul, the director of the IRF, put up on the board the chart of our Myers-Briggs class profile from the beginning of the year.  Because I now know my classmates so much better I could actually go over some of the experiences we have had together and understand behavior, theirs and also mine.

I have learned a great deal these past eight months from the classes, from books and articles, from my classmates and teachers, but above all in this type of program one has the opportunity to grow in self-knowledge. I will be ever grateful to Sister Michaela and my sisters for giving me this extraordinary experience.

But we are not quite finished yet!  We leave on May 19 for a two-week retreat in the Holy Land.  My next blog will be from there.

Helene Mercier, OSB

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