The pre-postulate lasts from the arrival in a community until admission to the international postulate. It takes place in an international apostolic community in the home country or neighboring country. The pre-postulate usually lasts one academic year.
The aim is to offer the person a progressive entry into the formative process of our religious missionary life. The experience is lived in a community and involves the discovery of the essence of our vocation for Africa and the African World and a better understanding of its demands
During this stage, special attention is given to:
- deepening of the pre-postulant’s knowledge of and living the Christian faith and prayer;
- basic understanding and discernment of the Christian vocation;
- facilitating growth in human maturity, including growth in inner freedom and responsibility;
- introduction to simple and foundational aspects of human development;
- involvement twice a week in apostolic activity, if possible in line with the apostolic orientations of the Congregation;
- learning or improving one of the languages of the Congregation;
- the history and knowledge of the Congregation;
- learning to think objectively and to be open to other cultures, values and ways of doing.
THE INTERNATIONAL POSTULATE
The international postulate lasts two years and includes the study of the second language of the Congregation. It takes place in Tanzania (for English speaking) or in Burkina Faso (for French speaking).
The postulate is the first intensive period of formation. In continuity with the preceding stage, the postulants are progressively and more deeply initiated into the essential aspects of our religious missionary life, through accompaniment and the experience of an international and intercultural community. It is a time to discover her vocation and discern whether the call she hears corresponds to the charism of the Congregation.
In this stage, it is most important to help a person integrate all the dimensions of her being: physical, psychological, religious, socio-cultural and spiritual. To facilitate this, the postulate provides a safe environment of unconditional love and acceptance that will enable her to unfold.
THE INTERNATIONAL NOVITIATE
The novitiate lasts twelve consecutive months and takes place in the novitiate house in Burkina Faso.
The novitiate is an essential period of preparation for first commitment. It is a time of intensive and deep spiritual formation. (Constitutions n°73).
The purpose of the novitiate is:
- To lead the novices to greater intimacy with Christ through a deep spiritual formation;
- To discern the authenticity of God’s call, by gradually discovering the novices’ ability to enter fully into the spirit of the Congregation and to respond faithfully to the grace of their vocation.
- To help the novices live a life consecrated to God and the world, by following the way of the evangelical counsels according to our Constitutions;
- To promote a better understanding of the Congregation’s purpose, spirituality, history and way of functioning, so that the novice may become more deeply attached to the Institute;
- To develop the novices’ sense of the Church, so that they can situate the particular mission of the Congregation within the universal mission of the Church.
At the end of the novitiate, the novice makes her first Profession for a year.
YEARS OF TEMPORARY VOWS
The duration of temporary vows is six years. The Superior General, with the consent of the Council, may grant an extension for a period not exceeding three years. Temporary profession is renewed each year, in view of perpetual profession.
When they make their first profession, the novices become “professed members” of the Institute and participate fully in the mission entrusted to the Institute in the Church. As Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, they are “sent” to collaborate in Christ’s mission according to our vocation and to participate actively in the life of the Congregation. All the dimensions of apostolic life are caught up in this dynamic movement of “being sent”.
The purpose of the years of temporary vows is to allow the newly professed sisters to deepen their response to God’s call as religious missionaries for Africa and the African world, and to allow their vocation to mature as they become rooted in the life and mission of the Institute. They do this through gradually integrating and internalising the values and attitudes of Christ in the daily reality of community life and mission, according to the spirituality and charism of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa. In this way, each one grows in her sense of belonging to the Congregation and in responsibility for her own vocation, becoming confirmed in it, in view of committing herself definitively to Christ and his mission, in the Institute.
PREPARATION FOR FINAL VOWS: THE JUNIORATE
The juniorate stage is primarily a time to go more deeply into the spiritual life, a time to allow each sister to receive from God the grace:
- to grow in freedom and gradually integrate her life so as to commit herself totally to the service of the Lord and his mission;
- to be confirmed in her vocation, that is, in the call to follow Christ in the religious missionary life, as a way of living the evangelical life. The interior confirmation of the Holy Spirit and the exterior confirmation of the Superiors who decide on admission to final vows enable the sister to commit herself in the Congregation freely and definitively.