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

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


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 those in need. A novice is referred to as a Novice of the Sacred Heart (NSCJ). The initials "NSCJ" follow a novice's name just as the initials "RSCJ" follow the name of a sister who has professed first or final vows. 

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. Professed of Temporary Vows, are referred to as Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ).


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 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 of vows in the Society of the Sacred Heart. 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 of the Society gives each RSCJ her profession ring and cross as a reminder of God’s fidelity and love.

International experience

Every Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) preparing for final profession is asked to serve for several months in country outside her own, preferably with a different language. Most often, RSCJ from the United States – Canada province serve in a developing country, where our service is most needed. In addition, from the days of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, every RSCJ enjoys a period of preparation for final profession – termed probation – during which she joins an international group of other RSCJ to pray, share and reflect. This 5-month period of probation is centered around our values or community, relationship and contemplation. RSCJ tend to stay in touch with those from their probation group, beyond their time together.