"Charism" means gift.
The charism will start to "bubble up" within the founder, who is advised to journal the inspirations, and to
find a spiritual director.
Does one go to the bishop immediately with this inspiration? No.
While we Catholics are hard-wired to reject anything that doesn't have a bishop's approval, an emerging charism
is different. Charisms start as private associations of the faithful, which a bishop cannot constitute--he can only
recognize. And before he recognizes it, he has to know what he's recognizing. The only way to do that
is to have a lived rule. He will also ask if one has a spiritual director.
The aforementioned scenario--re: the bishop--is about step four in the process. We recommend that founders put in the
first paragraph of their governing document a statement of fidelity to the Magisterium and the local bishop. That usually
takes care of the burning desire to contact the Chancery.
After the founder with their journal make contact with the spiritual director, they will discuss the charism, and
permit it to grow. Only after they have developed a plan for a Lay Association of the Faithful (from which active
orders arise); rule, constitutions, horarium, novitiate/formation program; and remunerative work, will the founder be advised
to contact a canonist. At least three or four members living the "working constitutions" will be required.
We recommend a local canonist, and also recommend asking if pro bono work can be done. Most usually do if the client
is located within the diocese. Otherwise, you might be asked to sign a retainer and be charged an hourly fee.
Many canonists are not well-versed in religious order law. This is the reason we recommend purchasing Fr. Gambari's
book dealing with the foundation of religious communities, and giving it to the canonist.
The canonist is to the bishop what an attorney is to a judge. The canonist will inform the bishop of the emerging
"project" (the Church's word for emerging charisms), and the founder is seen as the "promoter." Because of this, the
founder has a right to publish a website, and advertise on vocational forums.