Exploring a Vocation with the Visitation Sisters of Minneapolis
The process of becoming a Visitation Sister is tailored to the individual as she moves through the discernment process with the help of the vocation director and a spiritual director.
The Sisters are always available for initial contact and the process continues with the help of the vocation director through the stages outlined here. Inquiry is a time when you are in regular communication with the sisters through any of several avenues; calls, e-mails, visits, prayer with the Sisters, particiation in the discernment series, retreats, etc. You get to know the community and become acquainted with the spirituality, spirit and mission. As part of the inquiry stage, we invite you to live among us for three months. You may then want to make application for entrance into the community.
This is a six- to nine month period of living simply within the monastic community and sharing the life of prayer, community and ministry, while learning more about Salesian Spirituality. That learning happens through living with the sisters and becoming more acquainted with our founders Saints Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal .
Novitiate is a two-year period which allows for further discernment and reflection. We receive women where they are, recognizing that each comes with her own educational background, experience in life, and therefore the emphasis in the novitiate may vary. Usually during the first (canonical) year, you study the theology of religious life, scripture and Visitation Spirituality. The second year, you study the meaning of the vows and how they can express your personal relationship with Jesus. In addition, you learn about the history of the Order of the Visitation, and have a more concentrated study, reading the writings of our founders. As a novice you strive to integrate the Visitation way of life with your own call, gifts and spiritual core. With this step you receive a Visitation medal to wear as a sign of your belonging.
First Profession is a three-year period of living the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience in community as preparation for permanent commitment. These three vows flow out of our Founders original desire for us to take only one vow: the vow of love. With this step, you receive the Visitation cross and wear it as the sign of your belonging as a Visitation Sister. At this stage of formation there is study in the areas most suitable for you and continued study of the writings particular to the Order. Areas of spiritual and human development and topics related to the social justice teachings of the Church, including care for the earth, are pursued. During this time you participate more intensely in the ministries of the community.
After completing the time of temporary vows you profess life vows, a public, permanent commitment to seek God according to the Gospel and the Constitutions of the Visitation Order. Education and ministry continue as a lifelong journey with the community as you deepen in your capacity for commitment.
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