“Getting to know you” is what the seven-and-a-half-month Aspirancy Program of the SPC Congregation is all about. Awareness, the first stage of the Initial Formation, leads the Aspirant to know herself, her Catholic faith, God, and others, especially to her responses to the members of her community. She is also oriented to the life of a religious Sister of Saint Paul of Chartres and this includes an introduction on Prayer, the Congregation’s history, lifestyle of an SPC Sister, community, and mission.
As the aspirant slowly becomes aware of what it means to respond to God, leave everything, and radically follow God in her day-to-day life in community, she is helped to adjust her coming from the world to another lifestyle through group dynamics and one-on-one accompaniment. It is hoped that at the end of the Aspirancy, the aspirant will attain a sufficient degree of human and Christian maturity which will enable her to be more at ease in relating with God, herself, and with others and prepare her for the Postulancy.
The Postulancy initiates the candidate into the lifestyle and work of the Congregation, examine her aptitudes and motivations, and prepares her for the Novitiate.
This one year stage is a period of adjustment and discernment in which the genuineness of the call is identified as far as possible. Fundamentals of doctrine help the Postulant deepen her prayer life. Study of the history of the Congregation initiates her into the life of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres.
The Novitiate formation aims at: conversion of heart and growth in Christ. From entrance, the novice follows Christ in the Gospel. She gradually discovers the demands of her vocation and the meaning of her consecration. Open to the invitation of the Spirit, she learns to encounter Christ in Sacred Scripture, prayer, the Eucharist, community life, and in all events.
She likewise discovers the meaning of the mission of a Sister of St. Paul of Chartres in the history and the life of the Congregation and also in the apostolic contacts.
(Book of Life, article 60)
The Juniorate covers the whole period of temporary profession. During her years in the Juniorate, the young religious must be helped to unify her life. She learns by experience to combine love of God with apostolic zeal, duty of state with universal charity, prayer with life. While she is helped by the directress of the Juniorate, it is desirable that each sister gradually assume responsibility for her own formation.
Formation to religious life does not end with perpetual profession.
The religious is continually challenged to mature in all aspects :
physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual, in order to deepen
her vocational response. The scope of continuing formation is wide
with the local community as the chief place of formation. There are, however, outstanding moments called SPIRITUAL RENEWAL PROGRAM
of forty days which each perpetually professed sister undergoes after every five years. A special fifteen-day SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT PROGRAM is given to those of one to four years after perpetual profession.
"The first missionary duty of consecrated persons
is to themselves, and they fulfil it by opening their hearts
to the promptings of the Spirit of Christ."
(Vita Consecrata, no. 25)