This is a period of 6-12 months of time spent communicating with the Vocation Director. This allows time to know and understand the signs of a vocation. Longer visits are encouraged during this time, up to one week. It is during this time that the young woman asks to enter our congregation and begins the process of entrance: completing paperwork, praying about a religious name and finalizing the entrance date.
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.
To choose to totally offer ourselves to God in unconditional love is to freely choose the way to holiness by a narrower path. We vow ourselves to God forever and promise to live chastity, poverty and obedience. We also take a fourth vow to devote our lives to the works of charity.