NOVITIATE: ENTRY AND FORMATION
For those outside the life of a religious community, there is always the question mark about what makes one join. What does it entail? What does one have to do? There are many who feel drawn to a way of life that means service for others and a closer relationship with Christ; yet, there is diffidence because they do not know whether they will suit the life or whether the life will suit them. Amid the noise that surrounds us in the world today, it is sometimes hard to discern Godâ€™s voice.
To help you understand us better, we, like Jesus to His apostles, simply say, â€˜Come and Seeâ€™.
The Three Steps to Formation
Postulancy is a formative period – normally one year – in which the young person is helped to make a free and responsible choice of our way of life by accepting to enter the novitiate. The aim of this period of formation is:
To build up the candidateâ€™s human and Christian formation and culture with a thorough catechesis.
To test her vocation in the community environment.
To give her an opportunity to find out if this is the Congregation to which God is calling her.
To prepare her gradually to pass from the life of the world to a life in the religious Congregation.
For admission it is required that the candidate:
Has sufficient intellectual capacity to grasp the obligations of her calling and to acquire knowledge and skill necessary for the work of the apostolate.
Has completed at least the Higher Secondary education or its equivalent.
Has good physical and mental health.
Is not less than sixteen years of age.
Is baptized, confirmed and of free status.
At present, the Postulancy is located in Goa.
The novitiate is a time of decisive formation for the religious life. It offers the first lived-experience of life in the Institute. The essential elements of this period of formation are:
An introduction to Sacred Scripture which is central to the spiritual, doctrinal, liturgical and ascetical formation.
The study of the documents of the Magisterium of the Church.
A deeper catechesis.
The knowledge and observance of the Constitutions of the Poor Sisters of Our Lady.
An initiation into the living of the vows in deep union with God in prayer-life.
To strengthen unconditional love for Christ.
To foster the progressive and integral development of the human person.
To grow in the capacity for discernment and personal responsibility.
To become aware of the human and social conditions in Society.
To grow in the love of Mary.
The Novitiate is normally for a period of two years where for the first year the entire focus is on the religious formation. In the second year, the novice is examined with regard to her attitude towards the apostolic activity to which the Institute is committed and tests her perseverance in prayer and union with God.
The Novitiate is conducted at Ish Prabha, Andheri, Mumbai.
When the novice is ready to make her first vows, she enters the Juniorate: this represents the first experience of fidelity to the vows just taken and extends from first vows to perpetual profession. During this six year period, the vows are renewed annually.
The aim of the Juniorate is:
Preparation for final, deliberate and mature consecration of oneself to God for life, through spiritual, doctrinal training and living.
Living up to the spirit of the Institute by cultivating a childlike trust in Divine Providence in all the events of life.
Progressive initiation into the specific apostolate of the Institute according to our charism, as a response to the call of God and of the Church integrated with a continuous personal formation for life.
Juniors are assigned to various houses of the Institute, at the discretion of the Mother General and the Council, in order to be exposed to the nature and work of the Institute.
At the end of this period of intense spiritual, emotional and intellectual formation the candidate should be ready for admission to perpetual profession – there is no coercion for the candidate to take this step. On the contrary, the candidate is allowed to realize for herself that the religious state, to which she is committing herself deliberately for life, is for her a means of perfection and greater love rather than a burden too heavy to carry.
A candidate is free, at any given time, during the Postulancy, Novitiate and Juniorate, to leave if she so desires.
Please also see our Frequently Asked Questions which may help to a clearer understanding. You are also free to contact us at any time using the link from our website. We are happy to answer your questions.
Watch these videos of our nuns who have dedicated their lives to answering God’s call.
Mother Teresa took a keen interest to seek permission from the Archbishop of Mumbai to introduce this Lay Associates to the Congregation, as a result Sr.Norma Fernandes was given the charge of animating this group under the direction of Mother Teresa Pinto and her councilors. But God knows whatâ€™s best for our life in our journey with Him. Sr. Norma took ill for some time and could not continue with the proceedings. But God has a plan for our life unless and until we finish the race he holds onto us. It was a Miracle Sr. Norma recovered from her illness to continue his work that was entrusted to her. Therefore she together with the help of some of the parishioners from Chakala parish motivated individuals to join as Lay associates from different parishes in the Congregation of the Poor Sisters of Our Lady.
A report on the past 3 years of commitment of the Lay Companions can accessed by click on the link below.
I have been a Companion of the Poor Sisters of Our Lady for 3 years now and would like to share what exactly that means to me.
Initially I thought it would entail spending a lot more time in structured prayer the way â€˜Nunsâ€™ do in my perception, and while I joined of my own volition, I always thought to myself â€“ Iâ€™ll attend if I have time, itâ€™s not going to be a compulsion, Iâ€™m not going to feel bad if I miss out on some meetings / prayer sessions.
Gradually I realised that there was no compulsion to stay or pray. I was attending meetings and events because I wanted to. I have realised and appreciate the value of the realisation that prayer is praising God and centering oneâ€™s life around God and this makes it easier to manage day to day living. Starting oneâ€™s day, oneâ€™s work, oneâ€™s rest, a meetingâ€¦.anything, with a prayer offering; constantly acknowledging God in everything; evaluating oneâ€™s actions at the end of the day everyday with the aim of improvement – this is what amounts to making Jesus / God the fulcrum of oneâ€™s life. read more