- Our Franciscan Way
- Our Mission
- Who We Are
- Join Us
- Donate Now
- News & Events
"Called by God to participate in the mission of Jesus, our growing relationship with God causes us to move outward in service to others."
-Philosophy of Discernment, Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton
Through the vows of poverty,
chastity and obedience, a woman chooses to live her life according to the
Third Order Rule of St. Francis as a member of the Clinton Franciscans. The
first years of this relationship are spent in "initial discernment." These years provide opportunities for each
woman to observe, search, pray, ask questions and "learn by doing" in order
to determine if this way of life is what God is asking of her. If she believes it is, then she asks to
make a life commitment before
God, her family, friends and other Sisters to serve God's people for the rest
of her life. Although we share that same choice for our lives, our individual
stories are very different.
Step One: Candidating
A woman interested in exploring her call to religious life may apply to become a "Candidate." Without necessarily moving from her home or work, for six months to a year she participates in congregational gatherings and meets regularly with the Initial Discernment Coordinator. A small group of sisters, associates and friends called a mentoring circle will help her process her experiences, as well as a professionally trained spiritual advisor.
Step Two: The Novitiate
Having decided to pursue her call to religious life, a woman becomes a "novice" - an apprentice, learning the Franciscan way and integrating into the mission of the Clinton Franciscans by living in community with other sisters and participating fully in community life and prayer while continuing to meet with her mentoring circle and spiritual advisor. Maintaining an active ministry, she will study Scripture, the writings of St. Francis and St. Clare, the Third Order Regular Rule of the Franciscans, the social teachings of the Church and the Clinton Franciscan Chapter commitments.
The novitiate ordinarily last two years. One year is specifically set aside for deepening the novice's prayer life and for studying the vows, theology, Scripture, prayer and Franciscan spirituality as well as the Constitutions and Directives of the Clinton Franciscans. And, as a volunteer, engages in a ministry experience with poor and marginalized persons.
Step Three: First Vows/ Temporary Profession
Choosing to formally become a member of the congregation, a woman requests permission to take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Clinton Franciscan for three years. She will enter fully into the life of the congregation, living in community and pursuing active ministry. She also continues in the initial discernment process which culminates in final vows.
Step Four: Final vows/Perpetual Profession
A Sister may remain temporarily professed for three to nine years while she continues to discern her call to Gospel life as a vowed Clinton Franciscan. Perpetual vows bind her to the congregation and the Church for life.
At perpetual profession, the Sister makes the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for life as a Sister of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa.
To learn more about life as a Vowed Member of the Clinton Franciscans, call us at 563-242-7611 or use the Contact Us form.
Initial Discernment Coordinator, Gael Gensler, OSF