From all eternity God has chosen in a special way those He wants to be His own. There is no set time as to when He will extend this invitation. Some are called at a very young age. The Lord speaks to the hearts of others in their high school or college years. Still others are invited at an even later time.
For one called by Christ, accepting this invitation to become a Bride of Christ demands a total self-surrender to God and to all that He wills for her daily. This total gift of self embraces Christ’s twofold mission of love: love of God and love of neighbor. Just as the love of a spouse would prompt him/her to follow the beloved to the four corners of the world, so too will a religious leave her family in pursuit of a greater love as a Bride of Christ. She does so to seek a greater degree of holiness in this total giving of self to her Divine Bridegroom.
A religious vocation is a gift, a call, a choice made by God. It is an invitation to live exclusively for Him in undivided love. ~Holy Rule
Stages of Formation
Prospective candidates for our Community are invited to visit the Motherhouse before admittance to the Congregation and submit the information required to enter religious life. Once accepted, they are given their religious names and receive the postulant habit.
The postulants spend time studying the aim, the purpose, and the spirit or our Congregation. They also pursue a deepening of their prayer life and a greater understanding of and participation in community life. Each postulant makes a retreat of eight full days before entering the Novitiate.
The period of novitiate consists of a two – year program of gradual initiation into the detachment associated with the total gift of self offered in religious life. During the first year as a canonical novice, a Sister is not allowed to pursue secular academic programs nor to take part in the works of charity. Her main concern focuses on a deepening of her prayer life, growth in the knowledge of Christ and the Church, and an understanding of the Rule and Directives of the Congregation. As a canonical novice she wears the same habit as the professed sisters except for the black scapular and black veil. A white veil is worn during the canonical year.
At the beginning of the second year of the Novitiate, the Novice receives her black scapular and black veil. During this stage of formation a Sister continues to strive towards: deepening her life of prayer. strengthening her commitment to and love for the Church and for the Congregation, and intensifying her desire to reach out to others through the Apostolic Works of Charity embraced by the Congregation.
Once this year has been completed the Novice pronounces her temporary vows of chastity, poverty and obedience for the first time.
Once temporary vows are pronounced, they are renewed each year for a period of three to five years. During this time the formation of the sister continues and she seeks to correspond with a greater awareness and fidelity to all of the demands of religious life. At the same time she acquires the proficiency necessary for an authentic and effective witness in the Congregation’s apostolic works. After three years of temporary vows the junior professed sister may seek permission to pronounce her final vows, espousing herself to Christ forever.
Two months before perpetual profession, a Sister sets aside her usual occupations and returns to the novitiate for a spiritual preparation period before the taking of the perpetual vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and a fourth vow of charity by which she promises to devote herself to the works of charity wherever she is sent.
Perpetual Profession is preceded by a spiritual retreat of eight days. Throughout her life, a Sister is to faithfully continue her own spiritual, doctrinal, and practical formation utilizing the time and resources made available to her.