Your exploration begins with our vocation director, Sister Kathy Onderbeke, IHM. She will walk with you through your inquiry as you come to understand more deeply what God is inviting you to and learn more about the IHM Sisters and living religious life today.
Once you have decided to answer God’s call to religious life and, together with Sister Kathy, discerned that the IHM Sisters would be a good fit for you, you begin the process of applying for candidacy. This process includes a written application and interviews with IHM Sisters currently serving on the Admissions Board. These IHMs then prayerfully discern your readiness and aptitude for becoming a vowed member. Finally, the president of the congregation sends you a formal letter of acceptance as an IHM Candidate.
During your candidacy, you work with the formation director to design your goals and to create multi-faceted ways of integrating your life with that of the congregation. As you continue to support yourself, you give priority in your life for the concerns of the community and experience the same in return.
Once accepted to the novitiate, your journey focuses on discernment and preparation for vows. This is a sacred time to continue to deepen your quest for God and to discern whether IHM life is your deepest desire and call from God. It provides time for you to form healthy transforming relationships with God, the community, yourself and all of creation.
Novitiate includes a canonical year, which is a contemplative time of prayer, service and study; and a ministerial year during which you explore and prepare for ministry as a vowed member.
The various theological and spiritual opportunities during novitiate help to prepare you for the complexities of living a life of discernment and the changing conditions of religious life as we seek to live the liberating mission of Jesus in our times.
You are not alone on this journey. During these years, you are guided by our novice director and a spiritual director and are supported by reflection and mentoring groups as you explore the practicalities and challenges of living as a vowed religious.
At the completion of novitiate, you are free to request to profess the vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience for three years. Once professed, you live with full accountability as a vowed religious, living, working and participating as a member of the IHMs. You will continue to discern God’s work in your life, sharing this journey with a mentor.
The profession of perpetual vows indicates the commitment of your whole self to live as a vowed religious for the rest of your life, understanding and trusting that God will provide what you need to remain faithful along the way.