The Journey To Becoming a Sister
There is a long path through deciding whether monasticism is right for you, but we’re here to help.
Taking The First Step
If you are interested in our community, we invite you to contact us. After your initial contact with the Vocation Director , you will receive additional information about our community, and we suggest that you visit with us to experience first hand the charism and special gifts of the community.
We especially recommend experiencing monastic life in a “Come and See” environment. We schedule convenient weekend appoinments for you to come and find out about the monastic life first hand by contacting the Vocation Director. For a deeper, more intense experience, we also offer the Observership Program. Activity in these programs will provide you the opportunity to meet us and become acquainted with the daily living of a monastic life in our community. You will also participate in discussions with others in discernment and meet with the sisters to learn more about the Benedictine life here at St. Scholastica Monastery.
After going back home and spending time in prayer and listening to God, you are invited to attend the “Summer Monastic Experience.” This is our summer discernment retreat, free to women ages 18-45. By participating in prayer, recreation, dialogue, and work in the monastery, you will learn about different aspects of our charism. Give yourself the opportunity to reflect with other participants on the meaning of discernment, and to share stories. There is always time for quiet reflection, prayer, discussion and recreation.
If you are interested in our community, you are invited to contact us and arrange a visit. We cordially invite you to come and spend time with us, learning what it means to live the monastic life, and we hope you will accept our invitation into experiencing the life of a Benedictine sister.
The next step is to request affiliation with the community. In this phase you are encouraged to continue visiting us and to keep in regular contact with the vocation director.
When the time feels right for both you and the community, the interview process begins. The interview process consists of having in-depth interviews with the vocation director and other members of the vocation team. References and writing a personal autobiography follow. During the affiliation, you maintain your own living arrangements and job, but you are invited to spend as much time as possible with the community.
One of the Sisters will be assigned as your prayer partner. She commits herself to remember you daily in prayer, and we encourage you to pray for her as well. The Sister prayer partner is an additional personal contact, but regular contact with the vocation director is maintained so that she can support and guide you during your discernment process. We hope that you will feel the support of the community as you continue to discern the direction in which God is leading you.
Upon completion of the interviews and with the recommendation of the vocation team, an invitation is extended for entrance into the community as a postulant. The affiliate moves into the Formation Building, and begins living the monastic life. Postulants attend classes on various aspects of monastic life: The Rule of St. Benedict, Scripture, monastic spirituality and history, community history, and many other courses geared to provide the solid foundation necessary for living in a monastic community. The postulants also spend a few hours each day working at assigned duties and tasks within the monastery. The formation director meets frequently with each postulant, and there are occasional meetings with the Prioress.
The postulancy period is a time of getting to know more fully all the Sisters, experiencing the charism of the community, growth in prayer life, and development of discernment skills. During this time the community is also in discernment regarding your living the monastic life with them.
In June, after successfully completing the postulancy, a two year novitiate program begins. During these years, the novice continues her work and studies, and continues to seek God’s will in prayer and discernment. By attending and participating in Federation and area workshops, retreats and conferences, St. Scholastica novices meet women in formation from other monastic communities. At the end of this two year period, novices go before the community to request admission to Temporary Profession.
During Evening Praise the novice promises obedience, stability and fidelity to the monastic way of life. A silver community pin is presented as a sign of the novice’s commitment. During temporary profession, which lasts at least three years, the new sister works in a ministry compatible with her talents and training. Educational possibilities exist, and she spends time discerning her future commitment and ministry.
Following completion of temporary profession, the sister again addresses the community. This time she requests admission to perpetual profession. At this ceremony, during a Mass, she promises to spend the rest of her life living out her monastic profession within the community of St. Scholastica. A gold ring is presented as a sign of this commitment.
The sister is now a full member of the community. She will be officially commissioned to ministry in the monastery, ministry on a mission location, or possibly asked to further her education in a field she and the community agree upon.
The new fully professed sister continues to listen to God in all areas of her life, along with all her sisters in community.