Stages of formation

Religious Life is a deepening of the baptismal commitment to the Christian life. There are several distinct phases in the journey to becoming a Sister of St Louis. The initial formation is made up of three stages: Pre-Novitiate, Novitiate and Temporary Profession. The overall purpose of initial formation is to facilitate the woman in getting to know herself, God, and the Sisters of St Louis more fully, so that she will be in a position to make an informed decision about whether she is being called to make a life-long commitment to God and the Sisters of St Louis. After initial formation, the sister makes her Final Profession, in which she commits herself to the Institute of St Louis for life.

For more information on the stages of formation, please click on the tabs below.


    The pre-novitiate period, which usually lasts two years, is an opportunity for the woman to deepen her understanding of the Christian life and to get to know the Sisters of St Louis better. She may help out in some of their places of work, e.g. schools, clinics. This time also helps the sisters to get to know her more fully so that together they can make a more informed decision as to whether it seems right for her to move to the Novitiate stage.

    This is a two-year period of formal preparation for religious life as a sister of St Louis. While building on the pre-novitiate experience the focus of these two years is on:
    • Deepening the woman’s understanding of religious life, and the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience
    • Studying scripture and relevant church documents
    • Growing in personal and communal prayer
    • Living community life
    • Working with the sisters in ministries such as schools and hospitals
    • Understanding human and personal development more fully
    • Familiarising herself with the history and Constitutions of the Sisters of St Louis

    At the end of the novitiate period the Sisters of St Louis evaluate with the novice her ability to live religious life and her continued interest in becoming a Sister of St Louis. If both parties agree that this seems to be where God is calling her, the candidate then makes her first profession of vows publicly. This commitment is renewed annually or biannually over the next 6 to 9 years. During these years, the sister is fully involved in apostolic mission and lives in community with other Sisters of St Louis. If needed, she also engages in professional training. The main purpose of the years of temporary profession is to deepen and strengthen the formative experience of the novitiate, while promoting a wholesome integration of the spiritual and professional aspects of the young woman’s development.

    At the end of the time of temporary profession the sister and community decide her readiness to make Final Profession of vows in the Institute of St Louis. By making her Final Profession, the sister commits herself to participating as a full member of the Institute for life. She takes responsibility for her ongoing formation and development in dialogue with other members of her community. The Sisters of St Louis commit to supporting her in this.