The journey to Perpetual Vows and indeed the whole of a Little Sister’s life is punctuated by various stages along the way.
When a young woman is drawn to our way of life and makes initial enquiries she is encouraged to have frequent contacts with a community of Little Sisters so as to experience their life of prayer and service of the elderly. If she then wishes to pursue her vocation she begins the initial stage of postulancy. This takes place in one of our homes and is a time of transition in which she is introduced to the spirituality, community life and work of the Sisters. After several months the postulant becomes a novice in one of our novitiates.
This two year period of novitiate is one of intense prayer, study and discernment and a time for her to familiarise and deepen the life and spirit of Jeanne Jugan. At the end of this novitiate stage the novice makes First Profession of the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and hospitality. She then spends some years in one of our homes sharing our mission.
A year of formation in Church doctrine follows and before Perpetual Vows a Little Sister spends a year of second novitiate in the Motherhouse of La Tour St Joseph in Brittany, France. With other Little Sisters from around the world she spends this time preparing to give her life to Christ forever. It is a time of deep spiritual growth, in a prayerful deepening of the Constitutions of the Congregation so as to make the final gift of herself to the Lord with an ever deeper maturity and love. It is also unique by the fact that she can spend time alone and in prayer where Jeanne Jugan lived, and in the places frequented by her.
In order to progress in her mission of hospitality appropriate professional studies are undertaken by her. However, throughout her life every Little Sister follows a continuous programme of formation so that her spiritual and hospitaller mission is firmly rooted in the Lord who called her.