What do you do all day?
We balance our day between prayer, work and ministry. Each morning and evening we adore the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Hour, as well as daily Mass, Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, praise and intercession, and we pray morning, evening and night prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours in common. Each sister has daily work, ministry, domestic duties, study, recreation and personal time, as well as monthly days of prayer and solitude, and participates in various community events. At the Motherhouse the training of the new sisters takes place, with formation classes and ministry and various daily work and domestic duties. In the Mission Houses sisters pray and spend significant time each day in work and ministry among the poor, the sick and those in need of evangelization.
What is the Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office)?
The “Liturgy of the Hours” or Divine Office is the official prayer of the Church, and is required for all Consecrated people, Priests, Religious and Lay consecrated. It is an extension of the Liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that reaches out to intercede for all the needs of humanity and God’s people in a continual way, and to sanctify the hours of the day by prayer and praise to God.
Why do Sisters wear a habit (a special dress)?
The habit is an outward sign of an inward consecration to God, and identifies us as members of a particular religious order in the Church. The veil and modest dress are like our wedding ring and garment, since we are signs of the Church as “Bride” of Christ. The religious garb is a sign that one is ‘set apart’ by God as a consecrated or holy offering to God for the salvation of all humankind. Like a public uniform that identifies one as a policeman or nurse, so the religious dress publically identifies us as servants of the Gospel, welcoming others to approach us for aid, prayer and service of their spiritual and temporal needs. Our dress reminds us and others that we are sisters to all, for we are all one family under God, the Father and Creator of all. We seek always to give glory to God by our manner of acting, believing and by our dress, so as to be signs of God’s living presence in the world.
What is your application process?
- A woman writes, emails or calls our Vocations Coordinator
- She attends a Vocation Discernment Retreat Weekend to learn more about religious life and about our community charisms as Franciscan Sisters
- She asks to do a Come and See visit, which is between a weekend and a week long, to live our way of life alongside us.
- She is interviewed by sisters in the community.
- She has a psychological exam by a psychologist in the area
- Her references and formal records of education, employment and health are requested.
- If the applicant is accepted, she prepares to enter in August that year.
Is a college degree required?
No, a college degree is not required for our particular community, although it might be required for some Orders. A college education is helpful for one’s training for various ministries and for personal maturity, but not essential for all the ministries and works of our community. We encourage young women to attend college, but we realize the debt incurred is often a deterrent for entering a religious community as soon as a woman wishes. We do not accept applicants with outstanding debt or loans. Today, women have various options for fundraising to help them pay off their debts or loans in order to be ready to enter a religious order.
What are the stages of Formation and Commitment?
- Postulancy: Following the application process and acceptance the woman enters the postulancy program and begins to wear a religious garb. This is a 1-2 year period of training in community; including an introduction to our life of prayer, work, and ministry. This stage is characterized in a primary way by vocational discernment.
- Novitiate: Upon entering novitiate, the novice receives a more distinct religious garb, a veil, and a religious name. It is a period of time (usually two years) of more concentrated study, prayer, and times of solitude. This provides an environment conducive to continued discernment and testing of one’s vocation.
- Temporary Profession of Vows: The Church stipulates a 3-6-year period, at the beginning of which the sister professes temporary vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. She renews them each year. The sister wears the habit of the community and is fully engaged in our life of prayer, work, and ministry. It is a time of both continued discernment, and more intentional testing to see if one is well suited for making a lifetime commitment to the congregation.
- Perpetual Vows: This entails a life-long commitment to living the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. At the Mass of profession the sister receives a wedding ring.
For more information visit our formation page.
How often can a sister visit with her family?
Each sister can make monthly calls to family, and can visit her family for two weeks each year. In addition to this, a sister’s family may visit her at our Motherhouse two weekends each year.
What is your apostolate?
Our time is evenly divided between prayer, work and ministry. Our apostolate (mission and ministry) is ‘to make known God’s merciful love’ by spiritual and corporal works of mercy among the poor, the sick, and those in need of evangelization. We minister among the poor of our local area in Samaritan House Thrift Store and Emergency Food Bank, as well as college campus ministry, and parish missions and retreats. We also offer vocations and youth programs, speak at conferences and events, and host events at our Motherhouse for spiritual enrichment.
How do you express contemplative and charismatic prayer in the community?
Our contemplative prayer includes two silent Eucharistic Hours in the morning and evening of each day, as well as communal vocal prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours three times each day. Our charismatic prayer includes several times each week of song, praise and worship, intercession, a prayer meeting in which charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit are expressed, and other occasions of praying over each other or charismatic Masses, etc.
How do you fast and live penance?
Our penance includes the discipline of our way of life and our vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It also includes simple food and décor, sharing all things in common, permissions for the use of things, fasting twice a week on bread and water or minimal food, and joyfully accepting whatever assignment is given to us for work and ministry.
How do I know if I have a religious vocation?
Typically there is deep peace, consistent interest and desire, and awareness that one is being ‘invited’ to follow Christ by living in an exclusive covenant or communion with Him. If one is truly open to this possibility and is regularly praying, receiving the sacraments and actively researching various religious Orders, then there is usually a growing sense that this call or invitation to embrace a consecrated or religious life would be the greatest way to fulfill one’s purpose and mission in life, and to grow in love of God and neighbor.