Novitiate Self-Evaluation

Part of any formation is the ability to look at oneself and discuss your journey to those given the task of "guiding" your formation process. Taking the time to look at personal growth, areas for improvement, excitement or challenges that you forsee in the future, and even how your personal health is - all of these things are important for you as well as your formators to know as you work your way through discerning a religious vocation.

This week we begin the task of writing our 1st Self Evaluation. I've written evaluations before during Postulancy, so I am familiar with the process. But being familiar is a lot different from being easy.

I started writing my evaluation Sunday afternoon, as I was juggling the soccer ball up in the grotto. Soccer (when I'm by myself) has become a way for me to collect my thoughts, be alone as I ponder questions and sometimes blog topics. Developing this "skill," I took the opportunity to read the recommended questions by the formation staff and reflect on how I would answer.

They don't make the questions flippant or ambiguous...and for good reason. Here are a few of the questions I am encouraged to talk about in my Self Evaluation, even though there is no set form on how I am to write it:
  • Do you feel at home here in Novitiate now? What incident(s) occurred during your first few months here to make you feel that way?
  • How are you adapting to community life? Do you find the you spend plenty of time with community in prayer, work, and recreation? 
  • How is your prayer life? Do you feel that you have the tools and the time to make use of your time for prayer? What experiences make you feel this way?
  • How is your ministry affecting your time here? Are you fed by ministry or do you find it draining? 
  • Do you feel you are ready to live the vows of celibacy, obedience, and poverty? Which vow will be the easiest in your eyes, and which will be the hardest? What challenges do you forsee for yourself in these areas?
  • Do you feel you are being drawn towards a Capuchin lifestyle of community?
Like I mentioned before, I technically  have it all written my head. I need to find the time to sit down in front of a computer and actually write out my thoughts, reflections, and evaluation of myself. Sometimes we can look at ourselves and think we've got it all figured out...even something as crazy as this. The true test of self-reflection is when you finish the product, hit the print button (or look back at what you wrote, for all the old-school journalers out there) and feel that you're being honest to yourself.

Because quite simply, if I can't be honest to myself, how should I expect to be honest to my formators, my vocation, and ultimately to my God?

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2 Response to Novitiate Self-Evaluation

October 14, 2009 at 9:19 AM

I'd have to bite my tongue to not answer with smart ass comments. But I wonder if I really wanted to be become a Capuchin, I'd answer not what I really thought and felt, but what I thought they'd be looking for. But they must know that.

October 14, 2009 at 12:28 PM

I'm sure there are people who just want to give the formators answers they want to hear.

I parallel it to being in a relationship. If there is enough honesty and depth to take a look at my partner and say: "Yes I'm happy, but I'd like to work on these few things," the relationship can only be stronger. My experience is that not having that discussion hurts me as well as the other person.

So my self-evaluation will be filled with funny analogies, smart-ass comments, and challenging statements about myself. Quite simply - to do otherwise would be a false representation of who I am and who I hope to be as a friar.

Thanks for the thoughts!