Religious formation is a lifelong process. During this time, we make, sustain and nurture our commitment to God, the Church and the Felician Congregation. It is a process of continual renewal and conversion of heart, mind and spirit — fostering personal growth, forging an ever-deepening spirituality and affirming our vocation call as disciples of Jesus and faithful daughters of Blessed Mary Angela.
Initial Formation is a 9-year period
consisting of several formative stages:
Inquirers are women who are seriously discerning if God is calling them to religious life. During this stage, women become acquainted with two important elements of consecrated life: prayer and community. They also learn about our models of Gospel living: Blessed Mary Angela, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Clare and Saint Felix of Cantalice.
6 months – 2 years
After spending some time discerning, a woman interested in living life as a Felician Sister can submit a formal request for candidacy. This formal request is the beginning of a journey toward life as a Felician Sister. Her acceptance as a candidate is an invitation to join us in prayer, ministry and conversation. A candidate typically continues to live in her own home, continuing to participate in her chosen profession or job, volunteer service and Catholic faith.
1 – 2 years
The postulancy is a transitional period of formation for a candidate to experience living with us in community. Under the guidance of the director of postulants, a woman resides in a formation house and travels throughout the province, getting to know the sisters and their ministries. She learns about community by living a common life with the sisters.
Each postulant takes part in a year-long course of study, with courses including Felician spirituality, faith and spiritual development, community life and the history of the Felician congregation. Postulants also begin to serve in a variety of Felician ministries.
After successful completion of the postulancy, a woman can be admitted to the novitiate, a period of formation rooted in daily prayer and the Eucharist. The novitiate is a time of discernment and development that is unique to each woman, blending classroom study, outreach ministry and personal growth. Novices also have opportunities to meet and interact with men and women in other religious communities who are also in formation.
Upon entrance to the novitiate, a woman is given her religious name and the title “Sister.” Each novice also chooses to wear either the Felician religious habit with the traditional white veil of the novitiate or the modified religious habit with no veil. Novices reside in a formation house under the guidance of the director of novices.
The first year of the novitiate, known as the Canonical Year, is a contemplative time. Each woman focuses on coursework, prayer, reflection and a deepening of her relationship with God, community and self. In the second year, a novice continues her classroom study, especially the study of vowed life. She also experiences community and ministerial life by going outside of the novitiate to live and serve in Felician communities across the province.
Annual Profession of Vows
1 year (renewable for 6 years)
At the end of the two-year novitiate, each sister publicly professes the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience for the first time, before God and the Felician community. During the time of temporary profession, a sister professes her vows for a period of one year, to be renewed each year for 6 years. During this time, the sister will have the opportunity to live in several different Felician communities.
Perpetual Profession of Vows
After a period of annual profession, a Felician Sister publicly professes perpetual vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. During a special Eucharistic liturgy, friends, family and members of the Felician community gather with the sister to witness and celebrate her profession of perpetual vows. Perpetual profession is a sacred commitment to dedicate the rest of her life in service to God and the Church as a Felician Sister.
The call to religious life is one of continuous conversion of heart, mind and spirit based on an open and loving response to the will of God. Ongoing spiritual, ministerial and personal formation continues throughout the course of our lives as consecrated women religious.