Stages of Formation

A life-long process

Initial formation refers to the time of spiritual formation as a candidate, novice or professed of temporary vows. Spiritual formation consists of prayer, reflection, studies in theology, scripture and documents of the Society of the Sacred Heart. These later documents focus on our history, tradition, and charism as well as more recent documents that come from our General Chapters and Provincial Assemblies that center on how we live our lives in the world today.


Candidacy refers to the period of time, usually one year, when a young woman, a candidate, is testing her call to be a Religious of the Sacred Heart by living in community with us and sharing in our life. This is the first step in entering the Society of the Sacred Heart.


Noviceship refers to a two year period of time that follows candidacy. During this period the novice enters more deeply into the life of the Society by prayer, reflection and study. There is also a time for working in a ministry and working among the needy.

Professed of Temporary Vows

Professed of Temporary Vows refers to those who, after completing their noviceship, have made their first vows. They continue to be in this period of formation for at least six years after which they make their final profession. Final profession generally takes place in Rome where we have our International Mother House.


Probation refers to the period of final preparation, usually in Rome, before a Professed of Temporary Vows makes her Final Vows. It is a time of prayer, reflection and further deepening one’s love and understanding of the Society. Because RSCJ sisters of Temporary Vows from various parts of the world gather together for this experience it is also a unique opportunity to develop a broader understanding of the internationality of the Society. Relationships are developed during this time of Probation that are often maintained throughout the newly professes’ lives.


Having grown in God’s Love, women who have completed the initial formation process are invited to make their final profession in the Society. Each Religious of the Sacred Heart publically vows obedience, poverty and chastity and dedicates her self to use her gifts and talents to the service of the Society, especially to the education of youth. The Superior General gives each RSCJ her profession ring and cross as a reminder of God’s fidelity and love.

Formation in the Society is a life-long process. Together, RSCJ live out their commitment in mission and in service.

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