FMSJ Formation ProgrammeThere are usually five stages involved in formation of the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph: aspirant, prenovitiate candidate, novice ( 2 year novitiate), temporary profession and final profession.
We can describe these various stages in the following way:
ASPIRANT or CANDIDATE:
During this stage a woman ( normally between the ages of 20 – 45) who is interested in joining the FMSJ’s is looking for direction in her life’s journey. She is given the opportunity to meet with some of the Sisters and hear their stories. During this time she maintains her current life style but has regular contact with the Formation Personnel.
PRE NOVITIATE STAGE
This is the stage of initial formation when she is introduced to the life of our Congregation, the life of our Mother Foundress and the Prayer of the Church. This is also a time for her to deepen her relationship with God. The individual may continue in her own home, with her own work or study and have contact with a member of the Formation personnel.
Novices withdraw from much external activity in order to have time and space to deepen their commitment to Christ. While continuing their personal and spiritual development, novices study our FMSJ way of life, our history, charism, the vows, Franciscan spirituality and our missionary vocation. It is also a time of getting to know the Person of Christ and his love for all people and creation.
NOVICES 2ND YEAR:
In the 2nd year of the novitiate the novices are sent out to different communities within the congregation for various lengths of time (depending on the country) for the apostolic period. This experience helps them to understand the type of ministry that our sisters are engaged in and gives them a concrete opportunity to serve the poor.
At the end of the 2 years the novice freely commits herself to following Christ by profession the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.
During this stage the Sister identifies more with the Charism and the Spirituality of the Congregation as a member of a local community. She will live out the Commitment she has made and endeavour to deepen her understanding of it. The Sister is accompanied in a special way on life’s journey by community members and is supported by the Congregation as she discovers her unique call to ministry in Religious Life. The Temporary Professed Sister may be asked to spend some of this stage of formation outside of her cultural area.
After final profession, ongoing growth and development is the responsibility of the Sister herself who is encouraged, in consultation with her Community leader and Congregation leader to use opportunities which arise for personal, spiritual, intellectual and apostolic renewal, and recognising that the process of becoming a FMSJ is a life long journey.