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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 Discernment Stage

Visit our campus and soak in the peace and beauty
Sign-up for our Wheaton Franciscan Newsletter and stay informed
Participate in the community’s public life through events, such as Sunday Mass, the monthly coffee, or programs offered by Tau Center
Begin to engage in conversation with Sisters
Enroll and participate faithfully in the Exploring the Franciscan Way of Life program to receive initial formation about the Franciscan Way of Life as a Wheaton Franciscan.

The formal process begins after completing the two-year Exploring the Franciscan Way of Life program and upon mutual discernment.

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 the community.

Covenant Companions discern this call over 2.5 to 3 years, inclusive of the Franciscan Way of Life.

Following the Franciscan Way of Life, an interested person completes a formal request to become a covenant companion and completes an additional 3-6 months of orientation and integration.

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

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