Formation is a lifelong process as the nun continues her daily and hourly response to the call of Christ, her Bridegroom. The six years of initial formation prepares the young woman for a life consecrated to God.
Initial formation comprises three stages:
Postulancy – one full year
Noviceship – one to two years
Juniorate (simple temporary vows) – three years
After entering the monastery, the postulant is introduced to the daily schedule, customs and the spirituality of the Poor Clare way of life. She spends this year in prayerful discernment, seeking to discover if she is truly being called to the joyous and wholehearted service of God and her sisters in community.
The noviceship begins when the postulant is clothed in the religious habit, white veil and cord. During the private ceremony she also receives her religious name. This opens upon a time for the novice to intensify her personal fidelity and love of Christ, growing in her understanding of Poor Clare Gospel living.
During the Mass of Religious Profession the novice pronounces her vows for a period of three years and receives the black veil and knotted cord. Having committed herself to following Christ more closely, the junior sister now begins to share more fully in the activities of the community.
This is a time of preparation for being consecrated to God by solemn vows, when she will offer herself completely and unreservedly to her Divine Spouse for a lifetime. When the time of temporary vows is completed, the sister makes her solemn profession. The ring of espousals and crown of thorns she receives during Mass signify her union with Christ Crucified. She is united to God and forever consecrated to Him by this outstanding act of love.