Becoming a Sister

Phases of Initial Formation

  • Postulancy – a period of one to two years of spiritual and human formation to deepen God’s call and to become acquainted with the SSM’s.
  • Novitiate – a period of at least two years in which to experience the following of Jesus , living according to the way of life of the SSM’s.
  • Temporary Profession – a period of four to six years to become integrated into the prayer and apostolic life as a vowed member of the congregation.
  • Perpetual Profession – when the time comes that the sister feels called to perpetual profession and the congregation responds affirmatively, the sister  begins a three month preparation period for profession in a life-long commitment as a Sister of the Sorrowful Mother.

Once the congregation determines that the pre-postulant has met the prerequisites for admission into the community, she is welcomed as a postulant. Now she begins a more focused gradual process of human and spiritual formation to deepen her response to God’s call and to become acquainted with the SSM spiritual values. This process helps develop a sense of belonging within the charism of the SSM.

Usually within a year or two, the postulant attains the goals for this period of formation and enters into what is called the novitiate. For at least two years the novice experiences the following of Jesus through living the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, in community with other sisters and according to the Way of Life of the congregation. Through prayer and study of the vows, history, and life of the SSM Congregation, as well as engagement with the sisters in various ministries, the novice prepares for a commitment to God with temporary vows.

As a vowed member of the congregation, the sister now integrates herself more fully into the prayer life and apostolic life of the community. It is a time of reflection, both spontaneous and planned, to open oneself to the movement of the Spirit toward transformation and conversion to relationship with God and God’s poor and vulnerable among us. When the time comes that the sister feels called to perpetual profession and the congregation responds to her through an invitation to spend her life with them, the sister professes perpetual vows.