The faith training program that changes the lives of young Catholic adults


With a new director and the largest class ever, this residential program for young Catholics is about to make a big impact.

The pandemic has shut down many businesses and initiatives, but others have thrived through thick and thin. The Institut Sainte-Thérèse of Canada, a faith training center for young adults, is one that not only survived but prospered. With a new principal and the largest class size on record, the Institute is set for an incredible year of promoting the faith in the next generation.

As high school or college draws to a close, taking the next step in the world can be confusing. Young Catholic adults may particularly wonder if they are truly equipped to face the inevitable challenges of their faith. This is where the Institut Sainte-Thérèse can be a boon.

The Institut Sainte-Thérèse de Foi et Mission is a Catholic post-secondary school offering faith training for adults. inspired by the life and teachings of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Through an encounter with Jesus Christ and the Christian community, the laity are equipped to pursue holiness and become missionary disciples in the world.

“This is the heart of the mission of the Institut Sainte-Thérèse: lead young adults to a transforming experience of the love of God in Jesus Christ ”, said Jim Anderson, director of training at the Institut Sainte-Thérèse, in an interview with Aleteia.

During his 14 years as a director, Anderson has seen how the Institute’s programs change lives. He leads young men and women to “committed discipleship” by learning to “live the Little Path of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, the path of childish trust and abandonment to the love and mercy of God, in the world in situations and circumstances. of their daily life.

The Institut Sainte-Thérèse offers a variety of events and conferences for adolescents and adults to grow in the faith, but its flagship offer is the residential faith training program for young adults. The students of the program embrace a common life of prayer, study and fraternity, all imbued with the spirituality of Saint Teresa of Lisieux and the family spirit of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

“The formation program at Sainte-Thérèse is a nine-month experience of living in Christian community with other young Catholic adults, each committed to growing in his knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and his Church and friendship with each other, ”Anderson mentioned.

The courses of the program, and indeed the whole way of life, are aimed at equipping young Catholic Christians with the disposition of the heart, the knowledge and the practical skills of discernment and discipleship. Many vocations came out of the program – to married life, to religious life and to the priesthood. Many students return for a second year and Thursday to deepen their faith experience, their knowledge of the faith, and to help accompany their fellow students through witness and example.

Academic courses are an integral part of the training program. Students study the scriptures, the catechism of the Catholic Church, the history of the Church, Christian moral principles, an introduction to philosophy, theology of the body, spirituality and the Christian community, among others. subjects related to the Catholic faith and the maturity of disciples.

Students who complete the program earn a Certificate of Studies for the Lay Apostolate, and this can be applied for credit in other academic institutions.

“A growing number of colleges and universities in Canada and the United States are offering transfer credits for courses taken and experience gained at Sainte-Thérèse,” said Anderson. “And many students have chosen Sainte-Thérèse as the first step in their post-secondary studies.”

Anderson saw young adults from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences come to the program. Many enter immediately after high school. Before leaving for the world, they want to establish a solid foundation in the faith as a young disciple of Christ.

Other young adults take a break from college or work. They have “a desire to ground and focus and have a purpose in their lives in the light of Christ,” Anderson said. “Others, having completed their post-secondary studies and working, come to Sainte-Thérèse to seek a new direction in life.

Many of the young men and women who come to Sainte-Thérèse are looking for like-minded and hearted friends who are serious about living a deeper faith. Students want to learn more about their Catholic faith so that they can live it out for themselves and better explain their beliefs to their peers around the world.

“A healing encounter with the person of Jesus is another common motivation for students to choose St. Theresa,” said Anderson, “Healing from the personal emotional wounds that are so often suffered in our lives and family experiences today. . ”

Despite the restrictions linked to the pandemic, the Institut Sainte-Thérèse continues to thrive, which we could attribute to the hand of God: Certainly our world needs nothing more than well-formed young disciples of Christ. This summer, the Institute is preparing to welcome its biggest promotion to date.

“Last year, during COVID, we had such a good, problem-free year that we now have the highest number of students returning for the second year program ”, said John Romanowsky, newly appointed Director General of the Institut Sainte-Thérèse. “We plan to invite the public again to our Advent and Lent retreats, and to our Spring of Faith lecture series in the spring.

Romanowsky joined the Institut Sainte-Thérèse this summer. Previously he worked in the Archdiocese of Baltimore as Executive Director of Evangelism and prior to that he was Associate Director of Faith Training in the Diocese of Rockville Center. He received a doctorate in divinity from Catholic University and was a member of the Madonna House apostolate in Combermere, Ontario. His leadership will guide the Institut Sainte-Thérèse in a new and exciting phase of growth, so that even more young people can benefit from its training programs.

The deadline to apply for this year’s program is September 1, 2021. The application is available here and more information can be found on the Facebook page of the Institut Sainte-Thérèse.

As inspiring as it is to hear about the Institut Sainte-Thérèse from those who run it, the real testimony comes from young adults who have completed the program. These testimonies from alumni reveal the transformative influence of the program. Here is what 10 elders had to say about the Institut Sainte-Thérèse’s faith training program, in their own words.


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