Formation in process
STAGES OF FORMATION
The first stage in religious formation for the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate is called Postulancy.
This is divided into two periods: aspirancy and the proper postulancy.
Aspirancy is the initial stage for the young lady who enters and normally lasts one year but can be lengthened or shortened depending on the spiritual and moral maturity of each individual soul, as well as the desire the young lady has to consecrate herself to the Lord, together with the decision of the Mistress of Postulants.
Postulancy normally lasts one year but can also be lengthened according to the need of each individual soul as evaluated by the Mistress of Postulants.
Novitiate normally lasts one year but can also be extended to but not exceeding two years.
First Profession of temporary vows follows the year of novitiate.
The renewal of temporary vows occurs each year and normally can last from six to nine years, never exceeding nine years, however, as according to Canon Law, and with the possibility of less than six years should the Mother General decide so along with her Counsel members.
Solemn Profession occurs anywhere between six and nine years of temporary profession, save the due exceptions as stated in the preceding paragraph.
CONTINUAL MARIAN FORMATION
It is important to note that the need to develop a strong relationship with Our Lady through prayer and study and is fostered from the first stages of formation. It is fundamental for our life of total consecration without limits to the Immaculate, especially for those who are preparing to take the Marian Vow when they will profess their vows. This formation, however, is to be continued throughout the whole religious life of each sister and will never cease until each one is safe in heaven!
This means that while a young lady may not necessarily have formerly developed a strong relationship with Our Lady before entering the religious life, she will be aided with classes, conferences, meditations and spiritual readings which will help facilitate her along the path to true and total consecration to the Immaculate without limits. It is a continual growing process so one need not be discouraged if she feels that perhaps at present she may not have yet developed this intimate relationship with Mary Most Holy. Everyone enters at different spiritual levels but the Immaculate will work with each one, as long as she has the good will to learn and be formed according to Mary’s Maternal and Immaculate Heart.
Of course, if the reader is discerning that perhaps she is called to live this particular way of life of total consecration to the Immaculate without limits, it would be a good idea to at least try and start reading some of the “classics” on Mariology. Some good books to begin with are “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort; “Aim Higher” and “Will to Love,” both writings of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe translated into English. There is also the highly recommended book “True Devotion to Our Lady” by Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, FI. One can easily go online to marymediatrix.com and find these excellent Marian books!
Sister Maria Cristiana
Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate
House of the Immaculate
4 Brownhill Road, Catford
London SE6 2EJ
tel: +44 (20) 8697 0601
tel – bookstore: +44 (20) 3441 8240