Formation of a School Sister of St. Francis is based on the Scriptures, Franciscan writings and tradition, the charism of our Mother Foundress, the lives of the saints, and the documents of the Church and of the Order. The Evangelical Counsels (vows), Mariology, writings of the spiritual masters, Church History, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, prayer, and the Theology of the Body are also a significant part of our formation.
We currently have a Formation Team of three Sisters that contribute to a balanced and well-rounded formation.
Aspirants are accepted into a live-in experience (see below for more information) as a first step to serious discernment.
A young woman begins her postulancy with a simple consecration entrusting herself to the Blessed Mother. In a simple jumper and blouse, she embraces continued formation in the study of the Holy Rule, the documents of the Congregation, elements of prayer life, the Catechism, and Scripture.
The novice is dressed in the habit and wears a white veil. Her Franciscan cincture has no knots as she is not yet subject to vows. She receives her new religious name. She strives to live what she is learning about the vows, living in community, and giving herself to the pursuit of holiness as a School Sister of St. Francis. Her desire is to be intimately united with Jesus, who will be her Spouse. The first year of the Novitiate is an intimate and quiet year devoted to prayer, study, and detachment from the world. The second year of the Novitiate includes continued study and a certain involvement in the apostolates.
The Junior Sister professes the temporary vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the Rule and Constitutions. She will repeat these vows annually twice more and then make vows for a two year period before formally requesting admittance to final vows.
As a Junior Sister, she wears the black veil of the professed and has three knots in her cincture as an outward sign and reminder of her vows.
After the completion of the Juniorate, the Sister may request admittance to final vows. If the Congregation, after prayer and discernment, believes that the Sister has a permanent vocation as a School Sister of St. Francis, she is admitted to final vows and receives a gold ring inscribed with the name of Jesus and a predicate that is added to her name. She is now a full member of the Community and the profound and indescribable graces of final profession are hers. It is these graces that will help her to live her vows faithfully until death.
All professed Sisters are engaged in ongoing formation throughout their religious lives. We never come to the point where there is no more to learn or understand about our Faith and our precious vocation. Personal conversion remains a daily and lifelong goal.
An Aspirancy Program is an amazing opportunity to discern Religious Life in a profound and close way.
It is a time of discernment for young women to experience some basic formation and to learn more about a Community that she is seriously considering. Those who feel a desire to follow a religious vocation as part of discerning deeper intimacy with Jesus are invited to discern more closely through this beautiful and challenging adventure.
The in-house Aspirancy Program for the School Sisters of St. Francis is for the exclusive purpose of assisting the Community in getting to know a young woman who has a sincere interest in discerning. It is also an opportunity for the aspirant to learn more about the Community and Congregation in which she is interested.
ASPIRANCY - Basics:
- An aspirant would be a woman between the ages of 20-39 who has the kind of interest in the Community that prompts a deeper experience.
- Since this is an effort to discern religious life as a School Sister of St. Francis, the aspirant will be asked to follow some basic rules and expectations, hopefully giving her a good insight into religious life and community life. She will be given the opportunity to grow spiritually and in other human ways, as well. The Community wishes to see how she interacts with others, if she is able to learn to surrender her will, and if she is serious about growth in virtue. These are prerequisites to religious life.
- She will receive some basic formation and be able to spend some time within the apostolates of the Community, as is possible.
- During this time, she will be employed in an appropriate job and/or volunteer work nearby.
- The Aspirancy will last 10-12 months and be extended if more time is needed to pay off a debt,
- Aspirancy starts during the months of September - November, dependent upon the application process..