Becoming a Sister of Notre Dame…The Formation Process
Overview of formation: 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.
Your role as a Postulant is to:
- 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 lasts at least a year. 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 preparation for the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
- During the alternate year, you will be involved in formative activities that will help you to balance your prayer and community life with your ministry as a Sister of Notre Dame
Your role as a Novice is to:
- Come to deeper self-knowledge
- Deepen your relationship with God through fidelity to personal and communal prayer
- Become involved in community activities and participate actively in them
- Participate in formation sessions and continue to study the basic truths of the faith
- 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
Your role as a Temporary Professed Sister is to:
- Participate fully in all aspects of community life and ministry
- Continue to deepen your prayer life
- Develop a personal growth plan yearly
- Be engaged in a ministry, and if possible, with other Sisters of Notre Dame
- Participate in monthly formation sessions
- Renew your vows of chastity, poverty and obedience annually, for a minimum of five years
At the conclusion of your time as a temporary professed sister, you will make a lifelong commitment to God by pronouncing perpetual vows.