Steps on the Journey – Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph

Steps on the Journey

Becoming a vowed member involves a discernment in which a woman, through the calling of the Holy Spirit and with the help of the congregation, discovers where God is leading her in order that she may grow more fully into the person God created her to be.

A woman who desires to become a Sister of St. Joseph begins her life among us with a period of initial formation. This formation should nurture human development, a spirit of prayer, understanding and practice of the vowed life, growth in the spirit and spirituality of the congregation, and readiness for participation in our life and works.

Stages of Vowed Formation

Candidate Stage

The Candidacy Stage of formation is a period of time, ordinarily one-to-three years, when the candidate begins to share in the life and mission of the Congregation of St. Joseph. She continues the process of discernment, seeking to clarify the call to a deeper life of prayer, living in community and sharing in the mission of Jesus, that all may be one. This time provides a unique opportunity for the congregation to get to know the woman and for the woman to get to know the congregation.


The Novitiate Stage is a two-year period of time in which the novice continues to discern her call as she experiences religious life as a Sister of St. Joseph. These years are “Sabbath time” to deepen her relationship with God, to intensify the living out of our mission and charism and to foster human growth. The novitiate experience includes a concentrated program of prayer, study, reflection and limited ministerial engagement.

Initial Profession

For a period of three-to-six years, a sister lives in community with initial vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and shares in full- time ministry. Initial Profession is a time for the woman to live the vowed life as a Sister of St. Joseph. It is a time in which she integrates the mission, charism, spirit and spirituality of the Congregation of St. Joseph, as well as Gospel values, into her life and ministry. As she moves toward permanent profession she continues to discern and prepare for a lifelong commitment as a Sister of St. Joseph.

Perpetual Vows

Through a lifelong commitment to live the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, a sister dedicates herself to God, to unifying love in community and to serve a world in need.


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