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Becoming a Daughter of St. Paul

One love—Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life! 

One burning desire—to give him to souls!
Blessed James Alberione

 

After Entrance into the Community

“When a Daughter of St. Paul reflects on the fact that she has been called to spend all her energies and her entire life in ‘spreading the Catholic Faith,’ she should be happy and should admit that the Lord has loved her with a special love. In fact, the Lord wants to associate her to his own mission of saving the world.”  –Mother Thecla Merlo, Co-Foundress of the Daughters of St. Paul

Initial Formation

To respond to God’s call, one enters the process of formation (hover definition: Formation is the ongoing process where a young woman docilely allows the Holy Spirit to transform her into the image of Christ that the Father has dreamed for her, so that she can be his presence in the world as a Daughter of St. Paul.) Formation is a profound journey of prayer, study, reflection, spiritual accompaniment, and apostolic and communitarian experience. As the young woman embraces the Father’s plan for her life, she seeks to respond generously so that “Christ is formed in her” (cf. Galatians 4:19) and she can become a communication of God’s Word through the Pauline apostolate.

Postulancy


Postulancy is a two-year period for the young women who enter the Daughters of St. Paul to get to know the congregation “from the inside,” experiencing life among them.

During postulancy, the young woman deepens her initial discernment to see if she is called to spend her entire life with the Daughters of St. Paul as a consecrated religious sister. She is helped in her discernment especially by the formation classes about religious life and the community’s spirituality and mission. Both the classes and the one-on-one meetings with the postulant formator assist her in discovering her gifts and limitations, and in delving more deeply into her interior and affective life.

Postulancy is a two-year program and is lived in our community located in St. Louis, MO.

The focus of the first year of postulancy is to guide the postulants to grow in a deeper knowledge of themselves and their relationship with God. They explore their inner life more closely, taking notice of the movements of their hearts, their motivations, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

They also grow in a deeper understanding of the Pauline life, prayer, and mission through formation classes on those topics. They also study the Catholic Faith in academic classes in theology, the Catechism, and Scripture.

The second year of postulancy is a more intense preparation for novitiate. The postulant comes to understand more profoundly what it means to completely dedicate herself in the Pauline apostolic life, living and working closely together, learning from others, and contributing her gifts.

The second-year postulants learn more about the history of the congregation and become more involved in the work of evangelization with the media. They build on the formation they received in the first year as they seek to allow themselves to be drawn by Christ into a deeper relationship. It is in this climate of prayer, classes, and experiences that the second year postulant discerns if Christ the Master is calling her to enter the novitiate, which is the next stage in becoming a Daughter of St. Paul.

What is a typical day for the postulants?

They begin their day in prayer, just as the professed sisters do. They have a half hour of quiet meditation on the Word of God, morning prayer and Mass. After breakfast they do some house cleaning, followed by class or study time, or they will work with the sisters in an apostolic activity.

The postulants are involved in our mission of evangelizing through the media in many ways in St. Louis. They serve in our Pauline Books & Media Center, and they bring the Gospel to parishes and schools through book fairs. They also help to run events in our center, such as Seniors’ Day (a day of spirituality for the elderly), Faith and Film nights, and our famous annual Christmas Party for Kids. Time is set aside every day for the Hour of Adoration. The day closes with evening prayer and supper together.

The evening is often free for the postulants to catch up on correspondence, studying, or reading. Some evenings are community nights where they play games, take a walk, or go for an outing.

The postulants manage to work in a lot of fun together and they collaborate closely in the apostolate. Their creativity never seems to diminish! Check out their blog to see some of the activities they’ve been up to lately.

Novitiate

 

Novitiate is a precious time to prepare for being consecrated to the Lord through the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience as a Daughter of St. Paul. The novice abides more deeply in the Master’s love, which transforms her entire life and prepares her to authentically communicate the Master’s love to the world.

Novitiate is the true initiation into Pauline religious life. In these two years, the novice becomes more fully aware of her vocation, experiences the congregation’s style of life, and takes on its spirit.

Novitiate is a school of faith and discipleship, a journey that prepares the novice to totally give her life to Christ. During the novitiate, the novice grows in all the aspects of her personality, developing her gifts of nature and grace so they can be offered for the glory of God and through the Pauline mission.

  • Through a life of prayer and asceticism, the novice seeks to unite her life to Christ the Master, offering herself with Jesus to the Father.
  • Through her prayer, studies, and experiences in the Pauline community and mission, the novice strives to understand and live the Pauline spirit fully. 
  • By studying the signs of the times, the novice feels the needs of humanity and seeks to embrace the Pauline mission as her own. The novice prepares to make a total, free, and conscious gift of herself to the Father in the closer following of Christ the Master with the first profession of her vows.

Juniorate


With first profession, the Daughter of St. Paul makes the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for one year, with the intention of one day making these vows for the rest of her life. (It is a rule of the Church that a young sister’s first vows are temporary.) At her first profession, the sister receives the Constitutions, puts on the habit of the Daughters of St. Paul, and becomes a full member of the Institute. She is a “junior professed sister,” and eagerly awaits the day that she can make her perpetual profession.

In the Daughters of St. Paul, the junior professed sister renews her vows each year for five or six years. The temporary commitment of the vows prompts the young woman to renew daily her fidelity to the gift of the Lord and prepare for her commitment forever.

During these years, the sister continues her Pauline and academic formation. She deepens her understanding of all the aspects of Pauline life—consecration, spirituality, and community—and engages more fully in the Pauline mission.

  • A junior professed sister is usually assigned to one of our small communities for at least two years. She shares in the joys and struggles of the community, takes on apostolic responsibilities, and participates fully in the life of the sisters.
  • The sister also continues her spiritual, apostolic, theological, and practical formation, integrating times of study and mission, preparing herself to carry out the specific mission of the Daughters of St. Paul.
  • Every year, the junior professed sisters of the nation or continent gather together for several weeks of more concentrated formation.
  • Before making her perpetual profession, the young sister will spend several months in more intense prayer and study to prepare to make her perpetual vows.

Perpetual Profession


In perpetual profession, the sister responds to God’s love for her by making the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience for all her life. In this public offering of herself to God, she commits to live this self-donation with her entire being. This radicality was strongly emphasized by Bl. James Alberione, our Founder: “ ‘I offer, give and consecrate all.’ All: this is the important word. Your holiness depends on that ‘all.’ If we give ourselves entirely to the Lord, if we offer him our mind, will, heart, body, everything that we possess and ever will possess, then we will belong completely to the Lord.”

In the decisive act of perpetual profession, the Father, in Christ, through the power of his Spirit and the mediation of the Church, consecrates the life of the professed sister to himself forever, calling her to live and express in a special way the fullness of her baptismal consecration and placing her at the service of evangelization in the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Paul.

This covenant of love is celebrated with great solemnity and joy amid the community, family, friends, and the local church. For the young sister, her perpetual profession is a day she will never forget, a day when God’s immense love for her is definitively confirmed, and her Pauline consecration is affirmed as her way to holiness.

At the end of the liturgical celebration, the new perpetually professed sisters are sent forth by their provincial superior to serve in the Church.

Ongoing Formation


Our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, encouraged every sister to live in a spirit of “studiosità” by which he meant to say, “Learn from everything!” Our Pauline mission motivates us to continue to grow in every area of our lives: spiritually, intellectually, apostolically, and personally. Our life is meant to be a life-long process of renewal and conversion to the formative action of Christ.

Ongoing formation includes:
  • an annual five-day encounter on various aspects of our Pauline life and mission
  • group sharings in community
  • professional updating (theology, catechetics, communications, etc.)
  • studies on a graduate level and/or specialization in a particular area of our mission

1. Introducing the Postulants

1. Introducing the Postulants
1. Introducing the Postulants
Discover the beauty and joy of the first stage of Pauline life through candid photos from the daily lives of our postulants. More About the Postulancy

Discover the beauty and joy of the first stage of Pauline life through candid photos from the daily lives of our postulants. More About the Postulancy
2. An Inside Look at the Novitiate

2. An Inside Look at the Novitiate
2. An Inside Look at the Novitiate
Novice formator Sr. Carmen Christi, fsp, shares the inside perspective of what being a novice is all about, and how a young woman journeys from discerning her religious vocation to preparing to make her religious profession--the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. More About the Novitiate

Novice formator Sr. Carmen Christi, fsp, shares the inside perspective of what being a novice is all about, and how a young woman journeys from discerning her religious vocation to preparing to make her religious profession--the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. More About the Novitiate
3. Meet Sr. Maria Kim Bui, a Junior Professed Daughter of St. Paul

3. Meet Sr. Maria Kim Bui, a Junior Professed Daughter of St. Paul
3. Meet Sr. Maria Kim Bui, a Junior Professed Daughter of St. Paul
Meet a junior professed sister of the Daughters of St. Paul, Sr. Maria Kim Bui, as she speaks about her love for the Pauline mission and what she finds encouraging as a young sister. More About the Juniorate

Meet a junior professed sister of the Daughters of St. Paul, Sr. Maria Kim Bui, as she speaks about her love for the Pauline mission and what she finds encouraging as a young sister. More About the Juniorate
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