what exactly is this novitiate thing?

Some of my bloggy friends (especially but not only the non-Catholics) may be wondering what exactly it means that I've been accepted to the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace Congregational Novitiate.

The Novitiate is 2 years long - the first year is the canonical year and the second year is the ministry year. The canonical year starts September 8th. During this time I'll be living in the Novitiate House in New Jersey with two other novices, our Novice Director and one other Sister. The best 2 second description I've heard of the 1st year of Novitiate (the "Canonical" year) is that it's like a year long retreat. Our groovy sister constitutions go into more specific details:

"The canonical novitiate, spent in the novitiate house, is a period of intensive prayer and study in relative withdrawal from ministerial involvement. During this time a novice focuses primarily on her transformation in Jesus Christ. The novitiate also includes times of engagement in ministry that will evoke the faith dispositions needed by those sharing in the mission of the church as expressed through our charism."

We'll be participating weekly in an intercommunity novitiate program with novices (men and women) from other religious communities. I'm excited and intrigued about this element of the year. Well, I'm excited and intrigued about all the elements of the year!

One of the most exciting things is that this will be our first Congregation Novitiate since the beginnings of the community. In the past each province has had their own novitiate, but we will be 2 novices from the western province and 1 novice from the eastern province coming together. It's an exciting time for our community! And it's a time filled with many unknowns, but I'm ok with that at the moment.


Sheila said...

Congrats on making it official! I think mingling with the other novices sounds like a very fun bonus. I'm looking forward to seeing you on this coast!

Anonymous said...

Many of the Dominican women's congregations participate in what they call a "Collaborative Dominican Novitiate" in St. Louis, MO. I really like the idea. It seems you form connections across congregations that you will carry with you throughout your life.

andrea said...

I'm thinking about the effect that a retreat of a few days can have and trying to imagine what a year-long retreat would do. May it be a blessed time of falling deeper and deeper in love.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

I really like your blog. It's a fun & good read. Look forward to see you tomorrow @ Sharing the Journey.