Vocation - Stages of Formation

Our Foundress urged us, as part of our mission, to nurture religious vocations. The witness of our lives, after the grace of God, is the most powerful force to accomplish this goal, for through this witness we invite others to “come and see" the works of God.

Stages of Initial Formation

Initial Formation is time of mutual discernment on the part of the woman and the community. Length of time in each stage varies according to the woman’s individual growth and readiness. Each woman is assisted in her effort to grow and discern with the help of a director who works with her on an individual basis.


Women who desire to know more about religious life, particularly the life of the Incarnate Word Sisters, are in contact with the Vocation Director. They enter into active, mutual discernment of their call to religious life by participating in days of reflection and retreats, and by growing in relationships with our members.


When a woman shows serious interest in our life and ministry and has completed Requirements for Admission, she can be accepted into the Pre-Novitiate Program. This program consists of two phases: the pre-postulancy and the postulancy.

The Pre-Postulancy is a time when a woman continues to discern her call to be an Incarnate Word Sister. She grows in self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-direction. She works on deepening her life with God and with the Church and builds closer relations with the Sisters.

The Postulancy is a time of gradual transition into religious life. During this time the woman lives in an Incarnate Word community. She continues to focus on personal development and growth in relationship with God and our congregation.


The novice is recognized as a member of the congregation and therefore receives the title “Sister”. This stage is the “focal point of initiation into religious life and ultimately an intense preparation for the profession of vows.” The primary focus is the novice’s spiritual growth and relationship with Christ.

The novice prepares to live more fully the life of a Sister of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament through study, reflection and living of the vows and our constitution.

Temporary Profession

At this stage the novice professes the vows of celibate chastity, poverty and obedience to God in and through membership in this Incarnate Word Congregation. She strives to put into practice the living out of the vows according to the Incarnate Word charism and spirituality.

The temporary professed Sister renews her vows annually until she submits a request for Final Vows.

Final Profession

This is the final step of incorporation of a woman into religious life. At this point she becomes a permanent member of our congregation. She continues to grow in love of the Incarnate Word, to strengthen her relations with all and to expand her capacity to reflect God’s love to the world throughout her life.

Let us ascend like the young eagles up to the Divine Eagle Who invites us to follow Him. Blessed are those who never cease to fly after Him.

Jeanne de Matel
Treatise on the Eight Beatitudes