Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Returning from a long absence!

Aspirants 2015 - 2016

Aspirants and Sisters in Philadelphia ---
Papal Pilgrimage 2015!
I saw a post on Phatmass this morning in which the statement was made that our website is not too helpful in getting to know us! Oops! Sorry about that.

We're not keeping you in the dark intentionally, so let me see if I can catch up a bit.

So who are we?

An Office for the Diocese of La Crosse that helps young women to figure out their vocation and the place to which they are called by God. We are run by religious Sisters, members of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. We work with girls, women and religious congregations across the country to assist women on their way.

We are not exactly a "house of discernment," although a lot of discernment happens here. In terms of the live in program, the "Aspirancy," we operate as a House of Formation in the strict sense - we accept women who feel that they are called to religious life, but don't feel that they are ready to enter the convent just yet, and help them get ready. It could be that the woman is very young, that she has never lived away from home, that she is a new convert, that she knows very little about religious life, that she really doesn't know where she is to go, or other human issues where she needs a place to grow into religious life a bit more slowly than a typical novitiate setting.

The women come here from all over the United States, and when they leave here, they go on to communities or volunteer service all over the world - literally. (Hi, Hannah!)
Hannah Zelasney (2013-2014) and little one in Australia.
We also offer educational and discernment services, spiritual direction, vocation visits to congregations throughout the country -- and anything else we can think of and find time to do to help young women follow God's call.

People ask me all the time what we are. And I've heard several descriptions. A Bishop once told me that it seemed like a college seminary program (and we got a  lot of our information in the beginning from those types of programs). Other people say "pre-postulancy" which is also sort of true, except that we are not preparing women for one particular community, so there's a lot more general information.

We focus a lot on human formation, how to live in common. We teach women the basics of self-knowledge and help them overcome any weaknesses that might slow them down as they seek to enter religious life. We teach basic prayer skills and help them to find a good interim spiritual director. We teach the basics of the creed, the faith and scripture. And provide a sounding board for everything from How do I know????? to Oh my gosh I'm entering the convent next week and I'm freaking out!!!! We also provide information to parents, who often feel blindsided by their daughters' interest in this way of life.

We are ending the experimental part of our development. The last few years, we've been revising, reconsidering and pondering the programming, but that's about over. We've found a model that works for the women who come, so we'll be sticking with it.

I hope to have more regular installments for you - no promises, though! We are a bit short staffed! But feel free to contact us with questions!

God bless!

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