Candidacy (6 months to 2 years)
A Time to Grow in Knowledge
A candidate lives in a local community with other sisters, sharing prayer and spirituality, living community life and participating in ministry. During this time, she takes part in the formation program and learns about life as a Franciscan, in particular, as a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. She deepens relationships with the members of the congregation as together they mutually discern her call to membership. In time, the candidate may make a request for formal membership as a novice.
Novitiate (2 years)
A Time to Grow in Commitment
As a woman enters the novitiate she formally becomes a member of the congregation. The first year, or canonical novitiate year, is a special time set aside in order to allow the novice to deepen her relationship with God through personal and communal prayer and through extended periods of reflection and study.
Much of the year is shared with Franciscan novices from across the U.S. at the Third Order Regular Franciscan Common Novitiate in Saint Louis, Mo. Together, the novices study Franciscan life and values, theology, the history of religious life and the vows. A portion of the year is spent at our formation house. There the novice studies our congregational history and becomes better acquainted with other members of our congregation.
During the second year of novitiate, the novice lives in a supportive community. Her time is devoted to study in preparation for future ministries or is spent in active ministry. The novice also continues her study of the vows.
The novitiate concludes with the profession of temporary vows for three years.
Temporary Profession (3 to 6 years)
A Time to Deepen One’s Response to God
After the initial profession of vows, the sister lives the life of a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities for three to six years. She continues her spiritual and personal development within a supportive community, grows in her relationship with the sisters in community, develops skills needed for ministry or is involved in full time ministry, and continues a program of formation and integration.
When the sister, and those working with her, discern readiness for a permanent commitment, the temporary professed sister makes a request for final vows.
Final Profession (a lifetime)
A Time for Commitment
In her profession, the sister expresses a lifetime commitment of vowed poverty, chastity and obedience within the congregation. She freely accepts the rights and responsibilities of a member who has taken final vows.
Prior to the celebration of final vows, the sister has a special preparation period of at least one month.