Here’s an idea of what’s in store for you should you set out on the journey of discerning your vocation.
Roman Catholic women, ages 18 and older, who are free of any previous bonds of commitment and who sense that they may be called by God to a gospel lifestyle as consecrated religious, pass through the following stages of discernment to test and clarify their call:
Pre-candidacy: An informal, non-designated period of time to get acquainted with the community through such means as email, letter writing, conversations, participation in small and large community gatherings, ministering together, becoming an associate, for example. The vocation minister or any sister may serve as the connector with the community.
If a spiritual kinship is sensed, the woman applies for candidacy.
Candidacy: A period of six to 12 months during which the candidate lives in community with other sisters and prepares for the novitiate. She is employed in ministry and remains financially independent. She is assisted in deepening her prayer life, learning more about Franciscan spirituality and the spirit of the Tiffin Franciscans. If the likelihood of an authentic call to this community has become clearer, the candidate requests permission to enter the novitiate.
Novitiate: A period of two years during which the novice grows in self-knowledge; deepens her relationship with God; and is steeped in the theology of religious life, the three vows, the Franciscan way of life, community living, mission. One year, usually the first, is like an extended retreat. For nine months of this year, novices participate in a national Franciscan Common Novitiate. During the second year, novices engage in ministry or study and prepare for making vows. Toward the end of the second year, a novice requests permission to make temporary vows of poverty, consecrated celibacy and obedience. If accepted, she officially becomes a member of the congregation through the profession of vows.
Temporary Profession: A period of three to six years during which a sister who has made temporary vows continues to grow in relation to God, self and others. With the help of a mentor and the small community to which she belongs, she continues to discern the authenticity of her call. When she is ready to make a public, permanent commitment, she makes this desire known and requests to make perpetual vows. If she is accepted, she professes lifelong vows of poverty, consecrated celibacy and obedience and is given a plain silver ring to wear.
For more information, contact Sr. Barbara Jean Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org, 419.447.0435, ext. 117 or 567.230.3021