A religious vocation is a call to a certain way of life. As with every form of life, there are various stages of growth and development.
THE SEED IS PLANTED . . .
The first step is the aspirancy. It is a time to “come and see,” and involves two weekend retreats in our extern quarters, followed by two more weekends and an extended live-in experience within the enclosure.
BECOMING ROOTED . . .
After an aspirant applies and is accepted for admission to our community, a period of at least one year, which may be extended up to two years, is spent as a postulant. One is given time to adjust to a whole new culture, so different from the world “outside.” The rhythm of our daily life starts to “form” the person as a nun, a woman religious serving God through the purely contemplative life.
THE FLOWERING OF VIRTUE . . .
The novitate begins with the clothing in our Dominican habit, but with a white, and not a black, veil. The novice also receives a new name: “In the world, you were known as ... [such and such] ... now you will be called ... [such and such]. It is a special two-year period of coming to understand more deeply our way of life and of preparing for the taking of vows.
BEARING A HIDDEN FRUITFULNESS . . .
After the novitiate is completed, first profession of vows is made. According to our custom, this is in the hands of one’s prioress, and begins another probationary period lasting at least five years. Finally comes the happy day when the sister can extend these vows “until death,” in what is called “solemn vows.” This total offering of herself to God is witnessed by the Church and sealed for life. Though hidden from the eyes of the world, her religious consecration bears a wonderful fruitfulness in souls. May God be pleased to increase our numbers! How much the world needs our prayers!