What is a Vocation?
ON MY FINAL PROFESSION OF VOWS
“…my call consists in being born again from within to create.
More importantly, it is to welcome that inner space where the Breath invites me to be transformed by each person I meet every day.
in Cameroon: Sandrine Aimée Tsélikémé, SP, Sisters of Providence, Montreal
Vocation is a call from God to live a particular lifestyle commitment. This may be in the married state, single state, or a call to religious life.
Discerning a Call
When women are discerning a call to a particular community, in this case, one of the Women of Providence congregational members, they usually make contact with a Sister who is the Vocation Director. With this initial contact they may inquire about what it means to live the life of a Sister.
Learning about the Congregation and Religious Life
With further conversation between the Vocation Director and the inquirer, the woman may learn to know if this is a good fit for her. Inquirers are invited to visit, share prayer and meals with the Sisters, and, occasionally, may even spend a short time living with them.
Applying for Entrance
This inquiry stage differs in length of time with each congregation. It may last at least three months. If at that time the Inquirer and the community discern that the woman is ready to begin a formal process of becoming a Sister, then the application process is initiated and the woman seeks entrance into that particular congregation.
Formation is a continuous conversion of heart that involves the whole person in a lifelong process of change and growth. Its purpose is to aid in the continuing growth of the person in order to promote a deeper, fuller commitment to religious life.
The task of formation is threefold: reflection, discernment, and integration. Women who are called to religious life are encouraged to see the action of God in their lives and respond with an openness of heart to the various learning experiences they are given. It is the responsibility of each individual to respond in freedom to the daily call to grow. The process of formation is usually seen in four stages:
Pre-Novitiate Candidate is one who lives in community with Sisters and experiences the life more fully. Usually there is a Sister Mentor who provides guidance and support to the woman as she continues to discern God’s call in her life. This period of formation typically lasts six months to two years.
Novice Candidate is received into the novitiate where a more intense process of incorporation begins. In this period, under the guidance of the Formation Director, the novice would engage in prayer, a study of theology, Scripture, the vows, wholistic living, and the mission, charism, and history of that particular congregation. During this time the novice is usually given opportunities to learn about and experience various community ministries.
Temporary Professed Sister is one who has completed the novitiate process and together with the community has discerned that she is called to profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for three years. As a temporary professed Sister, she would spend three to six years integrating all she has learned as she experiences religious life in community, exploring whether this is the way she is called to live her life in the service of God and the people of God.
Perpetually Professed Sister is the final step in the initial incorporation process where the Sister professes perpetual vows. At this time she makes a public commitment to live the vows as a Sister in that particular congregation.
Look on this site’s Members page for links to each congregation’s Vocation/Formation contacts.
Vocation / Formation / Leadership & Initial
The Women of Providence in Collaboration have a sub-group, the Vocation, Formation, and Leadership Liaison (VFL) that meets every two years for a conference.
These Sisters strive to enhance and deepen their own development of the Providence charism as well as provide experiences for WPC Congregations. In this context, the congregations’ women can come together and explore the continued unfolding of the providence charism in their own lives.
The Formation Directors of the various WPC congregations also, at times, plan programs for their women in initial incorporation. These programs are designed to help foster relationships among these Sisters and to deepen their understanding of providence theology and spirituality.
This group has worked on collaborative projects such as brochures, ads, and more. It is hoped that by meeting collaboratively, they will develop relationships and future leadership across the WPC international organization.
These groups reflect the WPC organizational mission and together explore ways to make the theology and spirituality of Providence constitutive aspects of identification and development of a Providence Vocation.
Goals of the Vocation/Formation/Leadership
Goals of the Vocation/Formation/Leadership Group (VFL)
- To enhance and deepen the members’ own development in the Providence charism
- To provide for women entering the various WPC congregations to experience the future and continued unfolding of the Providence charism
- To develop relationships and leadership across the WPC international organization
- To work on collaborative projects such as brochures, ads, website, etc.
Goals of the Initial Formation Group (IFG)
- Promote ongoing formation around providence spirituality
- Provide mutual support for those women in formation in Providence communities
- Help develop relationships among newer members of the WPC congregations for future leadership roles
- Hold gatherings for week-long programs as needed and approved by governing board
Membership of the Vocation/Formation/Leadership:
The VFL Group consists of representatives from the following areas of ministry:
- Vocation ministers from the WPC congregations
- Formation ministers from the WPC congregations
- Leadership liaisons from the WPC congregations
- IFG are formation ministers from WPC congregations
Frequency of Meetings:
- Conference every other year in the spring (even numbered years)
- Two or three conference call meetings for planning purposes
- Sitting together at the RFC and NRVC Congresses, if possible
IFG planning committee meets in preparation for the IFG prior to the Providence Event