Becoming A Member
A woman who desires to share our way of life will go through several stages of formation in order to become a member of the Congregation. Throughout each of these stages of formation, there are Sisters to guide and gradually introduce women to the life, spirit and traditions of the Congregation. A readiness to move to the next stage is always something determined by the individual together with the Sisters who have served as guides.
Here are the steps taken to become a Joliet Franciscan Sister:
During this time, a woman discerning religious life as a Joliet Franciscan Sister gets to know the Congregation and the Congregation gets to know her. She is invited to get to know the Congregation and learn about life as a Franciscan Sister by sharing prayer with the Sisters, attending Congregation celebrations and gatherings, participating in volunteer experiences, reading articles/books about discernment, religious life, Francis and Clare, and by being in contact with the Vocation Director.
A candidate is a woman who, after seriously discerning the call to religious life, has made the decision to apply for admission into the Congregation and enters into the application process guided by the Vocation Director. The application process lasts 4 – 6 months.
The candidate is a single woman, ordinarily between the ages of 20 and 50, who has a desire to serve the people of God and to live the spirit and life of the Joliet Franciscans. She must have at least 2 years of college, professional training or work experience and been a Roman Catholic for at least 3 years. She continues to get to know the Congregation as she did during her period of initial contact.
When a candidate applies to enter the Congregation and has been accepted, she becomes an affiliate. An affiliate lives with members of the Congregation and shares life with us while together we determine if religious life is a good fit for her. Affiliates are financially independent and continue to work at their jobs. The period of affiliation lasts from 1 to 2 years.
The Novitiate stage lasts for 2 years. The first year of the novitiate is a year spent in prayer, study and reflection on religious life. During this year, the novice lives with novices from other Franciscan Congregations of women in the Common Franciscan Novitiate. The second year of the novitiate is more active, with the novice exploring different ministerial and community living options. During the second year of the novitiate, the novice, together with the community, determines if this is the life choice God is calling her to make.
Temporary profession means that the novice enters into initial membership in the Congregation by professing vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Sister. The vow of poverty requires that members of the Congregation hold all material goods in common and live simply, using all God’s gifts responsibly. Chastity requires that the Sister promise not to get married or have sexual relations, instead committing herself to God and remaining free to respond to the needs of God’s people. The vow of obedience requires the Sister to seek to do the will of God as it is revealed in scripture, the teachings of the Church, through the Constitutions of the community and through the Sister’s own life experiences. The period of time for Temporary profession lasts 3-6 years.
At perpetual profession, a Sister makes a permanent commitment to God and to religious life by professing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for life.