Members are those who dedicate themselves for life to the service of mission by pledging themselves by oath to the Society (C23). Therefore, it is necessary for the Society to have in place a sound and reliable process whereby suitable candidates are admitted with the right aims and purpose in mind and formed and trained to carry out the mandate of the Society in the countries where they have been sent to work as missionaries in the local community and local church. The length and duration of this membership process depends on the students’ maturity and educational background which will be thoroughly assessed and challenged throughout the formation period.
The process for membership begins once initial contact is established directly either with an email or telephone call to any of the Vocation Directors residing in the aspirant’s own country of origin or with a Mill Hill Missionary, local priest, teacher or some other person who then puts the prospective candidate in touch with the Vocation Director. The Vocation Director will then arrange for an initial meeting to which the prospective candidate (aspirant) can find out more about the Society and the kind of mission work that members are involved in around the world. If the aspirant demonstrates a continuing interest in the society, the Vocation Director will endeavour to maintain contact. He will also visit the aspirants at their homes.
Aspirants are often invited to take part in an Orientation Period. The orientation period is the time of initial contact between the person who aspires to enter the Formation Programme and the vocation director. This is structured differently in the various Formation Centres and varies according to local circumstances. Aspirants are invited to “Come and See” weekends to familiarise themselves with the life and work of the Mill Hill Missionaries. This live-in period in the Formation Houses exposes aspirants to experiences of life in the Mil Hill community, to pastoral and other typical experiences. The Vocation Director will maintain close contact with the aspirants while they continue their studies at secondary or tertiary level or continue their professional training. The Formation Centre located at Pargi, Andhra Pradesh in India is the only centre that runs a year live-in orientation programme.