The Formation Process

You have listened to your call to religious life. As you have prayed throughout your discernment, so too has the congregation. A decision to invite you to begin formation comes as a result of the congregation’s desire to listen to God with you. Now you begin the steps of initial formation on the journey of becoming a Sister of Notre Dame. This journey takes about eight years. It includes postulancy, the novitiate, and a period as a temporary professed sister before making final vows. During this time you will have a director for each stage along the way.

As a postulant you have several responsibilities:

  • enter into various prayerful experiences
  • discuss and implement a personal growth plan
  • come to know more about the Sisters of Notre Dame
  • begin to engage in ministries of the community

The postulancy ordinarily lasts two years. When your time as a postulant ends and you sincerely desire to become a Sister of Notre Dame, you will be accepted into the novitiate.

The novitiate lasts for two years. One year, called the canonical year, is set aside for a more intense time of preparation for living the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.

During the alternate year, you will be involved in formation activities that will help you to learn to balance prayer and community life with your ministry as a Sister of Notre Dame.

As a novice you have several responsibilities:

  • come to deeper self-knowledge
  • deepen your relationship with God through fidelity to personal and communal prayer
  • be involved in community activities
  • participate in formation sessions and theological studies
  • learn more of the history, spirit, and mission of the congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame

When your time as a novice comes to an end, you will be invited to make a temporary commitment by professing the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.

As a temporary professed sister you have several responsbilities:  

  • participate fully in all aspects of community life and ministry
  • continue to deepen your prayer life
  • develop a personal growth plan yearly
  • participate in monthly formation sessions
  • renew your vows of chastity, poverty and obedience annually, ordinarily for five years

Your Perpetual Vows:

After your time as a Temporary Professed Sister, you will be invited to make a lifelong commitment to God by pronouncing perpetual vows.

  • Your perpetual profession of vows is a culmination of your initial formation but it is not a conclusion; rather, it marks the commencement of your life as a perpetually professed Sister of Notre Dame
  • Your family and friends will gather together in community with the Sisters of Notre Dame in a public Eucharistic liturgy to witness and celebrate your profession of perpetual vows
  • As a sacred commitment, this marks in a special way your dedication to serving the will of God through the rest of your life

As an apostolic, consecrated women religious, you will join us as we devote ourselves to the spirit and mission of building up the reign of God while supporting activities, projects and services that use our God-given strengths and talents to creatively respond to those who need us most.

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