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The Formation Process

A woman who makes a request to enter the formation program of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate will be accompanied by a member of the formation team during each phase of her journey.  The team assists the individual as she continues to discern her call to vowed religious life and coordinates the four phases of the formation process.

The Affiliate Phase

A time of mutual discernment lasting six months or longer, if necessary.  The affiliate ordinarily lives outside the congregation and continues her work or study.  She is invited to participate in the prayer and other activities of the community on a mutually agreed schedule.

The Pre-Novitiate Phase

When an affiliate decides to continue her discernment as a pre-novice, she is invited to live in the Formation Community house.  She continues her work or study and remains financially independent.  She participates in all community activities.  This phase lasts from six months to two years.

The Novitiate Phase

The novitiate phase is a time of formal initiation into religious life.  It is a period of more intense prayer and discernment, of studying the mission and charism of the Congregation, the religious vows and other aspects of religious life.

The Novitiate phase lasts two years.  The first year, referred to as the canonical year, focuses on spiritual growth and integration into the life of the Congregation.  During the second year of novitiate there is more involvement in ministry.

Temporary Profession Phase

Upon completion of the novitiate, the woman in formation becomes a member of the Congregation by making first vows of consecrated celibacy, poverty and obedience.  The period of temporary profession extends from three to six years.

Sister Kathleen’s Profession of Vows Liturgy

How do you nurture your need for ongoing formation, growth and development?

Formation Team
Formation Team


Sister Matilda, Formation Director in Zambia
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