Many things in life are a process, they don't just happen and then it is over. For example, you go to school for many years, but even when you finish school you continue learning, because learning is a process that takes a lifetime. So it is when discerning a vocation to religious life. There are many steps along the way. Each of these steps are meant to help you really go deeper into relationship with God and with the congregation with which you are discerning. This process is not an overnight transformation, but a period of discernment and formation.
The first step starts with a call from God in the deepest part of your heart. It is
sometimes unclear and maybe even a bit frightening, and sometimes you just plain want to ignore it, but God just won't let you. At this point you might talk to a friend, or a priest, deacon or sister you know. Or maybe you will start reading books about religious life or look something up on the Internet. But if the call continues and seems to get stronger you know it is time to take the leap and make contact with a religious congregation. Once you contact the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi you will continue the process in the following stages:
Marie and Sister Kathy
This stage is open to single Catholic women who are 20 to 50 years of age. During this stage you will make contact with a member of the Vocation Ministry Team to further explore God's call in your life. This stage can last from 6 months to two years. You will become familiar with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi through correspondence, visits and dialogue. You will have opportunities to meet Sisters, attend celebrations, experience prayer in community.
If you continue to feel drawn to religious life and to the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi you may request to complete the application process.
After successful completion of the application and admission process you will enter into the Initiate stage. This stage provides an opportunity to live in community with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, sharing in community life, prayer and ministry while still maintaining financial independence. This is a period of deepening relationships and learning about religious life and the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. This period lasts one to two years.
The Novitiate is a two year period which begins with your formal acceptence into the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. It is a time of continuing to deepen your committment by learning the history of the congregation, becoming increasingly familar with the Franciscan Charism and values. It is a time of prayer, community building, ministry experience, learning about and preparing for vows. Nine months of the Novitiate is spent at the Common Franciscan Novitiate in Joliet, Illinois.
The period of Temporary commitment lasts from three to six years. This stage begins with your first public committment to the Sisters of Saint Francis of Assisi by professing the vows of poverty, obedience and consecrated celibacy. During this stage you live in community, continue learning about being a Franciscan, integrating yourself more fully into the life of the congregation. You will study in preparation for a ministry or will be engaged in a full time ministry.
After the preparations described above you profess to live the vows of poverty,
obedience and consecrated celibacy forever thus becoming a permanent member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi.
For additional information on becoming a vowed member contact:
Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi
3221 S. Lake Dr.
St. Francis, WI 53235