In order to give each Sister an adequate and thorough doctrinal, spiritual, professional, and cultural formation, we strive to continue the work of formation throughout the postulancy, novitiate, temporal and permanent profession periods.
The candidate, along with the Institute, should endeavor to discern the authenticity of the postulant's call to the vocation of religious life. During this time, the postulant will develop her knowledge of Christian doctrine and Franciscan spirituality and deepen her prayer life and union with God.
During the novitiate years the Sister will develop the shared vision, common mind, and oneness of heart essential to living true community life. She will study Scripture, liturgy, the Rule and writings of St. Francis, Vatican II documents and subsequent directives of the Holy See on religious life, and the Constitution of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the Divine Teacher.
Novices are to be led to cultivate human and Christian virtues; through prayer and self-denial they are to be introduced to a fuller way of perfection; they are to be taught to contemplate the mystery of salvation and to read and meditate on the sacred scriptures; they are to be prepared to cultivate the worship of God in the sacred liturgy; they are to learn a manner of leading a life consecrated to God and humanity in Christ through the evangelical counsels; they are to be instructed regarding the character and spirit, the purpose and discipline, the history and life of the institute; and they are to be imbued with love for the Church and its sacred pastors. (Canon 652.2)
When the novice has satisfactorily completed the two-year novitiate, she is admitted to the profession of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the Congregation for a one-year period.
At the end of the First Vows period, the Sister will renew her vows for a period of three years.
Since final profession is the total consecration of self to God, it is by its very nature permanent. The Sister preparing for final profession participates in a period of preparation for this total self-gift.
Because the pursuit of holiness and union with God is a life-long process, every Sister consciously engages in a personal work of on-going formation for the rest of her life in the community.