Becoming a sister of the Congregation of Jesus (CJ) starts with getting to know us through visiting our communities. If a woman decides she wants to explore life as a sister, she may be encouraged to discern God’s call further through conversation with one of our vocations team. If it seems right, she may apply to become a candidate.
Candidacy is an informal time of learning more about the community, Mary Ward, and the Congregation of Jesus. This period lasts as long as seems suitable, and is different for each person.
The next stage of formation, postulancy, involves living in a CJ community for between 6 and 12 months. It provides an opportunity for extended experience of community life, during which the postulant and the members of the CJ will get to know one another better.
Novitiate, the next step, lasts for two years, and it focuses on deepening one’s relationship to God and discerning the way forward with the novice director. Exploring different ways of praying, participating in the Eucharist, making of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius in a 30 day retreat, and varied experiences of apostolic work help to make clearer how and where God is leading. First vows are taken at the end of the novitiate. Then follows a period of at least six years of temporary profession during which sisters may undertake further training and study according to their needs, and will spend time in apostolic ministry and getting to know the worldwide Congregation of Jesus. A further period of intense spiritual reflection and apostolic training, known as the ‘Tertianship’, is offered before final vows, with a renewal year after some ten years in full-time ministry.
‘Cherish God’s vocation in you. Let it be constant, efficacious and loving.’
The centre of our life is mission, the apostolic expression of our intimate relationship with God and our sense of call. Each woman brings her own gifts and aptitudes to the Congregation. In different periods of formation, the focus of this mission may be prayer and reflection, study or apostolic work, but all of it is aimed towards the building of God’s kingdom and personal growth in faith.