Formation Communities

Formation Communities

Our application is now open for the 2023-2024 academic year for Community Companions.

Community Companions will join one of the existing Residential Communities for meals, prayer, and shared celebration on a regular basis (around 3 times a month). While they will not live in the house, they will covenant to participate in the shared life of the community. 


Picture this: After a busy day on campus, you open the door to a violin’s cheerful hum and the smell of freshly baked bread. Two of your housemates are sitting on the couch laughing and recounting the day, while others work on dinner prep (homemade pizza!) in the kitchen. A candle and a stack of hymnals sit in the living room corner, ready for tonight’s worship service. Scenes like this one are a regular occurrence in Candler’s formation communities.

Focused on intentional living and spiritual formation, formation communities at Candler provide students a distinctive opportunity to live and grow in faith alongside their peers. Each formation community creates a "rule of life" and discerns a shared charism (focus) at the beginning of the academic year to guide their days together. Communities are organized around common prayer, table, and celebration. Each of these elements is coordinated by a student rector who provides day-to-day leadership and a faculty chaplain who offers worship leadership and spiritual direction.


There are three pathways for students who wish to participate in Candler’s Formation Communities: chartered, non-residential, and student organized.

Over the last three years, Candler has initiated several communities, each gathered around a common charism, or focus. Interested students may apply to be a part of a Candler-chartered formation community (and may apply for more than one). Applicants are selected based on their fit with the community and the community's stated charism.

In chartered communities, Candler helps to match students with a student cohort, and match that student cohort with a property owner, property manager, or landlord. All members of chartered communities sign an annual lease that runs from August 1 to July 31 the following year. The program is currently supporting six communities for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Learn more about each house:

Bethany House

L'Arche Friendship House

St. Clare’s House

St. Joseph’s House

St. Vedast’s House

Tubman-Thurman-Tutu House

In addition to chartered communities, Candler's formation communities program also supports nonresidential communities that covenant to a rule of life and shared charism. While these communities do not have the gift and challenge of co-living, they do have the opportunity to build a robust shared life. And like residential formation communities, each nonresidential formation community has a house rector and house chaplain and discerns a unique rule of life and charism.

Students who have already formed a community of house- or room-mates are invited to apply to participate in the Formation Communities Curriculum as a cohort (each house member will need to apply individually but the applications will be considered as a group). In this case, students will organize their own housing. This option will make the most sense for students who are already living together, or who are committed to living together and looking for a house or apartment this spring or summer.

While Candler does not have the institutional capacity to work out the details of this housing, we can support creating intentional community. Student organized formation communities will participate in the beginning of the year and mid-year retreats, be assigned a house chaplain, host a meeting for the clarification of thought each semester, and participate in the wider curriculum of formation. Preference will be given to applicant cohorts who display the racial, gender, denominational, and theological diversity of the Candler student body.

Formation Communities Curriculum

The program in formation communities has three primary aims:

  • To provide a platform for vocational discernment
  • To form student capacities for community building and spiritual practice
  • To cultivate communities of belonging that allow residents to integrate their theological studies, their vocational aspirations, their spiritual practices, and their diverse identities

Yearly activities include:

  • Beginning of the year "Rule of Life" retreat
  • Community building events
  • Monthly house meetings
  • Mid-year retreat
  • Celebration

Each formation community discerns its own rule of life at the first retreat and covenants it for the year. While each rule of life is contextually suited to those in the community, they include commitments regarding shared prayer, shared table, and shared celebration. Each formation community’s rule of life is a living document that is affirmed (or changed) at the mid-year retreat.

How to Apply

  • Applications for new members of chartered formation communities and for renewal for current members of formation community members are due by March 15, 2023. We will notify students of the review committee’s decision by Monday, April 3, 2023.
  • Applications for student organized formation communities are due by April 15, 2023. We will notify students and student cohorts of the review committee’s decision by Monday, May 1, 2023.
  • Applications for non-residential formation communities are due by June 15, 2023. We will notify students of the review committee’s decision by June 30, 2023.

Apply now for the 2023-2024 academic year


If you are interested in learning more, please contact us: 

 Headshot of Kyle Lambelet

Director of Formation Communities, Kyle Lambelet is passionate about the spiritual formation that happens in and through intentional community. He has lived in a variety of formative living arrangements like the Open Door Community, a Protestant Catholic Worker community in Atlanta, and an anarchist collective in Greensboro. Ask him about these experiences: he has stories! His graduate training at the University of Notre Dame was in theology and peace studies, and he brings a conflict transformation orientation to his work at Candler. Lambelet serves the formation communities by offering opportunities for more intentional and skillful engagement in the challenges and conflicts of everyday life together.


Program Coordinator of Formation Communities, Bernadette Naro, (T16) is no stranger to intentional communities. She was raised in the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House in Garner, NC, where she and her family provided hospitality to women and children in crisis, and attempted to live into Matthew 25, and practice the corporate works of mercy.  Following her undergraduate career, she participated in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, which brought her to Atlanta, and eventually led her to study at Candler. She has worked as a teacher and a Campus Minister in Catholic Schools around Atlanta and is the proud mother of two little girls. Storytelling and community building are two of her passions, so come by her office anytime for some conversation!

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