Steps to Become a Catholic Sister
The first step is one of obtaining information, both for the candidate and FSPA, and seeking vocation direction. It includes communicating with an FSPA member or vocation minister by telephone, mail, or personal contact; attending a community living experience and being prayed for in the FSPA Adoration Chapel.
Membership is open to women who:
- desire a deeper relationship with God and a life of Gospel service,
- are generally 21-45 years old with at least one year of college or work experience,
- are active members in the Catholic Church,
- are free from marriage vows and responsibility for minor children,
- are physically and mentally healthy, and
- wish to live in community and to minister according to the FSPA mission.
A companion sister is appointed to help the candidate get to know religious life. They share prayer and personal and spiritual values, participate in community gatherings, and discern a call to FSPA community.
After the application process is completed, formal entrance takes in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It includes continuing to develop personal spirituality; learning FSPA history, traditions, and Franciscan spirituality and values; and working within and experiencing community life.
Novitiate (two years)
The novitiate phase is two years. During the canonical year, which can be either year one or two, the novice learns more about the Church, the community's constitution, the vows of celibacy, obedience, and poverty and spends time integrating Franciscan values. The apostolic year, again, either year one or two, is a time of continued study of the vows and integration into ministry.
Temporary Vows (six years)
During temporary vows, a sister lives her vows in the FSPA community and grows in a Franciscan way of life. Careful attention is given to balancing ministry, prayer, community life, and personal enrichment and preparing for permanent commitment.
After the preparation described above and mutual discernment with the FSPA community, a sister publicly affirms her commitment for life. After pronouncing her perpetual vows, she receives a ring, which identifies her as a full participant in the FSPA community for the rest of her life.