Are women entering religious congregations today?
Yes, although many women enter during middle adulthood instead of right out of school. Since 2000, twelve women have become Sisters of Loretto – eight through the novitiate, three by transfer from other congregations, and one who re-entered. They range in age from 30’s to 60-plus. Since 2006, three of those entering through the novitiate have professed temporary vows and 4 have professed perpetual vows.
What attracts women to vowed religious life now?
Spirituality which deepens faith life and bonds between God and individuals, along with service and community, are three aspects frequently mentioned. Women are seeking to grow in faith and share that faith life in mission with a group committed to Jesus, to the Body of Christ the Church, and to one another.
How do I know if I have a call to vowed religious life?
We believe that each person has a calling to love and serve God. The discernment process for vocation to religious life involves prayer, reflection, gathering information, and consultation with others whom you trust. Visit with communities of religious sisters, check their websites and blogs, and participate in their gatherings if possible. To communicate with the Sisters of Loretto about vowed religious life contact: Liz Deines, SL at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (915) 449-5481 or write Sister Liz c/o Loretto Academy, 1300 Hardaway, El Paso, TX 79903.
What are some of the requirements for women who feel called to vowed religious life?
Having a desire to grow in faith and to live the gospel fully, the potential for meaningful participation in community life, and capacity for working generously in ministry are important. In Loretto, we value the ability to show initiative, to dialogue and form mature relationships with others.
Do I have to be Catholic to become a Sister of Loretto?
Yes, a woman must be a baptized and confirmed member of the Roman Catholic Church in order to be a canonically vowed Sister of Loretto. However, women and men of any faith tradition are welcome to consider becoming Loretto Co-members.
What if I have been married or have children?
Widows, those who are divorced, or women whose children have reached adulthood and are no longer dependent, may become Sisters of Loretto. If divorced, the woman must have a Decree of Annulment granted through the Church. Each case is handled on an individual basis. Consultation with other family members about your decision should also include plans for the care and well-being of your parents.
Is there an age limit or educational requirement?
Women who have completed college, or who have at least two years post-secondary work experience, may apply to enter. Good physical and mental health, average intelligence, and recommendation letters are also required. There is no set age limit in Loretto.
What about my house, my financial situation?
Women can make arrangements for their property, possessions, and finances that will free them from being burdened by administrative responsibilities and enable them to enter fully into the formation process. Outstanding debts must be paid prior to entrance.
What are the stages of becoming a Sister of Loretto?
The formation program includes two phases: initiation and novitiate.
During the initiation period, women may continue to live and work in their careers while learning Loretto history, life, and mission. This is a time of mutual discernment. When a candidate is recommended by formation personnel and her application accepted by the president, she begins the two-year novitiate.
The first year of the novitiate period, women live together in a designated Loretto house and participate in classes and activities which provide opportunities:
· To grow in faith and self-knowledge and in awareness of contemporary social issues
· To develop habits of prayer and an apostolic spirituality
· To study Loretto spirituality, history, and constitutions
· To pursue theological, scriptural, and liturgical studies
· To assume the responsibilities of vowed life in Loretto
The second year of the novitiate, women learn to integrate prayer, study, and reflection with active apostolic ministry in fields commensurate with their gifts, talents, and skills.
When the novitiate is satisfactorily completed, the woman makes a written request to the president for admission to initial profession.