Why 4 Years?
You may be wondering why World on Fire is a four-year program when so many other programs now only require perhaps two years of training. We want to share our thoughts with you for your consideration.
First, and most importantly, World on Fire considers itself a formation program, not a “training” program. Our experience demonstrates that formation requires slowing down. We believe that learning the art of deep, contemplative listening takes time; it cannot be rushed. In addition, we believe that it is important for our students to have time to prayerfully discern whether the call they sense to the ministry is truly theirs. We attempt to assist this discernment process through faculty mentoring and guidance throughout the four years. So, our first point is that formation and discernment both take time, and we invite our students to “trust in the slow work of God,” as that great Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin so eloquently put it.
Second, on a more practical level, World on Fire has deliberately structured itself as a low-residency program in order to accommodate people who may feel a call to the ministry of spiritual direction but also have major life commitments to family, work, and faith community. Unlike many shorter programs, World on Fire only requires a week-long residency once each year; there are no additional weekend,quarterly or monthly gatherings or intensives. All the rest of the required work can be done from home throughout the year. We believe the slower pace and low-residency requirement cater better to contemporary people who have busy lives.
Finally, we believe the student’s ability to discern is heightened by being immersed in an atmosphere that lends itself to learning, guidance and practice. Our yearly, one week in-person residency in the sacred atmosphere of St. Francis Springs Prayer Center provides further nurturing of body, mind and soul and opportunity for deep and cohesive bonding with other students and faculty.