“The formation of consecrated persons is a process aimed at configuration to the Lord Jesus and the assimilation of His mind and heart in the complete gift of self to the Father. This process is never-ending and is meant to imbue the entire person, with the result that, in their way of thinking and acting, consecrated persons show that they belong fully and joyful to Christ; it thus demands a constant conversion to God. It aims at shaping the heart, the mind and all of life by facilitating an integration of the human, cultural, spiritual and pastoral dimensions.” -Pope Francis, Vultum Dei Quaerere

(enjoy the pics of Sr. John-Mark’s progression through these steps…)

Step 1

Getting to Know You – Beginning discernment with our community starts by filling out the Vocations Inquiry Form.  Tell us a little bit about yourself, ask any questions you might have, and share with us where you are on the discernment journey.

Whether you are at the beginning stages of discovery of vocation or whether you have been actively discerning God’s Call for quite some time, we encourage you to get in touch.  This first step is often the hardest.  But, take heart!, and remember that this first step does not require that you have any of the answers.  It’s a simple inquiry into our way of life and a sharing of the good things the Lord is doing in your life. Discernment is a process and a journey…one that you don’t have to walk alone.  Praise the Lord!  We look forward to accompanying you along the way…

Step 2

Aspirancy
A young woman’s discernment with the community usually begins with getting to know one another via a series of phone conversations and questionnaires.  These conversations and written questionnaires/emails provide a forum for the Vocation Directress and Abbess to gradually get to know the aspirant and vice versa.  As discernment progresses, short and long visits follow. During vocation visits, the aspirant is immersed in our way of life by following the same daily schedule as the nuns, spending time with Our Lord in Eucharistic Adoration, as well as getting to know the Community through observation and encounter.

At each stage of this process, our Abbess, Counsel and Vocation Directress (along with the aspirant herself) prayerfully consider whether or not the aspirant ought to move forward to the next step. For this reason, we ask that aspirants enter in to this process with a spirit of prayer and docility to the Holy Spirit, as well as with the resolve to proceed with both openness and sincerity.

Step 3

Candidacy
A new candidate to the monastery joins in the life of the community in its fullness. Living within the Monastery, she takes part in the formation lessons, Divine Office, adoration, and monastic work and recreation.  This immersion live-in experience gives the candidate an opportunity to assess both her call to contemplative life and to this particular community. Candidacy also providesan opportunity for the community to come to know the candidate.  If after 3 months both the candidate and the community mutually desire that the candidate continue on in discernment with our community, then the application process continues.

Step 4

Postulancy
After the application process is successfully completed, the candidate is accepted for entrance as a postulant.  Postulancy denotes a preliminary period before entering the novitiate of our Order.  Postulancy is derived from the Latin word “postulare” which literally means “to ask”.  During this time, the postulant deepens her understanding of the Catholic faith and learns something of our Poor Clare way of life, our history and spirituality. Also during this time, she learns how to adapt to this new way of life, as she continues to discern her vocation.  The duration of postulancy is typically one year, then the postulant may petition the Community to be admitted to the novitiate.

Step 5

Novitiate
After the successful completion of Postulancy, the Sister is invested in the Holy Habit, receives a new name, and begins her Novitiate.  Novitiate typically is 2 years in length.  During Novitiate, the Sister continues her formation with special emphasis on the vows, as well as learning about the charism, customs, and history of the Order.

Step 6

The Vowed Life
After Novitiate, the Sister makes her First Profession of Vows.  She professes to live in poverty, chastity and obedience for 1 year, in accord with our Constitutions which are based on the Rule of St. Clare.  These Vows may be renewed each year for five years. During this time of formation, the Sister is a Junior-Professed nun.

Step 7

Final Profession
After about 8 years of formation and five years of temporary Vows, the Sister make her Final Profession of Vows.  This is the definitive moment of her life-long commitment. And it is at this time that she becomes fully incorporated into the Community.