The aim of this period (about one year) is to continue the process of getting to know the community, and providing an opportunity for the Sisters to know you. The community provides opportunities to help the candidate to:
• Understand your own personal faith journey;
• Deepen your relationship with Jesus;
• Use scripture for prayer;
• Become familiar with ‘awareness examen’;
• Understand the importance of discernment in daily life;
• Reflect on your call to religious life;
• Participate in a variety of ministry experiences;
• Become aware of the multi cultural aspect of the IBVM.
During this time the Loreto Sisters have the opportunity to assess the personal growth and faith development of the candidate and to reflect on her suitability for religious life and in particular for membership in our community. A psychological assessment is a requirement to enter the novitiate stage.
This stage takes two years; it is divided into Canonical year and Spiritual year. During the Canonical year the Novices don’t go home until they have finished the year. During the Canonical year the Novices do most of the indoor activities and they try to cut communication mostly with relatives and friends they are not allowed to use mobile phones at this stage. If things are urgent the person will call the Novice Mistress first not the novice direct. At this stage they learn the constitution of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, study the three Evangelical Counsels and the History of the Church. They make the Spiritual Exercise of St. Ignatius of Loyola (The 30 days retreat) which must be successful for one to be able to move to the second year of the novitiate. They also go for inter novitiate courses which helps them learn more things about the Catholic Church and religious life in general.
During the second year of the novitiate the Novices go for one month hospital experience and they also go out to the field for two months to practice what they have learnt at the novitiates also to practice on their field of professions after community experience they go for interviews to the province leader and the council members then they are prepared for first vows.
This stage takes 6-9 years after making the first vows. At this stage the junior sisters are actively involved at the field and they work full time at their different professions. Though they continue with their formation of seeing the House Leader once a month, they have to look for a spiritual director whom they are expected to see often and the junior mistress who they also see often.
The junior sister has the responsibility of booking for her annual retreat and she is the one to request to see the spiritual director, the house leader and the Junior Mistress at this stage the junior sister can go for further studies as she continues with her formation before she is accepts to make her final vows.