A directress for each stage guides our youngest members and passes
on to them our IHM charism. The Initial Formation Program of the
Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is an eight-year
process of prayer, study, discernment and community living which
enables the Sisters to determine their ability to enter into the
life of the IHM congregation.
postulancy is an eleven-month period that "provides the gradual
spiritual and psychological adjustment indispensable to the preparation
for the novitiate. From the outset, the postulant should experience
the purpose of community as a witnessing to Christ by offering herself,
her gifts and her potential to Him. She opens herself to ponder
her vocation, to progress in spiritual and intellectual development
and to pursue the means to bring her to Christ." (Faithful Witness,
p. 53) The Postulants continue the discernment process while living
with the Sisters and entering into their life under the direction of Sister Mary Glackin.
Religious life begins with the novitiate where novices are directed toward a more intimate union with Christ, nurtured by silence, solitude, prayer and the generous giving of self to community and to apostolic activity.
Sister Martina Anne Erdlen is Novice Directress.
First Year Novitiate
The principal purpose of the canonical year is to initiate the novice gradually into the essential and primary requirements of the Religious life through prayer, reflection and instruction. At this stage, the novice's time is devoted principally to deepening her spiritual life.
Second Year Novitiate
The second year novitiate stage continues to prepare the novice to combine contemplation with apostolic love in a formation that is spiritual, communal, intellectual and apostolic. The novice is guided through a more intense study of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience in preparation for her First Profession.
The Juniorate stage of formation (the five years of temporary profession) aims to strengthen a sister's love for and fidelity to the Congregation; to provide a means for her progressive growth in maturity; to supply the professional education necessary for her authentic apostolic witness; and to help her prepare to assume the responsibility of perpetual vows. (Faithful Witness, p. 58)
House of Formation - Perú
The IHM House of Formation in Perú was opened in LA Planicie in 1991; now the Postulate is located at Escuela Inmaculado Corazon and the Novitiate is in San Antonio, Callao.
A young woman who feels the Lord's call to serve in the apostolate
of education as a Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
initiates her preparation with a period of aspirancy. During this
time, she learns more about the Congregation and its charism and
is accompanied in her discernment by a Sister Formator. After entering
the Congregation she begins a period of Initial Formation which
consists of two years of Postulancy, two years of Novitiate, and
five to seven years in which she continues her formation as a Junior
In the first two years as a postulant she will be instructed and begin the practice of prayer, life in community, and will partake of a study program both in religious subjects and those needed to obtain or complete a degree in Education. Since the English language is the one mostly frequently used in our Congregation, the study of English is an integral part of the whole formation period. During the second year of the Postulancy and the two years of Novitiate, the young woman participates actively in the Program for Initial Formation offered at the Conference of Religious of Perú (Confer). This program affords her, in addition to excellent classes, the opportunity to interact with young men and women of different Religious Congregations providing for great enrichment and the chance to reaffirm their identity with their own Congregations.
Special emphasis is given in the first year of the Novitiate to spiritual growth, theological studies, as well as furthering their love and knowledge of the charism of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. During their second year as Novices, professional studies are resumed, the young women go out for a mission and apostolic experience and they prepare diligently for the profession of the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. After the First Profession of temporal vows, the newly professed Sister is assigned to one of our missions and she begins her life in the apostolate of education. While living on the mission, she continues her formation receiving the spiritual and apostolic support of the Junior Professed Formators. Perpetual profession takes place after a period of five to seven years in which the young religious renews her vows periodically.
Read this in Spanish.
Discernment | Formation Process
Sisters in Formation | Happenings | Up Close