“A Sister of Sion should have a heart, bigger than the world and have respect for all cultures, nationalities and beliefs!” Our founder Fr. Theodore Ratisbonne says: “Reconciliation happens when people get to know each other and appreciate each other”
- Do you desire to give witness to the faithful love of God?
- Do you hear a call to become a woman rooted in Scripture and prayer?
- Are you looking forward to building bridges between people of different religions and cultures?
- Are you ready to work with people who live on the edges of society?
The steps of religious formation in “Notre Dame de Sion”
The search for religious life with the Sisters of Sion passes through different stages as it is a growing into religious life. These stages diversify in their length of time. They can last from 6 months to two years.
Contact one of our sisters. Either you know a sister personally or contact a community close to where you live. Start meeting her on a regular basis to share your call and allow yourself to be guided by this sister in your search for religious life.
“Come and see” – Candidate
These first regular meetings to get to know each other are followed by the first stage of living together in community. According to the gospel of John we call it “Come and See”. “Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi”, “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” (John:1,38f ) It is a period where you live with a Sion community. You participate in community gatherings, prayer, life and work of our community.
Pre-Noviciate – Postulate
After the stage of “Come and See” you enter the stage of pre-Noviciate. In Gen 12, 1 and 4 we hear God’s mission for Abram: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. …So Abram went, as the Lord had told him….” Like Abraham followed God’s call you will live with a specific orientation. How about my possibility to live with God’s call? Do I need some avocation every moment, or can I live in his presence? During this stage you learn a second language e.g. English. You also start learning about the history and charisma of our congregation and our founders, and you begin organised studies in Bible, Theology and Catechism. Also some general human formation is important in this period to help understand and clarify your vocation.
After this time of learning and clarification you are invited to the Noviciate. This stage consists of two years.
In the first, the “Canonical Year” you will have to ask yourself about the strength of your vocation. “Is my relationship with God deep enough to live with God alone? Can I pray with St. Theresa from Avila? “Nada de turbe. Solo Dios basta! – Nothing can trouble me. God only is enough!” In this full year there will be a special emphasis on a prayerful study of the Word of God. Like the disciples left there homes to follow Jesus it will be a time to leave all other commitments and engagements in order to follow Jesus. Living in the novice’s community you will study the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience in link with our congregational charisma. To learn about this charisma you will study the constitution, the congregation’s history, spirituality and its apostolic responsibilities.
The second year is called “Apostolic Year”. As novice you try to integrate all the studies and spiritual experiences of the past years in the ordinary life of another community of Notre Dame de Sion, not living in the novice’s community. You would do some daily work as volunteer in a parish, social or educational organisation. Or there could be a chance for a regular employment in a field of your interest which has some connection with the Charisma of Sion. In order to find the Mission in which you would like to express the Charisma and call in following Jesus in your vowed life in Sion.
See the Novitiate website : www.nds-novitiate.org/
Vows and time of consolidation
At the end of this first formation program you will ask the provincial team (responsible sister) in a formal letter to get the permission to pronounce your temporary vows. Our congregation has to declare that your personal call to follow Jesus can also become a call to follow Jesus in the Congregation of Notre Dame de Sion. As young sister you will deepen this commitment in a second period of formation which can last up to six years. This will lead you then into the final vows of the Sisters of Sion.
Sr. Juliana Baldinger NDS