To be a Sister of the Divine Compassion is live the gospel call as prayerful women gathered in community in service to the people of God.
The vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience that we profess express our embrace of a life characterized by simple living, inclusive loving, and attentive listening.
After the example of Jesus and our founders, we are challenged to step out beyond our comfort zone and attend to the cry of the marginalized in our world ~ to see our culture, our society, our world and ourselves with new eyes, a ready heart, and a courageous and eager spirit.
Becoming a Sister
Becoming a vowed member of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion is an ongoing process during which we are drawn more and more deeply into Divine Compassion spirituality and congregational life. Each step of the way– affiliation, candidacy, novitiate, temporary vows –is the opportunity for mutual discernment for the prospective member and the congregation.
This step comes after some months in conversation with a Vocation Director and the opportunity to meet some other sisters, possibly in ministry, or for prayer and dinner, or at a congregational gathering. When a woman affiliates the externals of her life won’t change much; her professional life and her living arrangements remain the same as always. We’ll invite her to become acquainted with the congregation and its spirit, spend time with our sisters, and visit some of the ministries. She will get to know us, and we’ll get to know her.
After a year or so as an affiliate, she may decide to formally request admission to the congregation. She will begin to live in community with sisters and if feasible remain in her professional position. If that’s not possible we’ll assist her to find an appropriate ministry.
The Candidate year is one of ongoing discernment. The discerner will experience congregational life first hand, learn our history and about our founders, and spend time with candidates, both women and men, of other congregations.
These two years are ones of deep immersion into our life. During this time the prospective member delves more deeply into our deep story and the meaning of the charism of compassion (which is something we engage in throughout our lives!). She experiences the richness of living with women who share common goals but often very different styles in living into them. And she will discover what her own style is.
In this period of preparation for vows the novice studies and prays with our Constitutions, our Rule of Life.
Typically, at the conclusion of a two-year novitiate period, the novice will make her vows for one year, and then renew them annually for four years. The wisdom of the plan of formation in religious communities is that it is spread over several years. The new sister gets to “try on” the life and have confidence that her choice is a sound one. The congregation, too, has the same opportunity. There is no shame or failure if during this time or any time in the formation process the sister decides that religious life is not a good fit; rather, such a decision is the outcome of wise and careful discernment, and is to be honored as just that.
At the end of five years of annual vows, the sister makes her lifetime commitment. Instead of being the end of the formation period, it is the beginning of a lifetime of living into the ever evolving meaning of commitment as a Sister of the Divine Compassion, what radical gospel living means at this time, and in this place, and among these people, and of living more deeply her relationship with the Divine and with one another.
If thoughts of vowed membership have crossed your mind, this informal check-list might be helpful
- Are you a woman between 25 and 55 years of age?
- Are you Roman Catholic?
- Are you emotionally and spiritually mature?
- Do you have a sense of humor?
- Are you passionate about bringing the God of Compassion to a world sorely in need of it?
- Are you free of of family obligations (elderly parents, dependent children)?
- If you have been married are you widowed or have a church annulment?
- Can you imagine yourself making a total life commitment?
For a conversation contact Sr. Susan Becker at 914-798-1109 or at email@example.com