What is the Federation Novitiate?
Since 2000 the Federation has offered an eight-month program that meets all the canonical norms required for a novitiate in the Catholic Church. In 2018, the Federation Novitiate moved to a ten-month program.
The ten-month segment of the canonical novitiate provides a concentrated time to study the life, spirituality, and mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
During this period the novices deepen their relationship with God, experience the richness of the spiritual life of the Sisters of St Joseph, and engages in ongoing discernment to determine if religious life is what God is asking of her.
This year our novitiate program is in Rochester, New York. As the novitiate program begins we invite you to meet our five novices:
Although there is some variation among congregations, the basic process for women who feel called to vowed religious life is this:
Candidate — A year during which the woman lives with sisters in community to acquaint herself more fully with our life. She participates with sisters in prayer, communal life, meals, ministry, and participates in classes designed specifically to orient her to life in community.
Novitiate — Following candidacy the woman enters a one to two year novitiate. During these years she continues to discern through prayer and study if she is called to lived religious life. In particular, she deepens her understanding of Scripture and studies the constitution of that specific congregation, as well as the vows, charism, and spirituality. Often she does some volunteer service. Traditionally, the woman may use the title "Sister" once she begins the novitiate.
Temporary Profession — The woman professes the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. She lives and ministers as a professed sister, experiencing more of religious life and continuing to discern and integrate her identity as a woman religious. This period is generally no less than three years.
Perpetual Profession — Through a lifelong commitment to live the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, a sister dedicates herself to God, to unifying love in community and to serve a world in need.