"You have redeemed us O Lord in your Blood!"                     

                       Becoming a Sister – Formation

 

“Jesus went up into the hills, 
and summoned those he wanted.
So they came to him
and he appointed twelve;
they were to be his companions
and to be sent out …
Mark 3: 13-14
 


Dear young friend in Christ 

Your Vocation:

What is a vocation? You will have heard the word many times. The literal meaning of ‘vocation’ is a “call.”

For you as a Christian ‘vocation’ is more than an ordinary call. Vocation is a call for you from God – essentially a call to holiness.

A vocation is not the same as your career or profession. A career or a profession is something that you do to support yourself and to contribute in some way to the good of family and the society. You don’t need to believe in God to choose a career or a profession. You can choose and switch profession depending on your preferences, strengths or circumstances.

When you as a follower of Christ talk about vocation you introduce an all-embracing dimension into your life: God. No longer is it “What do I prefer?” The question you are faced with is “What does God want me to be?” A vocation is not something that you can switch like a profession or a career.

The universal call to holiness is rooted in our baptism. It is a call to know, love and serve Jesus Christ. It is a movement that draws one toward a deeper union with God. One feels a growing desire to love God and to love one’s neighbor. One comes to understand that there is a deep, profound reason for your existence, that there is profound meaning in your life.

The call to holiness is an ongoing conversion experience. It keeps opening your eyes to new awareness of God’s loving presence. It keeps inviting you to turn toward God by aligning your will with God’s will. A willingness to do God’s will is built on two convictions.

You believe that God loves you more than you love yourself and that God wants your happiness more than you want it. In essence you believe that God knows more about what will make you truly happy than you yourself can ever know. The basis of your desire to fine and to do the will of God is the belief that God’s will for you is your chance to be truly and lastingly happy!

You live out the invitation “to be holy” differently depending on which vocation you have chosen. For followers of Christ there are four fundamental vocations: single life, married life, consecrated life and ordained ministry. Each vocation is a call to follow Christ closely.

For someone who has chosen a single life, even though not having taken the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they make a personal commitment to put their free choice at the service of others in their work and prayer. In so doing they strive to follow Christ in their daily lives.

For a married Christian couple, they follow Christ by giving themselves to each other completely and without any reservation, promising to love each other faithfully for the rest of their lives, sharing their joys and sufferings in whatever circumstances life brings them. They express their love through their sexual union, which brings them together in the closest intimacy and opens them to the gift of new life.

For those who choose the consecrated life, the path of following Christ is through vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. If you are called as Christ lived, to model your life on the life of Jesus – chaste, poor and obedient – you choose to make your heart more free for prayer and service.

The lifestyle and demands of each particular vocation are very different but there are some similarities between them. Each vocation is a commitment to love in a certain way.

The sole object of the consecrated life vocation is: God. It is not building a better society, renewing the Church, having a family, fulfilling yourself, helping people or confronting new challenges. All these things may be involved in a vocation but the primary objective of the consecrated life is: to love God.

As Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote, “Love makes us seek what is good; love makes use better persons. It is love that prompts men and women to marry and form a family, to have children. It is love that prompts others to embrace the consecrated life.”

Your vocation choice challenges you to live faith more deeply and to follow Christ more closely. If your vocation is lived generously and faithfully it will involve times of lasting happiness and reward and very significantly, times in which you will endure intense suffering and sacrifice.

Are you still searching for an established way of life?  Do these words of Pope Francis: “The world today is rich with young people who are very generous, who act in solidarity and are involved on religious and social levels, young people seeking a real spiritual life, and young people who hunger for something different from what the world offers.” relate to you?

 If you feel your call is to serve God in the consecrated life perhaps this song (composer not known) will help you reach the decision on your vocation.

  1. I want to walk with Jesus Christ
    All the days I live on this life on earth
    To give to Him complete control of body and of soul.
  2. I want to learn to speak to Him
    To pray to Him, confess my sins
    To open my life and let Him in for joy will then be mine.
  3. I want to learn to read His work
    For this is how I know the way
    To live my life as pleases Him in holiness and joy.
  4. I want to learn to speak to Him
    My life must show that He lives in me
    My deeds, my thoughts, my words must speak all of His love for me. 

Sabela uyabizwa!

 Sr. Nokwanda Bam cps,
Coordinator of Vocation Promotion

With thanks to Catholic Vocation Melbourne Australia for some items above.

Ref.:
Follow Him, follow Him yield your life to Him
He has conquered death, He is King of Kings
Accept the joy that He gives to those who yield their life to Him.


Call to be a Missionary Sister of the Precious Blood CPS

By virtue of a free response, indeed an individual’s free decision to follow God’s call as Missionary Sister of the Precious Blood, a woman enters a life-long process called ‘formation’ that is meant to deepen her understanding of what our Congregation’s charism, to strengthen and grow her personal relationship with the God, who has called her, and to find ways to serve the broken world around her.

STAGES OF FORMATION

PRE-ENTRANCE

This is the time before a woman enters our Congregation although she has become aware of her call from God and desires to respond to it in freedom. She is in regular contact with the sisters, all the while developing her prayer life, deepening her faith and listening to her unique call and mission. The length of this stage depends on her readiness to dare the next step, while she remains free to continue on a different path.

POSTULANCY

As a postulant, the woman has chosen to live attached to one of our communities, that is, at present at Mariannhill. A year of intense searching for God’s will ensues. The postulant is accompanied by one of our Sisters and receives spiritual direction and learns about our Congregation and its various apostolates. One key focus of this early formative stage is growing in appreciation for our Congregation’s international and multicultural character and mission. At the end of the year the postulant can choose freely whether or not to enter the next phase.

NOVITIATE

With the reception into the novitiate, the postulant becomes a ‘novice’ and joins other women in a specifically designed formation programme. For two years they are given space and time to deepen their relationship with Christ and to grow in the spiritual, theological and ecclesial underpinnings of a life as CPS. The aim is ultimately to enable each novice to make a free and full commitment to God’s call and to her involvement in our CPS mission of Christ. This commitment is expressed through the solemn profession of First Vows during a Eucharistic Celebration.

TEMPORARY PROFESSED

As a temporary professed sister, the CPS is invited to live a life of surrender to God.
Remaining faithful to the Evangelical Counsels of Obedience, Chastity and Poverty that she committed herself to, she starts to integrate her religious life with the missionary mandate of our Congregation. During the five to nine years of this phase of her life as CPS, she will be prepared for her mission and thus be asked to take full responsibility for the task that is entrusted to her for the sake of His Kingdom. Missioning to another country and thus another province of our Congregation may happen during this time.

At the end of these years, the temporary professed sister chooses whether she can commit herself to this life and its mission ‘forever’. Such profound mystery can only be grasped in faith and love. When she expresses the wish to surrender herself to God forever through our Congregation and the Church, she will be invited to make her final profession that binds her to this life ‘forever’.

ONGOING FORMATION

As Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood, we believe that we cannot stop with being formed more and more into the image of Christ. Thus, it is essential for our religious fidelity and our mission mandate, that we all constantly renew ourselves in the light of Sacred Scripture and in the Spirit of our Congregation. And so we engage in a lifelong process of change, of being and of becoming more and more what Christ desires us to be.

  “Christ has confidence in young people  
and entrusts them with the very future of his mission.
‘Go and make disciples’,
he said, adding a call to go beyond the confines of what is humanly possible
and create a world of brothers and sisters!
Because young people

‘are the window,through which the future enters the world’
all societies are challenged to invest in the next generation.”

(Pope Francis, WYD, July 23, 2013) 



Religious Life – Vows

 You did not chose me,
no, I chose you;
and I commissioned you
to go out and to bear fruit,
fruit that will last.
John 15:16

 Religious life belongs unquestionably to the life and holiness of the Church, although it is a "charismatic" rather than a "structural" element; one could even say it is an essential expression of that holiness. It is a gift by which God the Father through the Holy Spirit animates and refreshes the Church with an outpouring of grace that calls forth communities distinguished by their courageous faith, steadfast hope, and passionate love for Jesus Christ and the world he came to save. Consecrated religious have a place in the heart of the Church because, by leaving all to follow Christ, they announce with their whole lives that God has made us for himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in him.

 The purpose of our life and work is
to give glory to God in total surrender
through our profession.
(CPS-Const. 104)

 We who accept the vocation to religious life make profession of the poverty, chastity, and obedience of Jesus Christ "freely, willingly, and purely for the love of God." In fact, our freedom must be assured; our vows are invalid if we have been subject to any alien pressure. We ask to be admitted to public vows in response to a deep personal experience of being loved and chosen, and in the light of a strong attraction to the charism of a particular institute. This impulse to "sell everything" to buy the field in which we have found the "treasure" (Matthew 13:44) is from the Holy Spirit. If our request is accepted, we commit ourselves to observe the evangelical counsels, to live in community, and to carry out a particular mission in the name of the Church -- according to the charism and constitution of our institute. Because our witness arises from a free personal gift of self, lived according to a way of holiness approved by the Church, it possesses moral authority -- the kind of authority, in fact, that is indispensable for transmitting the faith and accomplishing the Church's mission.

 The Second Vatican Council challenged us to clarify the nature of our vocation as religious in light of the "universal call to holiness" addressed to all the baptized; to adapt our manner of living, praying, working and governing ourselves to meet the apostolic needs of our day; and to expand our apostolic concerns in view of the Church's teaching on social justice. How have these three challenges affected our self-understanding as apostolic religious, our community life, and our ability to bear corporate witness?

 The Universal Call to Holiness and the Special Vocation of Apostolic Religious

The Council's teaching on the universal call to holiness held an indirect challenge for apostolic religious. If all fully initiated Christians are called, by reason of their Baptism, to imitate Jesus, poor, chaste, and obedient, and to strive for the perfection of charity according to their state of life, what is special about religious life? So what is distinctive about the religious life?

The Council teaches that the difference lies in the special call religious receive -- a gift of the Holy Spirit -- and in the response by which we commit ourselves to the pursuit of Christian holiness under a new "title." We are called to give a more radical expression to our baptismal vocation and to follow Christ "more closely" by means of our vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. As Pope John Paul II pointed out in Vita consecrata,

Vows

All those reborn in Christ are called to live out, with the strength which is the Spirit's gift, the chastity appropriate to their state of life, obedience to God and to the Church, and a reasonable detachment from material possessions: for all are called to holiness, which consists in the perfection of love. But Baptism in itself does not include the call to celibacy or virginity, the renunciation of possessions or obedience to a superior, in the form proper to the evangelical counsels.

The religious life, undertaken by means of the vows, presupposes "a particular gift of God not given to everyone . . . a specific gift of the Holy Spirit." We have received this vocation to strive for holiness by means that are "over and above" what is required of all the baptized.

The vows are promises made to God "concerning some good that is possible and better." What is this "good"? It is the good of a covenant relationship by which we freely and publicly bind ourselves to the following of "the Lord Jesus, who, virginal and poor (cf. Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58), redeemed and sanctified [us] by obedience unto death on the cross (cf. Philippians 2:8)."

While it is true that the "perfection" of the vow lies in the practice of the virtues, the vows themselves commit us to very specific obligations that, taken together, give distinctive shape to our way of life. By chastity we oblige ourselves to perfect continence in celibacy; by poverty, to be dependent upon our religious institutes and to observe their laws about the use and disposition of goods; and by obedience, to submit our wills to our lawful superiors when they command in keeping with the constitutions. We freely choose to do this out of a desire to return love for love by making a total gift of self. We make a serious, public commitment, on the order of marriage, and the Church, by accepting our vows, consecrates us -- sets us apart -- as public witnesses to the transcendent value of belonging wholly to the Lord and seeking first the coming of his kingdom.

 (Talk from Sr. Butler at Symposium on Consecrated Life)

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