AS A PENITENT
It sounds a bit frightening to say that you want
to get started living a life of penance (being
converted), doesn't it? But that simply means
that you want to make a formal beginning on a
life of conversion to doing things God's way.
You probably do want to do that.
Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this pages!
Here are some questions beginners ask, and some
Do I have to pay any money
The Confraternity does not require any monetary
contribution from its members. A donation is
suggested for materials requested, if possible.
Any donation to the Confraternity is always
greatly appreciated as the Confraternity depends
on free will donations to meet its monthly
How do I know if I might be
called to this life?
Do you desire to live this way? If God has
granted you this desire, then He will grant you
the means to live this life, even though it may
initially seem difficult.
Does the idea of living this Rule bring peace
and joy? To become a penitent, one must possess
a joyful self-discipline and peace of heart.
Are you willing to be at peace with all, as much
as others will allow? A penitent must remember
that the primary rule is love of God and of
Are you willing to try to make some changes, if
needed, in your current lifestyle so that you
can live this Rule? If so, you will experience
increased freedom and deeper awareness of God's
presence throughout the day.
How much of the Rule should I
be living now?
We live the Rule of 1221 according to our
You may be living somewhat like this already. If
so, continue. If not, you should probably not
attempt to try to live too much of our way of
right now. Generally those who most successfully
embrace this way of life are those who follow our
formation plan. Often those who try to do too
much too soon, without taking the time to make
the lifestyle changes needed, grow discouraged
with themselves. We don't want this to happen
with you. Talk over with your formator
what you would like to do and he or she will
help you devise a plan.
Is there anything I could try
to see if this way of life might be for me?
Begin by praying for God's guidance. Does the
Lord seem to want you to possibly live according
to our Rule and Constitutions?
Contact the Confraternity with any questions or
Speak to your spiritual director, if you have
one, about your desire.
Make a few small changes in your life and see
how they feel. Here are some suggestions, which
reflect various aspects of our way of life. How
about trying one or two?:
Pray the Apostles' Creed, Psalm 51, Psalm 54,
and Psalm 119 to verse 32 mornings.
Pray the Apostles' Creed and Psalm 51 nights.
Make a nightly examination of conscience and
pray an Act of Contrition for any sins committed
during the day.
Spend fifteen minutes each day in mental prayer.
Pray a daily rosary.
Wear a visible cross or crucifix as a necklace,
brooch, or lapel pin.
On Fridays, abstain from meat and eat nothing
Consider giving something away to a needy person
or charitable organization. This need not be
something of monetary or sentimental value.
How do I enter the Inquirer
Complete the Inquirer Application and return it
to the Confraternity.
Completion of the Inquirer Application will not
commit you to formation. Nor will you ever be
pressured to enter formation. The Inquirer
Application is a form of
inquiry which will enable you to receive the
Mailings made only to Confraternity members.
Contact with your Regional Minister who will assist you personally in
your discernment process.
Personal contact with others in your Region.
Depending on where you live, contact with a
local gathering of Confraternity members.
Access to special forums, monthly chat teaching, and web pages which are
available only to inquirers, members, and
These contacts will
help you more clearly discern a call to this way
Do I have to complete the
Inquirer application to have my questions
No. Many who find the Confraternity on the
Internet are understandably cautious about
sharing personal information with people whom
they do not know. We'd be cautious, too!
If you wish to get to know the
Confraternity and its members better, please
email, postal mail, or phone us to request
additional information. We will be happy to
answer your questions and be in touch with you
as long as you feel it is necessary to get to
know us better. When you feel
comfortable, then complete the Inquirer
Application. Again, there is no pressure
to complete the application before you are
What if I later find that this
way of life is not for me?
You simply let the Confraternity know. Some who
do not continue formation ask to become
Affiliates of the Confraternity so as to remain on the
public mailing list, support the Confraternity, and be able to attend
Confraternity functions. Upon vote of a Chapter's or
Circle's Council, and with the
approval of the Spiritual Assistant, Affiliates
may also be allowed to attend Chapter or Circle meetings.
Note: Those whose health or age prevents them
from living the fasting and abstinence
provisions of the Rule are not in the Affiliates
category because health, not choice, is keeping
them from embracing this part of the Rule.
If they wish to enter formation, they proceed through formation as usual.
Affiliates are those who could proceed through
formation and live the Rule but choose not
What if I do want to go on in formation?
would then complete a Postulant Application,
available from the Confraternity, and submit it
to your Regional Minister or
Chapter or Circle minister (president).
Your application will be carefully reviewed.
Most of those who apply for formation are
accepted. Those who are not accepted into
formation are told why the Confraternity feels
it is better for them to either seek another
vocation or to wait a bit longer before entering
formation. When your application is
accepted, you will begin formation as a
postulant either after Ash Wednesday or
August 1 of any given year. Your Regional
Minister or Chapter or Circle
minister (president) will assign you a formator
(formation director) who is knowledgeable about our Rule
and Constitutions and who can assist you on your journey.
Please contact us for more information.
May God bless you on your spiritual journey!
Confraternity of Penitents
520 Oliphant Lane
Middletown RI USA