The Formation in the Congregation of the
  Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres
"Stage 1: Getting-To-Know Stage

This is the time where our congregation provides a monthly recollection and other spiritual, ‘cultural’ activities and exposures to  a candidate who is interested to join our way of life.

During this stage, the candidate will be given opportunities to come and see our way of life. Any sister of our congregation is a promoter of vocation.  You can approach any of them. If you do not know any sister of our congregation, you can search our database for information how to reach us.

From here, you will be led to pray and will be guided on the process of how to see the hand of God in your life.

A lived faith life and a happy  and generous disposition to serve the underprivileged are the very important factors that the candidate must look into her way of life before she applies for the next stage, the Aspirancy.

Stage 2:  Aspirancy

In the Aspirancy period, the candidate is gradually introduced to our congregation. She will be given opportunities to learn our way of life, how to pray and  how to do things  the SPC way.

The Aspirant is gradually ushered into  a new ‘culture’ where she will learn to integrate herself into and develop the disposition and the ability to live with others in sharing and generosity, develop her capacity and human qualities for uprightness, affective equilibrium, aptitude for self-giving and dedication, a disposition for service to the poor and the attraction towards the Congregation and its apostolate and a certain maturity to be able to commit herself to follow Christ and to persevere in the chosen path.

Rite: Entrance to the Postulancy is a private matter.  The family bringing in theyoung girl may be invited to join the prayer of the community for the new postulant.


Stage 3: Postulancy

The Postulancy is the start of the formal religious formation of any candidate aspiring to become a Sister of St. Paul of Chartres.

The aim of the Postulancy is to initiate the candidate into the lifestyle and work of the Congregation, to examine her aptitudes and motivations, and to prepare her for the next stage of formation, the Novitiate.

This lasts at least six months and at most one year, she will be given  fundamentals of Christian Doctrine so as to  help her deepen her prayer life. Study of the history of the Congregation initiates her into the life of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres.

Here, a progressive formation to separation from the world is to be undertaken in the Postulancy. An integral human formation is indispensable for a well-balanced religious life. Uprightness, integrity, loyalty, work and a well-ordered life are values that will be developed.

1st  Rite:  After 3 or 4 months, a crucifix is given to the Postulant, this is an occasion for a recollection and a short celebration within the Postulancy.

2nd Rite: Admission to the Novitiate takes place during a community celebration outside the Mass.

Stage 4: Novitiate

Over the next two years, the novice spends much time in study, prayer, and reflection to prepare for her profession of vows. This is the first stage of religious life. It is marked by the reception of the holy habit and a white veil. She will also be addressed Sister.

The aim of the novitiate is formation in religious life: conversion of heart and growth in Christ.  From the time of her entrance into the novitiate, the novice follows Christ in the Gospel.  She gradually discovers the demands of her vocation and the meaning of her consecration.  Open to the invitation of the Spirit, she learns to encounter Christ Jesus in Sacred Scriptures, prayer, the Eucharist, community and in all events.

She likewise discovers the meaning of the mission of a Sister of St. Paul in the history and the life of the Congregation and also in the apostolic contacts and activities which are the object of  teamwork and research in community (cf CCL 652)

Through courses in theology and Scriptures, participation in the liturgy, study of the Book of Life, and a deeper knowledge of the spiritual life, the novice progresses gradually toward her first commitment.

The Novitiate is an initial guided experience of religious life.  Its fundamental aim is growth in union with and configuration to Christ.

The main thrust is: attachment to Jesus Christ and in him to the Father - a to the one thing necessary - through a love of intimacy, resemblance and service; an attachment that would progressively encompass the whole being and motivate all actions. (CC 1986,p.37)

Proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ is expressed in charity which has its source in God who sends us to our brothers and sisters so as to manifest to them, in a concrete manner,  His tenderness and goodness. (CA 1983, p17)

Rite: The ceremony of First Profession is within the Mass; it is solemn yet simple.  First profession marks the entrance of the novice into the Congregation.  For this reason, the Sisters of the Province or District are to be present at the ceremony, to welcome the young Sister.

Stage 5: Juniorate

Formation does not end with temporary profession.  During her years in the Juniorate, the young religious is given help to unify her life.  She learns by experience to combine love of God with apostolic zeal, sense of personal responsibility with obedience, duty of state with universal charity, prayer with life.  She gradually assumes responsibility for own formation.

After the first profession, the formation of the young religious is continued in the local community with the help of the Superior and the members of the community. 

The Juniorate normally covers a period of 5 years. The first year after Novitiate will allow an experience in a local community, in a milieu of apostolic work.  The young Sister will patiently set out to make a unity of prayer and apostolate in her life.  In a concrete, way she will live the community and apostolic life of the Congregation.

Rite:  The ceremony of perpetual profession will be carefully prepared.  It takes place, in a solemn way, within the Eucharistic celebration.

In the course of the ceremony, as in first profession, the place held by Congregation is to be clearly shown.  It devolves upon the Provincial or District Superior to receive the vows.

After the profession, the Sisters is welcomed by the Provincial or District Superior and by the members of the Council.
Continuous Formation

"Life is a long experience of the fidelity of God to which corresponds a desire for greater personal fidelity. It is the work of grace in the human heart.

A period of recollection should accompany each stage of our life.  This pause is a help toward greater awareness of the exigencies of the love of God and fellowmen in view of a more generous response."
(BL 63)

Spiritual Renewal.

The outstanding moments of renewal in the Congregation are those prescribed in the Book of Life:  prior to first profession, the time of perpetual profession, five years after perpetual vows.  A spiritual renewal for four months --- or two months when one cannot do more ---bring together the Sisters ten years after their perpetual vows. (cf. BL 63)

The events celebrated in the Province and in the Congregation --- jubilees, professions, feasts --- bring about a spiritual renewal.  These events promote unity and strengthen love for the Congregation.

The missionaries who periodically return to their Provinces of origin ought to be able to profit from a spiritual renewal, as well as from a theological and professional updating.
Final Stage

In the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, one cannot speak of retirement because all the Sisters continue to live their mission as apostolic religious up to their supreme act of obedience.  The witness of the senior Sisters who age serenely is of utmost importance for the Congregation and for its apostolic influence.

In the Congregation, there is no difference between the Sisters who work and those who have had to cease from their external activities.  The person is worth more than what she does.  Nothing is considered small when offered for the Kingdom of Heaven, and each Sister continues on her  part the mission of Jesus, in health as in sickness, in strength as in weariness.

Our whole life is straining towards the living God;  death is therefore a normal path.  It is the moment of encounter with Christ and transition to the Father.  Our consecration is lived to the end and  the Community helps each of its members till there.

The Community will pray for the sick Sister, and with her, a prayer full of hope addressed to the risen Christ.  The patient will be invited to renew her vows while making the offering of her life to God.  She will, above all, be invited to trust, to surrender and also to give thanks and to praise.

The death of a religious is always a grace for the Community because it brings her companions face to face with the essential.
(CC 1986, pp.89-93)
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