OCDS Questions and Answers

To ask a question please send an email to any of the OCDS Provincial Council members of the California-Arizona Province of St. Joseph. They are listed on our website in the contacts http://www.ocds.info/.

January 07, 2010

aspirancy question

I have a question regarding aspirancy.  Our community has ceremonies once a year which will take place in a couple of months from now.  In our aspirancy program we have a person who was attending aspirancy formation at another community for about 4-5 months.  This person moved to our area and has now started coming to our meetings for the past few months.  They have been faithful in attendance and completed all homework assignments.  Should this person wait for a year from now to be clothed since they have not completed one year of aspirancy?


  1. It is always wise to be cautious regarding allowing an aspirant from another community to complete that aspirancy in the new community too soon. The new community needs to know the aspirant as well as is possible. If the former community was truly happy with her and were sad to see her go that could be taken into consideration, but acceptance into formation should not be based only on attendance and completion of homework. This kind of acceptance has resulted in problems in the past. A new novice can often be quite different from the aspirant of old because there is the feeling of “I am in now and I can relax and I can do and say pretty much what I want.”

    In our Provincial Statutes, Sec. XXIII #3 it reads, “When relocated, a member should contact the nearest Community/Recognized Group and ask to attend for at least a year to allow the receiving Community and the member to decide if they wish to finalize an official transfer.”

    The current community has every right to continue their aspirancy program with this new person for the full year. Experience has shown that anyone who accepts what the community wishes is a strong candidate because he/she realizes that the Secular Order is not a matter of going through each step on a time table. If there is a lack of a feeling of entitlement on the part of the aspirant, this is a very good sign.

    As a side note, it is very important for Presidents to be completely open and honest in communicating with a receiving community about former aspirants or members who are transferring. People want to be nice and would rather not say anything negative about a person who was in their community. They may just breathe a sigh of relief when that person moves on. But if they are not forthright, it is a lack of charity to the new community.

  2. Should this person wait? Yes!

    In our Province the full one year waiting period is for the community, and the aspirant, to ascertain that a mutually satisfactory relationship exists before the aspirant is admitted to further formation in the Order. Note, however, in the statutes for our Province, para. 3 of section IX, that the full year period may not be extended beyond one more full year.

    This would be because if a determination has not been established, usually within the one full year, that the aspirant has a potentially valid vocation to the Secular Order in that community, it is unlikely that a truly valid vocation exists, or will ever exist. In our Province a full year is granted to make this determination, as opposed to the minimum six months requirement of the constitutions. The added one year clause allows for the situation of a community which holds only one aspirant class per year.

    The four or five months -- I would think this would be known to the nearest month -- spent with another community is irrelevant to the current community/aspirant relationship; and it is the relationship in the current community which is being judged, hopefully by all members of its council, who are responsible for the admission and formation of all of the members [cf. OCDS Const. #47a and #46].

  3. Sec. XXIII of the Statutes addresses Transfers.
    No.1 states indirectly that the member belongs to the Community/group in which they make the promise.
    No. 2 states that a Clothed Candidate is not officially a member of the Order.
    No.6 states that a person who has made a Temporary Promise must wait a year for a transfer to become official, and then it depends on both the individual and the Council.

    The transfer of an Aspirant is not addressed directly. But by inference an Aspirant is not a member of any Community. Thus it would seem that if a Promised individual must wait a year for acceptance, so must the transferring Aspirant. It would seem to follow that an Aspirant who must change Communities must be a new Aspirant in the new Community.

    Therefore, the Statutes infer that a transferring Aspirant should begin anew. This Aspirant should be asked to continue at this level for a full year with the new Community.

    I also believe that the Community’s Council should make the final decision.

    My recommendation is that the Aspirant serve a full Aspirancy with the new Community.

    Their Clothing and Acceptance into Formation will be more meaningful and better cherished... an added Gift and Grace, as well as a test of vocation.