Formation

"When we enter…we come with the intention of giving ourselves whole and entire to God through the Community. We ask that they will take us into their hands and shape us, similar to the work of the artist, into a most beautiful picture, a picture that will in time resemble the image of Christ."

-The Spirituality of Our Pioneer Sisters

Formation is a life-long journey! Each day, each moment of our life, we are learning and growing. Every activity we undertake or goal we strive to achieve requires a training or a learning period. This is true also for someone entering religious life.

A candidate entering the Postulancy will begin a formation program that will be very intense for the next two to three years. But religious formation does not end with the profession of vows, not even with the profession of perpetual vows. Formation is a life-long journey!

The Postulancy and Novitiate, the time of initial formation, begins the transformation of a young woman desiring to consecrate her life to God into a member of a religious community, living and giving her every moment, word, action and thought for God’s glory and honor.

The novitiate, through which life in an institute is begun, is arranged so that the novices better understand their divine vocation, and indeed one which is proper to the institute, experience the manner of living of the institute, and form their mind and heart in its spirit, and so that their intention and suitability are tested.

-Can. 646

Areas in which formation takes place

  • Community and Religious Life - And there are many teachers and models who participate in the forming of a new religious. From the example of each member of the community, a new candidate observes and adopts the practices, attitudes and manners of an experienced religious. She learns what is expected in religious and community life.
  • Prayer - The practice of prayer, in the daily Sacrifice of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the recitation of the rosary and the reading of Sacred Scripture will enhance the habit and quality of her prayer life and her ability to be in constant prayer during all activities of her daily life.
  • Apostolic Mission and Works - As a Postulant and Novice, she is given the opportunity to work as a volunteer in our healthcare apostolate. She begins to learn about the structure of our healthcare ministry and to see our mission, vision and values lived by all those work with us to care for God’s people at the most vulnerable times of their lives.
  • Religious Studies – Classes include: the Liturgy, Sacred Scripture, Prayer, Religious Life, the Church, the Spiritual Life, our Constitutions, Franciscan Spirituality, the Organizational Structure of our Congregation, Works in the Apostolate; and other related subjects.

Entrance Requirements

A Catholic woman may be admitted to our community provided she meets canonical requirements (CAN. 641-645) and is motivated by a sincere desire to live religious life manifested by a free, unconditional, personal response to God's call.

She must be capable of fulfilling the duties of this state with a spirit of joy.

Physical and mental health, including the degree of emotional maturity necessary to live our community life with happiness and satisfaction, are required.

At this time we are only accepting women who are United States citizens, permanent residents of the United States, or citizens of Canada.

Ordinarily we accept women aged 18-40. Some exceptions for very strong candidates can be made but not generally past age 50. The individual must have completed high school.

How Sisters are Formed

So much of formation is accomplished through the example of others, experience and personal imitation and practice. Equally important is the classroom instruction. All areas of our faith, life and ministry are taught by our clergy, sisters and members of our healthcare ministry, utilizing Sacred Scripture, Church documents, and writings of theologians. This formal instruction complements and strengthens what is learned by observation, practice and experience.

So after all this instruction and learning, will you be tested? How will you know if you have successfully completed the initial formation period? Well, all of this training is to test and strengthen your love of God and His people and your desire to give your life completely in His service. That is your test---your willingness and ability to embrace the life of a religious by profession of vows of consecrated chastity, poverty and obedience and to continue being formed and growing into the likeness of Christ for the rest of your life.

Novices are to be led to cultivate human and Christian virtues; through prayer and self-denial they are to be introduced to a fuller way of perfection; they are to be taught to contemplate the mystery of salvation and to read and meditate on the sacred scriptures; they are to be prepared to cultivate the worship of God in the sacred liturgy; they are to learn a manner of leading a life consecrated to God and humanity in Christ through the evangelical counsels; they are to be instructed regarding the character and spirit, the purpose and discipline, the history and life of the institute; and they are to be imbued with love for the Church and its sacred pastors.

-Can. 652 §2

Temporary Profession

Temporary Profession is part of the Initial Formation in Religious Life. The Sister under temporary vows may work in the apostolate, take professional or academic education. She has formation classes on certain weekends. She continues to learn from the Sisters she lives and works with. Normally our Sisters make temporary vows for 2 years and then renew them for 3 years before professing perpetual vows.