Formation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has seven distinctive levels: They are:
The purpose of the candidacy program is designed to accomplish two goals. First, it provides a period of time for serious discernment regarding a possible vocation to our community. Secondly, it provides the applicant a deeper and practical understanding of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary charism and how it is lived out by our community. The duration of the candidacy program is according to the needs of the individual with the approval of the Provincial Council.
The pre-novitiate is the time of initial transition from a secular lifestyle to religious life. This time is used to deepen the aspirant’s awareness and understanding of the commitment she will make to follow Christ more closely n the religious life. It is a period of strong participation in Catholic living. The pre-novice deepens her awareness of her personal consecration to Christ which is deepened through her personal commitment to prayer, doctrinal study and community living. The duration of the Pre-Novitiate program is six months to two years.
The duration of the novitiate program is at least twelve months. During this time, the novitiate will foster the vital decision - the choice of religious life. It is a time when she will be introduced to the essential requirements of religious life, especially to greater charity through the practice of the evangelical counsels as lived out according to the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart Constitution. During this time the novice will experience the life of the congregation and her heart and mind will form in its spirit. She will receive opportunities for study of our constitution, directory and traditions, vows and virtues, the principles of the spiritual life; Holy Scripture; Church documents; Catholic doctrine and liturgy; the charism of founder Father Joaquin Masmitja; the spirit of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and vocal and mental prayer.
Temporary vows is the period of time in which the young sister acquires a certain degree of human and spiritual maturity which will enable them to decide upon perpetual consecration. The years of temporary profession are spent in a Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary community, which offers valid experiences in living our Sisters charism. The young Sister takes an active part in community life, as well as in her studies, in an attitude of humility and serene availability. The period of temporary vows is three to six years.
Perpetual profession is an act of great transcendence. By perpetual profession made in accordance with the directives of the
Church, we declare that we desire to give ourselves totally to God forever in the service of others according to our charism,
the spirit of our founder, Father Joaquin Masmitja and our constitution. At perpetual profession the Sister receives
a ring as a symbol of union with God.