As an inquirer, you will be provided informal opportunities to assist you in your discernment of call to religious life and in particular to the Sisters of St. Agnes. You will be invited:
- to develop a relationship with vocation discernment minister and members of CSA
- to attend CSA celebrations, prayer experiences, meals, events, and discussions
- to visit CSA ministry sites
- to become familiar with reading materials that introduce you to CSA founders, history, mission, charism, and ministries
Upon mutual discernment between you and the vocation discernment minister, you enter the phase, Serious Discerner. This phase normally has a timeline of 8-24 months depending on your discernment needs. This phase involves a more in-depth process and includes the following. You will:
- meet monthly with the vocation discernment minister
- be encouraged to have a spiritual director and further develop your prayer life
- participate in a formal discernment interview
- write your autobiography
- provide personal data through forms, assessments, and letters of recommendation when appropriate
- receive a sister companion and a local community for support, prayer and deepening experiences of CSA community, and ministry.
- continue to discern through readings and other materials on religious life
- be invited to be involved with CSA through informal gatherings, celebrations, liturgies, prayer and/or discussion groups whenever possible
Through mutual discernment, you may apply for entrance into the formation process with guidance from the vocation discernment minister. Your application and materials are submitted for review by the CSA Admissions Advisory Board. With further review by the General Council, and upon acceptance, you will then enter the formal phase of membership called Pre-Novitiate.
This phase of initial formation an opportunity to enjoy the hospitality and friendship of CSA while living in community and actively participating in the everyday life of a Sister of St. Agnes. This phases is ordinarily 1-2 years depending on your discernment needs.
During this time you:
- live in a CSA local community
- meet regularly with your sister companion
- remain financially independent of the congregation
- engage in a ministry or in studies for ministry preparation
The first year novitiate is called the canonical year in which you are free of ministry and enter into extensive study, reflection, and prayer.
- during this period you are guided to seek an ever greater self-knowledge, insight, and an awareness of the presence of God.
- through regular instructions, you prepare for a life of union with Christ Jesus through the study of theology, vows, community life, CSA history, and religious life.
- the second year of the novitiate provides further study, while engaging in part-time or full time ministry. If needed, further professional preparation for ministry may take place during this time.
- through further discernment and inner conversion of heart, this gifted time culminates with the profession of first vows in the congregation.
This period of 3-6 years is designed for deepening your vowed commitment as a Sister of St. Agnes while actively participating in community life, full-time ministry, and on-going formation. Vows are renewed while you continue to grow and integrate the way of life as a woman religious. Upon mutual discernment, you then enter into the process to request perpetual vows for life-long commitment as a Sister of St. Agnes.