Information on Monastic Immersion Experience
As we listen to the Holy Spirit in the signs of the times, we discern a hunger for prayer and community among contemporary Christians. We know, too, that statistically the average person pursues several distinct directions in a lifetime. Commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is paramount in the lives of many lay persons. The Visitation Sisters of Minneapolis are offering an opportunity for an in depth experience of our monastic way of life in an urban setting. The Monastic Immersion Experience will allow participants to ‘try on’ monastic customs/values; nurture their desire for prayer and community; and keep the Salesian charism fresh and alive.
First and foremost, a prospective participant must have a desire for and passion to be a part of a monastic community. She must be ready and able to enter into the prayer and ministries and life of the community. This will require that she be able to dedicate the time needed to function as a member of the community. The heart of the prospective participant must include a willingness to grow in Salesian spirituality as well as being open to be a prayerful presence with our neighbors. Prospective participants can come from any Christian faith tradition.
Key descriptors of the Monastic Immersion Experience:
Monastic Immersion Experience participants will be women who will be required to commit to sharing the monastic life of the Visitation Sisters for a period of six to twelve months. Each participant will be assigned a Sister who will act as her mentor. There will be ongoing evaluation between the participant and her mentor of the advisability of the participant continuing on with the community. After six months the whole community and the participant will evaluate the participant’s experience.
After living with the community for two weeks each participant will be invited to make a simple promise, in the presence of the community, to live the monastic life for six months. Each participant is expected to engage in 20 hours of ministry activity per week and be fully involved in household and community life responsibilities. The maximum number of participants the community will accept is three. The community will offer room and board to the participants and a stipend of $50 per month.
1. Any woman interested in participating in the Monastic Immersion Experience must first complete and submit the full application form and the medical history form. References from three persons using the reference form provided must also be received for the application process to continue. Instructions on the application process are contained in the full application form.
2. Screening will be done via personal evaluation. This will require getting to know the prospective participant over time. It is envisioned that a participant will engage in two weekend visits and a weeklong visit before being considered for the Monastic Immersion Experience. These visits will afford the opportunity for the Visitation Sister to get to know the prospective participants and for the participants to learn about the community. The visits will be structured to hold one or more sessions where the Sisters can share their stories and the nature of vowed life. By the same token the prospective participant will be invited to share her story.
3. The three persons who make recommendations for an applicant will be personally contacted and interviewed about the prospective participant.
4. Each prospective participant will be asked to provide three types of information about their history: an FBI criminal background check; a check of their credit; and a medical exam.