Who can join ?
A woman between the ages of 18 and 35 who feels called by the Lord to give herself completely to Him, through a life of fraternity, prayer and service to young people.
Willing to get them to know and love Christ, so that they can “live well and receive salvation”, the young woman freely decides to respond to her vocation, consecrating her life to God for the good of young people.
She will live a mission of prevention, evangelisation and sanctification among them, through welcoming, integral formation and guidance.
How can this be done?
The young woman who feels the call of the Lord and would like to join the Congregation, after having spoken about this desire with a sister who guides her, must write a letter to the provincial superior to request admission, indicating her vocational motivations.
Stages of formation
Preliminary stage (application and discernment)
This stage, which allows the young person to discern and verify that the vocation and mission of the Religious of Mary Immaculate corresponds to her aspirations and aptitudes, is marked by a deepening of faith, personal guidance and the search for a better knowledge of herself and of the Institute. It is a time (of variable length, depending on each young person) which allows them to reflect on their vocation in relation to the Congregation and to clarify their motivations, while experiencing community life at first hand.
Pre-novitiate (or postulancy)
A direct preparation for entry into the novitiate, this is a stage that allows for growth in mutual knowledge, through guidance, more intense formation and sharing part of the daily life of a community for a period that can vary from a few months to 2 years. The beginning of this stage is marked by a simple family ceremony of “passage to the pre-novitiate”, during which the young woman receives a small cross as a sign of her first commitment to the Congregation. When possible, this stage is lived with other pre-novices. At the end of the pre-novitiate, having acquired sufficient human and spiritual maturity, the young woman should have sufficient instruments to confirm or not her choice for the consecrated life.
Period of adaptation
In the case of confirmation, the pre-novice will spend a short period of adaptation in the novitiate home (about 3 months), before officially entering the “novitiate”, where she will receive the novice’s habit.
A fundamental stage, the entry into the novitiate represents a certain rupture. Through the choice of a provisional distance (the novitiate lasts from 2 to 2.5 years) from family, friends and previous responsibilities, it is a question of immersing oneself in an atmosphere similar to the period lived by the Lord during his hidden life in Nazareth, leaving as much space as possible for deepening intimacy with Christ and knowledge of the Congregation’s own charism, through prayer, reflection, formation, community life and the personal guidance of the Novice Mistress.
In addition to the school of life represented by the humble daily life with the other novices, two fundamental experiences punctuate each of the two years of novitiate: the 30 days of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius and the 40-day “apostolic internship” in a community.
In Europe, our novitiate in Spain (Buitrago de Loyola, near Madrid) welcomes novices from different European countries, but also several novices from other continents, especially from America. Our other novitiates are in India, the Philippines and Burkina Faso.
At the end of the novitiate, if the decision is confirmed, the novice pronounces her “first vows“, during a ceremony in which she receives the habit and veil proper to the RMI congregation, and commits herself more firmly to the consecrated life through the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. She renewed her vows every year until she makes her perpetual vows.
This is followed by the period of temporary profession (or “Juniorate“) which lasts between six and nine years. During this period, each sister is sent to a community, with a mission, studies and everything that makes up the life of a Religious of Mary Immaculate.
Confronted with the realities of daily life, the sister must now achieve an interior unification of all her dimensions, in the face of meeting the multiple demands of life and consolidating and confirming her vocation, whilst living the enthusiasm of the apostolate among the young.
There are three probations to go through before being fully integrated into the Congregation.
The first is the discernment which precedes the entry into the novitiate.
The second probation lasts two years: it is the novitiate proper, which ends with the commitment of the first vows.
The third probation, or third year, is offered to those who (through several years of community and missionary life, of prayer, of study) have just gone through a long period of human, spiritual and intellectual formation, and it is designed to be the last stage of the process of integration into the apostolic body of the Congregation.
For about 6 months, the “tertiary” sisters (terceronas), living in small communities, receive an intense and tailored training, in a propitious setting, to prepare for perpetual profession.
This final stage is called by St Ignatius of Loyola “the school of the heart”.
The essential components of the third probation are: fraternity, a life of prayer more intense, prayer, spiritual guidance, formation (by the instructors and other outside contributors, in particular Jesuits, through teachings that take into account all the dimensions of the person, in its human, spiritual, emotional components…), but also moments of relaxation, etc.
The centre of this stage are the 30 days of spiritual exercises.
It is therefore with complete clarity that each sister undertakes the third year, as a final verification of the authenticity of her vocation, before taking her perpetual vows.
The life of the RMI
Contemplative in action, our days are made up of different moments, alternating between times of prayer, times of community meetings and times dedicated to the mission and the different services entrusted to us.
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Spiritual life :
Liturgy of the Hours
Ignatian Examen of Consciousness
Community life :
Life in common
Apostolic life :
Mission – personal duties
Activities with young people
Listening – accompanying…