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What is the process?

Religious Life > What is the process


Becoming a sister

What happens? How long does it take? Most religious communities have several stages by which one becomes a member:

Inquirer: A woman contacts a community vocation director, asks lots of questions, eventually finds that God is calling her to this specific community. She then moves through the application process, involving interviews, an autobiographical essay, physical and psychological screening, letters of recommendation, transcripts of study, and other steps.

Candidate or Postulant: The woman begins her formal journey by spending one or two years “as though” she were a member of the community. She continues her ministry or study, lives with the community, and experiences community life “from the inside.” She meets regularly with a director and frequently takes advantage of special workshops or opportunities to grow in the spirituality of the community.

Novice: The most sacred part of the journey. Here the woman, now known formally as a Sister, spends two years in intense prayer, reflection, study of the spirit and history of the community, and coming to know herself as God’s Beloved. Central to the novitiate is the study of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as the novice prepares for her first profession. Often novices are given the opportunity to experience some of the ministry of the community. The novitiate experience is the heart of formation as a Sister.

Profession of Vows: After her novitiate and an extended retreat, a novice professes her first vows and becomes a member of the community. These vows are ordinarily for three to five years, allowing the new Sister to continue her formation, study, and reflection. At the end of the period of temporary vows, the Sister makes final profession in the congregation.

Throughout her time of formation, the Sister is supported by members of the community and by regular retreats, recollection days, spiritual direction and spiritual reading, and a host of other opportunities to deepen her interior life.



Becoming a Religious brother or priest

What happens? How long does it take? Most religious communities have several stages by which one becomes a member:

Inquirer: A man contacts a community vocation director, asks lots of questions, eventually finds that God is calling him to this particular community. He then moves through the application process, involving interviews, an autobiographical essay, physical and psychological screening, letters of recommendation, transcripts of stud, and other steps.

Pre-Novitiate or Postulancy: The man begins his formal journey by spending a specified period of time “as though” he were a member. He experiences community life “from the inside,” meets regularly with a director, and takes advantage of special opportunities to grow in the spirituality of the community.

Novice: The heart of the journey. Here the man spends one or two years in intense prayer, reflection, study of the spirit and history of the community, and becoming grounded in his vocation. Central to the novitiate is the study of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, as the novice prepares for first profession. Frequently novices are given the opportunity to experience some of the ministry of the community.

Profession of vows: After his novitiate and an extended retreat, a novice professes first vows and becomes a member of the community. These vows are ordinarily for three to five years, allowing the new member to continue his formation, study, and reflection. At the end of this period the man makes final profession in the congregation.

Formation for Ordination: If the man and the community discern that his call is to the ordained priesthood, the man also pursues the lengthy course of study prescribed by the Church.

 
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