Stages on the way to becoming an RSCJ...
Everyone's life story is different. Before a decision is made about joining a religious order there is usually a period of enquiry, an opportunity for both you and the Society of the Sacred Heart to get to know each other. An RSCJ sister will accompany you and will help you discover where God might be leading you on this journey.
In this time you would be encouraged to have regular contact with RSCJ communities so that you learn more about our lifestyle, and our way of living community and our ministries. It is also an opportunity to ask questions and hear the faith stories of the many different types of women who have become RSCJ in England and Wales.
When you are ready to make the next step and if it seems right to go ahead you apply to become a candidate.
What is a candidate?
As a candidate you continue your normal life, job, study, friends and independence.
But you are invited to live alongside an RSCJ community to take a closer look at our life so we can get to know you a little better.
During this time which can last between 6-12 months, you will have regular contact with an RSCJ who will guide you and will have an opportunity to experience our lifestyle, spirituality and ministries.
At the end of this time you are invited to reflect on the experience with the Society. If you wish and if it still seems right to you and the Society to deepen your commitment to the congregation, then you apply to become a novice.
What is a novice?
Being a novice enables you to have time and space to help make the serious decisions about whether you are called to religious life and this congregation.
It is a formal period of two years where you will be given the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the spirit, history and life of the Society.
In the first year you will focus on your own inner faith journey and relationship with God. You will be encouraged and helped to deepen your life of prayer.
In the second year the emphasis is more on ministry and social outreach. This is partly to help you identify your own future ministry or need for further studies.
We are an international congregation and so we ask new members to study one of the Society's languages, usually Spanish. There are opportunities to meet annually with novices from our other European provinces as well as regular contact with novices of other congregations in this country.
At the end of two years if you wish to deepen your commitment to the Society and it is appropriate, then you can ask to make first vows for a period of six years. We call this the first profession and it marks the beginning of the next stage of your journey which we call being a Professed of Temporary Vows.
What is a Professed of Temporary Vows?
You will live in an ordinary community as a committed member of the group and enter into a full time ministry which makes best use of your gifts, education and experience. At some point in this time you may be given opportunities for further studies to help with your own professional development.
Throughout this time you are supported and guided by an RSCJ responsible for people at this stage of their religious life.
Towards the end of this stage which can last between 6-9 years, if you feel you want to make a life commitment to the Society and in consultation with those responsible for your training, you may ask to make final vows. As part of the preparation for final vows you will be invited to spend a short time in another province of the Society, usually on the developing world.
This international experience which may include language study and ministry among the poor and marginalised gives RSCJ an insight into what it means to be a member of an international religious congregation.
This stage as a Professed of Temporary Vows is completed by a five month period of study in Rome with other young professed in the Society from around the world who are also preparing for final vows. Final vows (Final profession) are made together in Rome or if preferred in a person's home province. The newly professed are then usually missioned back to work in their home provinces.
The journey doesn't end there...!
The best way to find out about life as a Sister of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) is to meet and talk to one of us. We are happy to meet and answer any of your questions and if it helps it may be possible to visit our communities for a chat, times of prayer or for a meal. This contact person may also help provide materials and information that give a fuller picture of who we are and what we do.
Barbara Sweeney RSCJ
Tel: 0191 272 3000
or contact us via our Contact Form
How do I know that this is the right order for me? Click here to read stories from RSCJ
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