“One learns to walk by walking; how to love by loving.” (J. Kentenich)
To walk along a pathway means taking many individual steps. The way from candidacy to the final incorporation into the institute takes almost nine years.
The time of formation takes place in small groups, which we call “courses.” These courses are an essential element of our community.
What is a course?
Young women who enter our institute together form a course. Through the search for a common Marian ideal and through its realization step by step in life, the course comes to acquire its own identity.
The course sisters experience the times of introduction and formation together, and remain united with one another throughout their lives, even across great distances.
Common experiences, discussions, and living contact with one another in the course community serve to give a home and security. The orientation on the ideal gives them the strength and motivation to give the best of themselves, also in difficulties and sacrifices. The example they give to each other is a constant motivation and source of courage to begin ever anew.
The first step into the community is a candidacy of at least three months. During this time the candidates become familiar with the way of consecrated life and so are able to examine their decision for this way. The program includes a deepening of the truths of our faith and a first introduction into Schoenstatt’s spirituality.
The second step is the postulancy of six months. It is a time for the community and the postulant to get to know one another better, as well as a time of practical and spiritual formation and growth in the spiritual life – all within the community. During this time the postulants can once again test and confirm their decision.
The next step, the novitiate, begins with the solemn reception into the community. The novices receive the dress of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. The novitiate is a two-year time of introduction. It ends with the first juridical incorporation into the institute; the sign for this is the brooch with the image of the Blessed Mother.
After novitiate, formation continues, but now within the daily life of the larger community. The following years are a time of growing more deeply into the spirit of the community. The young members are engaged in various fields of work. During this time, a sister may also be sent for further studies or professional training during this time.
Between the first incorporation and the final incorporation into the institute, there are two further periods of education, each of five months. These are intensive times of maturation on the natural and spiritual levels. The sisters of a course come together once again for these times of formation.
At the end of these nearly nine years, the sisters are accepted into the community forever. The sign of their perpetual incorporation is a simple silver ring with a cross.