Becoming a Cordi-Marian Missionary Sister…The Formation Process

Entrance Requirements

1. A relationship with the Lord expressed in prayer.
2. The experience of being called by the Lord and a desire to respond.
3. Sufficient inner freedom to make a life choice.
4. Physical health and average intelligence necessary to minister.
5. Potential for a vowed life as a Cordi-Marian Sisters manifested in:
a. An inclination toward living our Cordi-Marian charism.
b. A capacity for solitude as well as community life.
c. An inclination to live simply and to serve joyful without looking for compensation.
d. Motivation to devote one’s life in the service of one´s brothers and sisters.

Candidacy

1. This period of pre-entrance is for those women who have expressed a desire or who are considering the possibility of entering religious life. During this time, the candidate will be visited and interviewed by various members of the community whom she has been in contact with, who have gained the her trust, and by the vocation recruiter. Throughout this process, she will be assisted and guided in the discernment of her vocation. In addition, she may be invited to spend time in our communities, with previous consultation and consent of each in advance. She may also participate in other activities, such as prayer, ministry or recreation. She is not bound to Cordi-Marian rules and regulations, but could practice them if she wishes.

When she shows interest in the Congregation, her name is turned into the vocation recruiter and she in turn, will communicate the name to the Provincial Council. It will be the Council’s responsibility to communicate the good news to the Province.  She is then invited to become a candidate, and if she accepts, a letter from the Council accepting her will be presented to her in a simple ceremony that could be performed in her home.

2. The duration of the candidacy is very flexible.  It begins from the time the woman first expresses a desire in religious life to the moment of her actual entry.  The period which begins with the ceremony of acceptance into the candidacy should not be prolonged for more than a year.

Ideally, the candidate wishing to enter the Congregation should do so during the months of July through November so she may enter the novitiate on July 15.

3. Goals.
     a. This entry period will help the candidate to:
          1. Perceive the attraction of the Lord Jesus and the beauty of the total gift of self for the sake of the
               Gospel.
          2. Become more in touch with the Lord, with his call, with His values and with the Congregation.
     b. The congregation gets to know the candidate, her family and her home environment sufficiently
          well.

Aspirancy

1. The candidate who has decided to enter the Congregation will be guided through a transitional period as an aspirant. This stage is to help prepare her for the first step into the religious life. Prayer, as well as work, are a part of the aspirant´s daily schedule.

During this time, she is introduced to the different apostolates, participates in faith and prayer experiences, and gets to know the Cordi-Marians.

At the end of the aspirancy, a simple ceremony is celebrated  to begin the postulancy. Her ceremony will take place after the Provincial Superior, along with her council members, have given their approval for the aspirant to proceed to the postulancy.
 
2. This stage lasts for approximately a month before the aspirant is formally admitted into the postulancy.

3. During this period the aspirant:
     a. Begins  to learn to live in community.
     b. Receives an introduction to the rules, customs and regulations of the Cordi-Marian Congregation
          through  discussion, group work dynamics and lectures.

Postulancy

1. This period of formation is the time during which the postulant grows into the knowledge of whether she wants to be Cordi-Marian Sister.

Within the formation community, the postulant may  take part in active ministry to become acquainted with our apostolates. This may not always be possible since she will be expected to follow a plan of studies along with other formation activities.  If the opportunity ministry is available outside the formation community, the directress will dialogue with the postulant about this option, and, if she is agreeable, will meet with the formation team to discuss the temporary assignment.

The postulant´s qualities, gifts, professionalism and religious experiences should be taken into consideration before consulted and they have agreed.  Arrangements should be made for regular contact between the directress and the postulant.  At the end of the postulancy, a simple ceremony is performed to begin her next stage of formation, the novitiate. This ceremony will take place after the Provincial Superior, along with her council members, have  given their approval for the postulant to proceed into the novitiate.

2. This stage lasts a minimum of six months  to a maximum of one year. However, exceptions for an extension of time can be  arranged to each individual´s needs and development.

3. This period of formation is the time:
     a. For the postulant to deepen her basic Christian life.
     b. To adjust to and become acquainted with the Cordi-Marian lifestyle and ministries.

4. Within this stage an organized plan of studies and formation must be followed.  A daily schedule is established by the directress, postulants, and outside the formation community with  the local coordinator of the community where the postulant resides.

Following is a list of areas to be covered during the postulancy. Some are only introductory, while others are to be completed before the novitiate stage. Studies will be individualized to meet the needs of the person.
     a) Charism: Religious life is dealt with but the emphasis and vision is always focused on our
          Cordi-Marian charism.
          • Introduction to our founders.
          • Section on the beginnings of the Congregation.
          • Introduction to our spirituality and Constitutions.
     b) Apostolic.
           • To help the novice see and understand the importance of the Immaculate Heart of Mary  in our
              Cordi-Marian charism.

Novitiate

1. Religious life begins with the novitiate.  It retains its privileged role as the first initiation into the religious life and is considered the most important stage in the process of formation.  Entrance to  the novitiate should come at the moment, when, aware of God´s call, the woman has reached that degree of human and spiritual maturity to be able to respond to this call with sufficient and proper responsibility and freedom.
     “The primary objective of the formation process is to prepare people for the total consecration of themselves to God in the following of Christ, at the service of the Church´s mission. To say “yes” to the Lord´s call by taking personal responsibility for maturing in one´s vocation, is the inescapable duty of all who have been called”
     Since opportunities for prayer are central at this time, the place of the novitiate should be where the atmosphere provides an environment of prayerfulness, reflection, peace and silence.  It should be separate from any or our local communities when the number of novices warrants it, so the novices, with their directress, and possibly one or two of the formation tem members can live as an authentic community.
The novice will receive a monthly allowance for personal expenses.

 2. The novitiate last a period of two years, with periods of apostolic work being permitted during the second year.  At the end of the two years a novice must profess temporarily, be sent home or have the novitiate prolonged up to six months in case of doubt. (Canon 653.2) the preferable date of profession is July 16.

3. The Congregation will help the novice in whatever way possible as she strives:
     a. To be a partner in mutual discernment about the life to which God is calling her.  This involves a
          special emphasis on her individual abilities for living the vows in this Province and on her readiness
          to respond to God´s call, no matter what the cost.
     b. To take the necessary steps which prepare her to deepen her relationship with God and be aware
          of the needs of God´s people to whom she is sent on His behalf.
     c. To cultivate and deepen a spirit of faith which portrays the will of God within the heart of
         the community and brings about the vow of obedience.  This would influence, in a radical
         way, her attitude, motivation, actions, etc.
     d. To deepen and cultivate hope which enables her to share in community and to live in
          simplicity, bringing about the vow of poverty.
     e. To deepen and cultivate charity which brings  about complete  consecration to Jesus Christ
          and his people through the practice of a consecrated chastity.
     f. To deepen her understanding and acceptance of all dimensions of herself and her recognition
         of the need to work with persons and resources that can aid her in the her continual development.
     g. To reflect on daily experiences in order to increase her awareness of the Spirit´s action in her life.
     h. To prepare for an unconditional commitment to the Lord in love according to the directives of
          the Church and our Congregation.

4. Within this stage an organized plan of studies and formation must be followed.  It is advisable to include the novices in planning their program and schedule.
     a.  In addition to a more in-depth follow-up of all studies listed in the postulancy stage, the novices
           will study appropriate levels of theology, Christology, ecclesiology, religious life. Scripture,
           psychology and missionology.
     b. Participates in the Inter-Congregational Novitiate Program.
     c. Regular opportunities to meet with the Formation Team and spiritual director to provide the
          novice with persons who can help her to see what the Lord seems to be saying in her dally life.
     d. Use of professional counseling when necessary.
     e. Study of the  English and/or culture/popular religiosity of those we are called to serve.

5. At least twice a year the novice completes a self-evaluation. She then shares it with her fellow novice directress. The directress will also write one for the novice.  After comparing and discussing both evaluations, they  will forward a copy  of both to the Provincial Council and to the Formation Team along with a cover letter giving the results of their discussion.

6. Before the date of profession, the novice transfers the administration of her property and signs an agreement waiving all rights to remuneration should she leave the congregation.

Temporary Profession

1. The stage of temporal vows is the time of formation in which formative work, characteristic of the Cori-Marian Sisters, is continued from the novitiate.  The professed Sisters, aided by her local community and temporary vows directress, is personally responsible for her continual growth and integration so that she may better fulfill her mission in the Church as a Cordi-Marian Sister.  During this time, she continues her human, spiritual, apostolic and professional development.
The members of the local community have a formative influence on one another in positive and/or negative ways. The local community where the temporally professed sister lives needs to be aware of the sister’s goals so that they can aid her in achieving these goals and in deepening her commitment.

The last year before perpetual vows should be a time of more intense preparation for her profession.  The sister who wants to continue to participate fully in the mission, ministry and life of the Cordi-Marian Congregation makes her perpetual vows in a public ceremony after making a retreat of at least 8 days. The profession is celebrated according to the Ritual for Religious Profession.
2. The period spent under temporary vows is no less than six and no more than nine years.
3. The province will help the Sister in temporary vows in whatever way possible they can.