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How do I become a sister?

A simple question with a lot of significance. There are four key parts of our formation process.  Below is an overview of each phase. As always, if you have questions, please contact our Ministry of Vocations director Lori Benge.

"Formation is a lifelong process. It begins with the initial stirrings to live our baptismal call through vowed life as an Adorer of the Blood of Christ. It continues as we allow ourselves to be taught, loved and influenced by Jesus in the many relationships and life events that reveal God to us. Eventually, trusting in God who is ever faithful, we face the final transformation of death. Only then, in the fullness of God’s Life, will formation be complete." -US Region Formation Plan

1

Vocational Companioning

What gifts do you have? Do you have a calling to religious life? If yes, is our community the best place for you to live out your vocation? These are some of the questions we will try to answer during this initial phase of formation.

Maria De Mattias, our Foundress, always held vocational companioning of the person in all age groups dear to her heart. Her constant interest is described very well in the following lines:

“Our principal goal must be … to form, through a solid Christian formation, worthy daughters Jesus acquired with his Blood. We must assist them and guide … during all the phases of their lives, so far as we can do so with God’s help.”

Vocational companioning, the fruit of vocation ministry, is offered to those women who have had an experience of the Lord, perceive a call to religious life and manifest the desire to respond to that call among the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.

Vocational companioning is a personal journey to help the woman in discernment to:

  • read her personal story and begin to accept herself with her gifts and limitations,
  • reflect on Christian life and prayer,
  • understand the Scriptures, especially the stories of biblical vocations,
  • visit the community to experience the Adorers’ life,
  • visit ministries to witness the Adorers’ mission in the world,
  • get to know Maria De Mattias and other charismatic figures of the Congregation,
  • clarify whether she has a vocation to religious life;
  • confirm her aspirations, her aptitudes, and her plans in relation to this possible life choice as an Adorer, and
  • possibly explore a different response to God’s call.

Many tools are offered to meet the woman’s individual discernment needs. They may include but are not limited to:

  • personal connections via phone, text or social media;
  • prayer suggestions and faith sharing;
  • discernment books, articles and retreats;
  • various Adorer resources;
  • invitations to Adorer events;
  • invitations to visit with Adorers in local community; and
  • personal visits to the woman’s home by a vocation minister.

Length of Time:  Because the discernment is unique for each woman there is no set timeframe.  The period of companioning ends with the request for admission to the candidacy. After fulfilling all application requirements the woman enters into mutual sharing with the vocation director and candidate director in order to honor her discernment and share her hopes for living as a candidate. Vocational Companioning can also end with a sense of direction toward another life choice.

2

Candidacy

If a woman decides during vocational companioning that she is indeed being called to religious life with the Adorers, she may apply to become a candidate, making a formal commitment to God’s call and preparing for formation as an Adorer.

Candidacy is a time of ongoing discernment of the authenticity of a woman’s call to religious life and specifically to the Adorers through prayer and mutual reflection on her lived experience.

It is a time of integration of self with community, ministry and spirituality, while finding a life-giving balance.  Candidacy provides the opportunity for the woman to share the common life of community in all its varied aspects.  It is in this environment that she will grow more comfortable with her own true self and be willing to share her gifts, insights and questions with her community.  This will provide a mutual sharing and discovery of her ability to live in relationship with others in community.

As she continues her ministry and/or education, she is able to see how this interfaces with her personal goals and the goals of candidacy. This initial phase of formation will invite her to realize how vital her spiritual life is as she grows in her relationship with God, ASC community, Church and cosmos.

Length of Time: The length of the candidacy is based on the woman’s readiness to enter into the life of the novitiate and community.  It is ordinarily not longer than two years.  After fulfilling all requirements of Candidacy, the candidate, candidate director and the novice director meet to share expectations of the novitiate process.  This gives the candidate more information to discern her readiness for novitiate.

3

Novitiate

Novices are women who desire to follow Crucified and Risen Jesus in a life of adoration and apostolic service according to the charism of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. This phase puts into action the vocational plan verified during the candidacy and confirms the woman has demonstrated they have valid motivations and the necessary qualities to live as an Adorer.

The novitiate is a time of further initiation into religious life as it is lived in the congregation of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.  It is a process of interiorizing the demands of the gospel message, of vowed commitment within the Church and of the charism of this congregation.  It is a time of integration of the spiritual, communal and ministerial aspects of religious life.  The novitiate phase of formation provides the time and atmosphere conducive to intensive prayer, study and reflection, as well as an opportunity to experience apostolic community life.

The novitiate consists of four elements:

  • The experience of living in community.
  • The deepening of the contemplative aspect of an Adorers’ life.
  • An apostolic experience which engages the novice in a ministry consistent with the Adorers’ mission and charism. The ministry need not be compensated.
  • Any further formative activities which support and deepen the gifts and talents the woman brings to the community and for mission.

Length of Time: The length of the novitiate is two years in three phases.  After fulfilling all requirements of the Novitiate process, the novice enters into mutual sharing with the novice director and the temporary professed director in order to honor her discernment and share her vision for living the vows as well as discernment for ministry and local community.

Phase 1 – Canonical Novitiate (10 months)
  • This is a time of more intensive prayer, study and personal growth to further discernment toward the Adorers’ charism and call. It includes study of the Constitution, the vows, the congregation’s history and spirituality, and psycho-spiritual development along with Inter-Community Novitiate experience.
Phase 2 – Ministerial Preparation and Apostolic Experience (6-12 months)
  • This phase includes further ministry preparation as needed, apostolic experience, continued reflection on vowed life and community, and further experience in community living.
Phase 3 – Canonical Integration (2 months)
  • This is a time of integration of canonical and apostolic experiences with an intensive time of discernment for first profession of vows.

4

Temporary Vows

Sisters with Temporary Vows have made temporary profession and continue to deepen their identity by living mission in community. During this period the temporary professed will try to live, internalize and integrate the values learned during the novitiate. By becoming more like Christ, sisters are strengthened in their Adorer charism and identity and are prepared for perpetual profession.

The process for the period of temporary profession is designed to assist the professed member to further integrate her prayer, community life and ministry, as she grows in understanding and in living the spirit and mission of the congregation.  Opportunities and experiences are provided to expand and deepen her understanding of religious life, particularly as it is lived by Adorers of the Blood of Christ.  She lives in a community chosen to aid her in this integration and ongoing growth.  The process of temporary profession engages the woman in an ongoing discernment of her desire and capacity to live her life as a permanently vowed member of the Congregation.

Length of Time                                                                                                                          

  • The length of time of temporary vows is three to six years (Canon 655).
  • Based upon mutual discernment and individual readiness the Sister may profess first vows for one, two, or three years.
  • Renewal times are consistent with those found in the Statues and Bylaws
  • The time of temporary vows concluded with the celebration of permanent vows.
“There is a connectedness that has my heart at its center, bringing oxygenated blood to every single cell in my body. My sisterhood as an Adorer is that "circulatory system" that covenants and connects me to the Trinity and to all that lives, moves and has being in the Author of Life.“
– Sister Mary Catherine Clark, ASC