After five years, Fr. Michael Boughton, SJ, concluded his service stewarding Jesuits through various stages of their religious formation, as provincial assistant for formation for the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces.
The formation process typically takes between 10 and 11 years, comprising a two-year novitiate (being introduced to the prayer forms, Constitutions and history of the Society) graduate studies in both philosophy and theology; and a period of full-time ministry. Jesuit brothers typically have a similar formation program, suited to their background and future ministry.
“Jesuit formation is rooted in both the mission and the tradition of the Society, as well as in the requirements of the Church, but is also responsive to the needs and desires of the individual man, as he discerns those in ongoing conversation with his superiors,” said Fr. Boughton.
As liaison between the provincial and the more than 60 men in formation at any given time, Fr. Boughton visited with each Jesuit one to two times per year—on the East Coast, across the U.S. and internationally—to listen to, support, encourage and challenge them as they moved through these important and foundational experiences in their Jesuit lives.
In August, Fr. Boughton was succeeded by Fr. John Wronski, SJ, who recently completed ten years as president of Nativity Preparatory School in Boston.
“Walking with the men in formation for the last five years has been a great privilege and a real blessing,” Fr. Boughton said. “I pray every day for all the men in formation, and especially for those who are approaching an important step in the process, or who are struggling in any way. I often find myself praying, with great gratitude, about their goodness and their deep desire to be Jesuits who really love Jesus and who joyfully serve His people.”