Stages of Religious Formation
During the time of postulancy, while receiving basic instruction in consecrated life and Catholic doctrine, the postulant actively participates in a program of human, spiritual, academic and apostolic formation.
The postulant learns the characteristic spirituality of our community, the Total Consecration of St. Louis Marie de Monfort. Before beginning her novitiate, the postulant prepares for and consecrates herself to Jesus through Mary.
During a private ceremony the postulant is received into the novitiate. She is clothed in the holy habit of the community and receives her new name in religious life and a title of Our Lady. During the novitiate she is gradually initiated into the life and charism of the community. Her mind and heart are formed in the school of Mary, where she is led to a more intimate knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and of the Father through the lived experience of the evangelical counsels.
The novitiate is divided into two separate years. The canonical year is a time devoted to prayer and study when the novice deepens in her relationship with Christ and His Mother. Intensified prayer and study continue into the apostolic year when the novice is given opportunities to work in the apostolate where she learns the joyful art of evangelization.
Temporary profession of vows prepares the sister for perpetual profession. These vows by which she pledges herself to the practice of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience show forth the unbreakable bond of union that exists between Christ and His bride, the Church.
While growing in closer union with Christ, the vowed religious learns to combine contemplation with apostolic love. By the former, she clings to God in mind and heart; by the latter she strives to associate herself with the work of redemption and to spread the kingdom of God through evangelization.
The vows show their deepest meaning when seen in relation to the Holy Trinity. They express the love of the Son for the Father together with the Holy Spirit. Chastity manifests a total giving to God with an undivided heart, and the love that binds the Three Persons. Poverty conveys that gift of self that the three Divine Persons make to One Another. Obedience demonstrates the liberating beauty of Christ's dependence that is not servile, but filial, reflecting the harmony of the Trinity. These three vows unite the perpetually professed religious forever to the Triune God.
In the profoundly ecclesial act of perpetual profession, the Sister consecrates herself to Christ in a solemn, public ceremony, since it is the sign of the indissoluble union of Christ with the Church, His spouse.
In perpetual profession each Sister brings to perfection the full gift of herself as a sacrifice offered to God, and her whole existence becomes a continuous worship of God in love. To Jesus, my heart, my all forever.
To Jesus, my heart, my all forever.
Since the purpose of consecrated life is conformity to the Lord Jesus in this gift of self in a response of love, the Marian Sisters strive to develop this principal objective of formation: a path of gradual identification with the attitude of Christ towards the Father.
Lifelong formation involves the whole sister in all the aspects of personality, behavior and intentions. It provides a human, cultural, spiritual and apostolic preparation while concentrating on the harmonious integration of all its aspects.