The journey into membership
Getting to know the communities and being known by them is a key step towards joining the Congregation of Jesus. Later, if a woman decides that she seriously wants to explore life as a sister, she may be encouraged to examine this decision and her life so far through a guided retreat and further conversation. If it seems right, she may begin the application process.
A full life of faith in Mary Ward's institute today offers
The formation process includes a two year period called the noviceship, whose emphasis is on deepening of one’s relationship to God and discerning the way forward with the novice director. Exploration of different ways of praying, participation in the Eucharist, the making of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius in a 30 day retreat, and varied experiences of apostolic work help to make clearer how and where God is leading. First vows are taken at the end of the noviceship. Then follows a period of at least six years of temporary profession during which sisters may receive further training according to their needs, and will spend time in apostolic ministry and getting to know the world-wide Congregation of Jesus. A further period of intense spiritual reflection and apostolic training, known as the 'Tertianship', is offered before final vows, with a renewal year after some ten years in full-time ministry.
Community life breaks down the barriers of age, race, class and outlook that cause so many divisions among people. In community we learn acceptance of self and others, sharing our gifts and our vulnerabilities, making real the words of Christ, ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me’.
The centre of our life is mission, the apostolic expression of our intimate relationship with God and our sense of call. Each woman brings her own gifts and aptitudes to the Congregation. In different periods of formation, the focus of this mission may be prayer and reflection, study or apostolic work, but all of it is aimed towards the building of God’s kingdom and personal growth in faith.