So You’ re Ready to Follow?
When one feels a stirring within to consider a vocation to Religious Life, there are a number of steps in the process. These steps are important as they provide a chance for the person who believes they are called to take time to discern if Religious Life really is their vocation.
The steps in continuing to explore a call as a Canossian Daughter of Charity are:
1. Come and See
Having expressed a desire to explore further the call to religious life, a young person goes to stay for a short period with a community of professed religious. This ‘live-in’ experience provides a taste of how life would be if they decide to join.
The first official stage in the process of becoming a religious. Accompanied by a professed religious, the young woman begins a journey of deepening her relationship with Jesus and understanding of the charism of the congregation. During this time she lives in the religious community and may also be engaged in some of the ministries carried out by the community. This first stage usually takes one year.
This is a special time where the young person is set apart from the world to prepare themselves concretely for life as a religious. Usually this stage takes two years, with one canonical year being exclusively for deepening the call to religious life without being involved in any ministry. The second year often involves an apostolic experience, where the young person has the chance to participate actively in one of the ministries of the congregation.
4. First Profession Following a successful completion of the above stages, the young woman expresses their desire to officially be accepted into the congregation. This leads to the first profession of vows, where one commits themselves to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience for one year. Each year, the sister has the chance to renew their vows or if they believe religious life is not for them, they can leave.
5. Final Profession
After a specific period of time, usually between five and nine years after first profession, the young person is called upon to commit themselves forever to following Jesus as a religious. If this desire still resides in their heart, they will apply to be accepted for final profession. This is where the religious publicly commits themselves to their vows for the rest of their life.
After these first steps of initial formation, religious begin the life long journey of their daily yes to follow wherever God leads.