Answers to some common questions about becoming a Sister of Providence.
How long does it take to become a Sister of Providence?
The time frame of the entire process lasts from seven to 10 years, based on individual circumstances and needs.
It begins with an initial application process that will take several months as the applicant and the congregation get to know each other.
The applicant and the congregation decide on an appropriate time to begin the live-in phase of the “pre-novitiate.” This phase, which lasts about a year, involves living with a group of Sisters of Providence, sharing in prayers, Eucharist, recreation and community meetings.
Next is a two-year “novitiate” phase, which is a time of preparation for vowed commitment. Congregational guidelines help everyone — novice, co-discerner and director of education — establish a personal program that allows one to deepen her relationship with God. While living the vowed life within community, the applicant studies the history, charism and constitutions of the Congregation.
At the end of the novitiate the novice may choose, if accepted by the congregation, to profess first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These vows are renewed over a period of three to six years, after which time the Sister may choose to ask to make perpetual vows as a Sister of Providence.
What happens after I profess my first vows?
You share fully in the life and apostolic works of the congregation, engaging in a ministry according to your qualifications and aptitudes, with the support of your local community and your co-discerner.
You take personal responsibility for your physical, emotional and spiritual growth, while balancing work, prayer, exercise, rest and play.
These are years of mutual discernment for you and the congregation, seeking evidence of stability in your relationship with God, in your ability to live community life, and in your continued growth and human development.
Are there any age restrictions?
Many of the women who apply have completed their post-secondary education and some may have spent several years in the workforce. Most are in their 20s or 30s, but several apply in their early 40s. Applicants over the age of 50 are not generally considered.
What do I do to begin the application process?
You must be in regular contact with the vocation director and a spiritual director before you can apply for membership in the congregation. This contact helps you and the Sisters of Providence get to know each other. You and the vocation director mutually decide when it is time for you to begin the application process.
What would I do as a Sister of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul?
As a Sister of Providence, you would be called to share your individual giftedness by being a prophetic leader in our Church and in society, through the promotion of structures and relationships of equality and mutuality, and through attitudes and actions for justice and peace. To empower others, especially the poor and oppressed, you might find yourself involved in one or more of the following ministries: health care, education, social services, missions, counselling, prison work or retreat and parish work.
What if I decide it’s not for me?
You are free to leave any time during any phase.