WHEN SHALL WE CAST OURSELVES INTO THE ARMS
OF OUR MOST LOVING FATHER IN HEAVEN,
LEAVING TO HIM THE CARE OF OURSELVES AND OUR CONCERNS,
AND RESERVING ONLY THE DESIRE OF PLEASING HIM,
AND OF SERVING HIM WELL IN ALL THAT WE CAN.
St. Jane de Chantal
When a vocation seed in a woman’s heart has come to full bloom, she will be invited to begin her years of formation to become a Sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary. As a postulant and novice she will open her heart and soul to the grace filled moments of prayer, community life, study of Scripture, the writings of our Holy Founders, the lives of Saints, our Constitutions and Spiritual Directory. Her postulancy will be a period of six months to a year, and then, another two years as a novice during which she will study the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and how she will integrate the depth of their meaning into her life.
As an inner transformation takes place in the heart and soul of the novice aspiring to monastic life, she gradually begins to give witness to her inner desire to commit herself in vows to Our Lord. She is, then, invited to her First Profession of these vows for three years. During these years, the temporary professed will continue her studies in the novitiate and grow in grace as the happenings of each day open her eyes, mind and soul to the areas in her life in which she needs to surrender herself and “put on the mind of Christ”. St. Paul
At the end of these three years, the temporary professed is again invited to commit herself, this time, in a final profession of Solemn Vows. The seed that was once planted by a gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit, watered and warmed by the sun, the Son of God, has now flowered in all its beauty to give Glory to Father ! The newly professed Sister of the Visitation is now ready to move into the mystery of her vocation that will manifest itself in the Divine Providence of our loving God.
Each of our monasteries has a Vow Book that the newly professed sister signs on the day of her profession. She will sign this book again each year on November 21, the Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother, as she joins the community in renewing their vows during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is a blessed day for us as we renew our act of fidelity to our loving God and our witness in the Church.
As she enters into this mystery of her vocation, she will realize with each new day the surrender of herself is not only a giving but a receiving, “I have called you by name and you are mine.” Isaiah To be called by name is to be known, “we are His handiwork, the work of His hands!” St. Paul Her life will be enhanced as she grows in an awareness of her God- given gifts. As a flower that is cut from its roots to be given in love still gives forth its fragrance and beauty, so, too, when we are cut from our roots in self – sacrifice, our inner beauty not only touches the lives of others but deepens within us a heart filled with gratitude for all He has done in us. She will find herself proclaiming with Mary, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for He who is mighty has done great things in me, holy is His name” ! God be Praised !