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The Process for Joining the Community

Responding to God’s Call

Vowed Membership and Covenant Companionship are distinct and unique responses to God’s call to live a Gospel way of life. Any formal commitment to a way of life takes time. Listening to and responding faithfully to God’s call takes discernment.  Discernment is not the same as decision-making. Discernment is the practice of distinguishing God’s voice from self-centered desires. Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, courage, and strength to listen to your heart’s desire.

If you are curious about responding to God’s call as a Wheaton Franciscan vowed sister or as a Wheaton Franciscan covenant companion, the process begins the same way.

The Inquiry Stage

If you are able, visit our campus and soak in the peace and beauty
Participate in the community’s public life through events, such as Sunday Mass (in person or via livestream), the 1st Sunday of the month coffee, or programs offered by Tau Center
Engage in conversation with Sisters and Covenant Companions
Enroll in and faithfully participate in the Exploring the Franciscan Way of Life program to receive initial formation about the Franciscan Way of Life as a Wheaton Franciscan. Individuals who have completed one year of the Franciscan Way of Life Program and have committed to completing the second year may request to proceed to the discernment stage.

Vowed Membership

Vowed members are called to respond to God’s love through a public profession of canonical vows. A vowed member is a Catholic woman who experiences God’s invitation to make a life commitment as a religious sister.

She discerns this call over 6 to 9 years of preparation and then professes perpetual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

There is a defined formation program for the first 6-9 years of initial membership. Formal stages include canonical novitiate, temporary profession of vows, and final profession of vows.

Covenant Companionship

Covenant Companions are called to respond to God’s love through a formal and public commitment. A covenant companion is a layperson who desires a deeper relationship with God through community.

Discernment Stage

Individuals interested in further discernment of the Covenant Way of Life complete an Application to Enter the Formal Discernment Process For Covenant Companionship.

The Formal Discernment Process consists of 2 full-day input sessions designed to deepen an individual’s understanding of the Covenant Way of Life in communion with the Region of St. Clare and our international congregation. Upon completing the formal discernment process and mutual agreement, prospective Covenant Companions begin writing a personal covenant and preparing for the public Covenant Commitment Ceremony.

As daughters and sons of Mother Clara, we live our call to be a loving presence in our Church and our world.  Through deepening community, courage, and compassion, we live lives of transforming energy, grounded in the Gospel and our Franciscan way of life.

Sr. Bea Hernandez, OSF

If you are interested in more information, please contact us: