Becoming a Sister is a step-by-step process. Women are guided through making this decision with the support of the Sisters and the communities they serve. The first questions to be asked can be found on the How Do I Know page. It is important that women tune in to the voice within them that is nudging them to become a Sister and pray to God for the grace to be open to God’s will. Women first need to gather more information so the commitment to this way of life is fully understood. Our Sisters are here to help guide the decision-making process.
1. Ask for information about the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother by contacting the Vocations Director, Sister Dorothy Ann Dirkx, by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling her at 920-230-6157 (or you can contact any other Sister) and tell her about your interest in becoming a Sister or share your questions about religious life with her.
3. Attend a Discernment Retreat and/or a “Come and See” program with other young women interested in religious life to learn more about the spirituality and charism of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. See dates and locations on our Retreats page.
4. Spend 5-10 minutes in prayer each day. Sit in solitude with the Lord. Gaze upon the Lord in love and let God’s loving gaze touch your heart. Ask God for openness to His holy will.
6. Read and reflect upon the information you’ve learned and the materials sent to you. Share your thoughts and insights with the Vocations Director or any other Sister.
7. Begin a Pre-Postulancy phase preparing to enter the SSM community.
Incorporation into Community: Phases of the Spiritual Formative Process
1. The Postulancy: the period of time that precedes the novitiate. The primary purpose of this period is to assist the person to listen more deeply to God’s call and to continue her growth in the Catholic faith. The journey is actualized through significant experiences in prayer, through the experience of community life and continue service to others, especially the poor. During this time, the postulant becomes acquainted with the spiritual values and charism of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (SSMs) and develops a sense of belonging.
a. Time duration: usually one year but the Provincial can extend the time period up to two years with the consent of her council
b. Residency: in a local house of SSMs that is chosen by the Provincial after consultation with the appropriate persons
c. Financial Arrangement: the postulant is expected to be financially independent while learning to live within community.
a. The first-year novitiate is referred to as the Canonical Novitiate. The canonical phase emphasizes the contemplative dimension of the process of being incorporated into religious life. Solitude, prayer and studies assist the novice in continuing to detach from all that would prevent a total commitment to God. The focus is the deepening of one’s relationship to Jesus through the discipline of habitual prayer and the internalization of the Gospel values, Franciscan spirituality, and the charism of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. To accomplish this goal, the program provides for adequate balance of prayer, study, service to the poor and leisure.
b. Time direction: one year
c. Residence: the novitiate house with the Novice Director, other novices and professed Sisters
d. Financial Agreement: The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother assume financial responsibility for a novice.
3. Second-Year Novitiate: This year is referred to as the Apostolic Novitiate as more time is spent in ministry. The focus is the integration of the novice’s understanding of the mission of the Church through which religious give themselves in love to be send out to serve others. Ministry is mutually discerned.
Profession of Vows
Profession of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience follow the Novitiate. These three vows, based on Gospel invitations given by Jesus, are public acknowledgements of the acceptance and commitment to live the religious life as a Sister. Vows are made for a limited time, four to six years.
During this time, a newly professed Sister engages in full-time ministry (apostolate), with continued formative studies. Or she would be engaged in studies that prepare her professionally for the ministry to which she would be assigned.
Perpetual Vows are made for life after a Sister is confident that this is the life she is being called to live.