Stages of Formation

Discernment: During the time of discernment, a woman will speak with the formation directress and the abbess either by telephone or a visit to the parlor. This can be followed by a “live-in” experience for a weekend, one week or a month. The experience allows a woman to live our daily life; our work, our prayer and our community living.

Postulant: When a woman enters our monastery, she is received into our life as a postulant.  She lives and participates in our daily life for about one year as she continues to discern her vocation.

Novice: After completing her postulant year, a woman may request to continue in our life as a novice. If the community agrees, she receives the holy habit of the order, a white veil and a cord without knots, as she has not yet made vows. The first year of the two year novitiate is usually a canonical year. During these two years, the novice has some classes and studies the writings of St. Clare and St. Francis, our constitutions, community life, prayer and any other areas of our faith that will deepen her knowledge spiritually.

Profession of First Vows/Simple Vows: At the conclusion of the novitiate, a sister may request she be allowed to make her First Vows of Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Enclosure. If the community feels she is ready to continue on her Poor Clare journey, she is accepted for profession.  This celebration is witnessed by her Sisters as well as her family and friends. She receives the black veil and the cord with 4 knots which represent the four vows she pronounces and promises to live. She makes these vows for one year and renews them each subsequent year on the anniversary date for at least 3 years. At that time, she may request the community consider her for Solemn Profession.

Solemn Profession in the Order of St. Clare: This is a total and serious commitment made for life to her Spouse, Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by our whole community and witnessed by the Sister’s family and friends. The Sister receives a crown of thorns and a crucifix ring, both signs of her solemn profession to her Spouse. Our community rejoices and celebrates the glorious occasion for three days.