A woman who desires to share our way of life will go through various stages in becoming a member of the Congregation. Throughout each of these stages of formation, there are Sisters to guide you and to gradually introduce you to the life, spirit and traditions of the Congregation. A readiness to move to the next stage is always something determined by you together with the Sisters who have served as your guides.
Here are the steps taken to become a Joliet Franciscan Sister:
1. Initial Contact
During this time, a woman discerning religious life as a Joliet Franciscan Sister gets to know the Congregation and the Congregation gets to know her. She is invited to get to know the Congregation and learn about life as a Franciscan Sister by sharing prayer with the sisters, attending Congregation celebrations and gatherings, participating in volunteer experiences, reading articles/books about discernment, religious life, Francis and Clare, and being in contact with the Vocation Director.
A candidate is a woman who, after seriously discerning the call to religious life, has made the decision to apply for admission into the Congregation and enters into the application process guided by the Vocation Director. The application process lasts 4 – 6 months.
3. Affiliate (Pre-Novice)
When a candidate applies to enter the Congregation and has been accepted, she becomes an affiliate. An affiliate lives with us and shares life with us while together we determine if religious life is a good fit for her. Affiliates are financially independent and continue to work at their jobs. The period of affiliation lasts from 1 to 2 years.
The Novitiate stage lasts for 2 years. The first year of the novitiate is a year spent in prayer, study and reflection on religious life. During this year, the novice lives with novices from other Franciscan Congregations of women in the Common Franciscan Novitiate. The second year of the novitiate is more active with the novice exploring different ministerial and community living options. During the second year of the novitiate, the novice together with the community, determine if this is the life choice God is calling her to make.
5. Temporary Profession
Temporary profession means that the novice enters into initial membership in the Congregation by professing vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a sister. The vow of poverty means that members of the Congregation hold all material goods in common and try to live simply, using all God's gifts responsibly. Chastity means that the Sister promises not to get married or have sexual relations, instead committing herself to God and remaining free to respond to the needs of God's people. The vow of obedience means that the Sister seeks to do the will of God as it is revealed in scripture, the teachings of the Church, through the community and through the Sister's own life experiences. The period of time for Temporary profession lasts 3-6 years..
6. Perpetual Profession
At perpetual profession, a Sister makes a permanent commitment to God and to religious life by professing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for life.