Stages in the formation of a sister
Enquiry and accompaniment stage
If a young woman is interested in finding out more about discerning a vocation with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, she contacts her nearest community to meet the sisters She may spend a few days in a community to get to know the sisters and experience the life style. During this time, a sister is named to lead the enquirer into a prayerful consideration of her life’s choices. In time the young woman may request admission to the next stage.
1 – Postulancy (6months – 2 years)
Postulancy is spent in one of the Congregation’s Houses in direct contact with the Sisters’ life and mission. Its central aim is to help the young woman experience the sisters’ community life and develop her calling through human and spiritual guidance with a view to entry into the novitiate. It should allow each candidate to have a glimpse of the riches of religious life as well as the changes in lifestyle this demands.
2 – Novitiate (2 years) This takes place in Suva, Fiji
“The main objective of the Novitiate is to establish the spiritual principles essential to a Sister so that her religious life may be truly based on God, a life lived through Him and in Him…The Novices will be progressively led to understand the importance of the vows for which they are preparing themselves and to personally assume that responsibility.” ( Constitutions of the congregation).
The Novitiate lasts two years, but may be extended for a further six months if necessary. The Novices are accompanied by a Formator who helps and directs them. The program takes the form of guidance in prayer, discernment of vocation, human development, biblical studies, congregational literature and Church doctrine.
3 – Temporary Profession (3 – 9 years)
Temporary vows in Obedience, Chastity and Poverty are made at the end of the novitiate as the first official response to the call of God, the first step towards final consecration. These temporary vows usually last for three years, and are renewable up to a period not longer than nine years.
Its objective is to give the religious candidates a more specific preparation in order to carry out the mission entrusted by the Church to the Congregation. They are full members of the congregation, living their apostolic, professional and communal lives, according to the mission which is entrusted to them.
4 – Perpetual Profession and Ongoing Formation
The culmination of temporary vows is perpetual profession which is the gift of oneself to God, His Church and the congregation for life.
But formation does not end here! Throughout her life, a Cluny Sister is invited to continue her formation. ”Continuous development is part of the requirements of the religious consecration…” She should strengthen her initial formation, predisposing herself to life-long development.”(V.F.nº69)