“My Vows to the Lord I will Fulfill.”
There are several steps that the Religious travels through to better know and understand religious life and its commitment before taking Permanent Vows. In general these steps are called Aspirancy, Postulancy, Novitiate and Temporary Vows.
In this step the candidate begins to visit the Sisters. In general this is a time in which the Sisters come to know the aspirant and her background and she comes to know us and our way of life. Depending on her circumstances she may come and visit as often as possible for several days or weeks at a time.
Once a candidate has visited our Monastery and with the help of the Community discerns it good to proceed with entry, she begins the Postulancy. This is for a period of six months to one year in which she is gradually introduced into the practice of our observances. She is placed under the care of the Novice Mistress and begins Formation classes focused on prayer and the virtues.
After the Postulancy, she may be invited by the Community to enter the Novitiate which is for a full canonical year of intense prayer and formation. The postulant receives the Dominican Habit and Religious Name. Her veil is white in contrast to black signifying profession. She continues to better live and learn this way of life under the direction of the Novice Mistress with formation classes on Spirituality, Theology, our Rule and Constitutions, and the Vows.
After the Novitiate she may be invited by the Community to take Temporary Vows. After careful discernment and full participation in the life of the Community she is better able to understand the meaning of this life and the Vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience in accordance with Church teaching and the Community's Rule and Constitutions. Upon taking vows, the sister receives the black veil signifying that she has made her profession. After the end of a three year period of temporary profession she may be invited to make Permanent Vows.
Final Profession is made at the end of the three years of temporary profession. By our profession we dedicate ourselves to God following Christ in leading the evangelical life, so that our baptismal consecration may be more fully realized. By means of this profession we intend to assume the obligations of fulfilling the evangelical counsels, setting aside good things which without any doubt are to be highly valued, without detriment to the preeminence of the human person. Embracing Christ’s emptying of self we also share with Him in the life of the spirit. Thus, if we remain faithful we shall bear more evident witness in the Church to the good things of the heavenly kingdom.