Formation of young women cannot be implemented without their will, and its active participation, in whatever area if it is to be formed inwardly. The main responsibility for formation depends on the woman discerning in our Congregation. In formation is important to build; first of all, intimate relationship in Christ through God’s Word, and be open to the Holy Spirit. The intention of our Foundress, as well as Rule and Constitution is precisely the fact that we are to imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel. “I did my part,” said our Holy Father Francis shortly before his death, “you need to learn the rest from Jesus Christ.”
Requirements for becoming a Daughter of St. Francis of Assisi
- By the explicit acceptance of the candidate she begins the period of the Candidancy. She will remain as candidate even after her entering the convent, until her admission to the postulancy. The length of candidancy is designated by the Provincial or Regional Superior.
- The candidate therefore will receive classes she takes during this stage are designed to help her with that process. Among other topics, she studies scripture, prayer, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the life of St. Francis. She also contributes to our life through helping with the household tasks and participating in our apostolates.
- This stage of formation lasts for about one year, and allows for a time of transition from secular life to the consecrated life lived in community. During this time, a postulant becomes acquainted with all the aspects of our way of life and gradually adjusts to our schedule.
- She wears a simple white blouse and black jumper. According to the Franciscan Third Order Regular, Rule (6) it states:
“Led by the Lord, let them begin a life of penance, conscious that all of us must be continuously and totally converted to the Lord. As a sign of their conversion and consecration to gospel life, they are to clothe themselves plainly and to live in simplicity“
- The goal of this period of formation is to prepare the woman for entrance into novitiate.
- Now that the day is near, it is an exciting transition that the postulant enters into. They have experienced the religious-community life for the set time and still sense the personal calling to the Consecrated Life. There is a simple private community ceremony planned and announced by our superior. For our order, it is usually the vigil of the Assumption. The room is readied. The readings from Scripture are prepared, the habit, white veil and constitution is set upon the table for her! What will her new name be? What will she look like? This is an incredibly exciting and serious new phase. The exterior symbols of the habit, the constitution and next two years are expressions of what is in our heart: God’s will be done
- Our canonical year is devoted to the spiritual and religious formation of the Novice; we concentrate and focus on religious life and we devote our study and time to the spiritual formation of our order. Prayer is central to our lives. We do not work in our active apostolate at this time. We strive to live out the constitutions and directives.
The non-canonical Novitiate Year
- We continue to learn practical religious life and the charism of our order. This year we are immersed into the apostolate again. We are gradually learning to balance contemplation and apostolate. We are preparing for the profession of Evangelical Counsels.
- The Constitution of our Congregation are the instructions and advice on how we are to respond now to everyday life and to the demands and expression of God’s love which called us into our religious family. We are prepared for growth in virtue, prayer and self-denial. We learn to meditate, appreciate and understand the Liturgy of the Mass and the Divine office.
“Let them put aside all attachment as well as every care and worry. Let them be only be concerned to serve, love, adore, and honor God, as best they can, with a single heart and a pure mind” (T.O.R. Rule 7)
- As the novice completes the two year novitiate, she is better equipped to discern her calling to the religious life and profession of vows. We express our understanding of the vows through our written petition two months before we conclude the novitiate. This is the time of discernment for the community to who have lived with the novice. They are involved in the discernment process as well as the individual seeking Consecrated Life. Formation continues for the temporary professed for four years until perpetual profession of Vows. One year prior to the profession of the perpetual vows is dedicated and intensified dedicated to depending and confirming this life time commitment.
- Formation has been building over the years and we are one step closer to this final step of final vows!
- Perpetual Vows is when Sister says “YES” to all that she have learned in formation with all her heart knowing that this is a life time commitment and she want to live it out in through charism of the Daughters of St. Francis of Assisi. The Congregation on their behalf affirms this calling and helps her to live this daily. No one vocation stands alone and our formation is not finished with the pronunciation of vows but it continues out our whole life.
- I belong to my lover and for me he yearns. Song of Songs 7:11
- God you are the lover of my soul, be near to me: sums up the three evangelical counsels I will take for the rest of my life!
- And then the formation of the sister continues