Steps in the Formation Journey
Aspirant: First Year
Aspirancy is an initial one-year term for deepening our Christian call. It is an experience in living in community with the Sisters and with other young women in Formation. The Aspirant becomes more closely acquainted with the life and spirit of the Salesian Sisters.
The aspirantate is in North Haledon, NJ. It is here that a young woman begins her knowledge of Salesian Family and history. She takes classes on the founders: Mother Mazzarello and Don Bosco, as well as Italian, so eventually she can converse with other Sisters around the world and read the sources from Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello's own hands. She is also instructed in music, studying a musical instrument and voice. Enrichment courses are offered etiquette, community living, and sewing.
The aspirants are home at Christmas, leaving the convent just before Christmas and returning just after New Year's Day. They are home again in the summer for about a month, usually during the month of June and aspirants return in time for the summer camp season.
Postulant: Second Year
Postulancy is a ten month period where the young women are able to deepen our life of prayer through study and reflection. Their focus is on Religious Life – its history, characteristics, and spirituality.
Postulants live in Bellflower, CA. Here, they continue their study of Salesian Spirituality. They study our particular method of working with youth, known as Don Bosco's Preventive System, and they have time to absorb all the materials that have been written about our founders, and our Salesian Saints. One of the elements of the postulancy is the study of the history of the Institute. Postulants continue to study music, Italian, instruments, and sewing. The postulancy is a continuation of the experience of community living and vocational discernment in preparation for the Novitiate. Postulants share in ministry with the Salesian Sisters in a vibrantly active school and parish.
Postulants are home for Christmas, leaving the convent just after Christmas, usually on the 26th, and returning to California just after New Year's. They are home again in the summer for about two weeks, just before beginning the camp season.
Novice: Third & Fourth Years
Novitiate is a two-year period of intense study of the Constitutions of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. The greatest objective of the Novitiate is for the young woman in formation to know and understand the Constitutions which she will profess in two years.
Novitiate is a time to foster a more intimate prayer life and a genuine Salesian spirit. Novitiate is an opportunity to study Scripture as well as the history of the Church and of the Salesian Family with time and space to reflect deeply on God’s call to religious life.
The Novitiate takes place in Newton, NJ. In this peaceful and nature-filled setting, the young women have time to reflect and pray at length. Novices are also engaged in college classes for a Certificate in Youth Ministry.
Novices go home to visit for the summer for a period of two weeks, as she will do for her future years as a professed Sister. Additionally, they have the opportunity to go and have an in-service in the communities of the province for a few weeks each year.
Temporary Professed: Sister
Temporary Profession is a period of six to nine years, as required by the Church. During this time Sisters may complete their studies in a local college, begin teaching, or engage in other ministries and may be assigned to any of the communities in the province. Temporary Professed Sisters renew the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience annually and then biannually after four years.
Perpetual Vows: A Lifetime of Love
Perpetual vows are the cherished moment of total self-giving to Christ, in service to youth. The perpetually professed Sister is a permanent member of the Salesian Sisters, a full-fledged Daughter of Mary Help of Christians. This commitment is marked by a celebration with family and friends and takes place approximately 10 years after entrance into the Aspirantate. Sisters have the opportunity to continuously renew and enrich their spiritual, educational, technical, and cultural knowledge, in accordance with the requirements of their given tasks.