Candidate A candidate is one who is in the first stage of becoming a member of a religious community. This period of initial formation usually last for a period of six months to two years.
Celibate Chastity All baptized persons are called to be chaste, caring and responsible in their love for each other. By the vow of celibacy a person chooses not to marry and refrains from sexual activity as a means of freeing themselves for sharing love in service to others and to witnessing to the coming of God's kingdom. Men and women who vow celibate chastity commit themselvesto love in a single-hearted way, letting God's love for them and their love for God be the center and source of their love for others. They witness to others the way God loves us: freely, unconditionally, and faithfully. The vow of celibate chastity frees a person to be creative, and to use their energy for loving in a life of service. Prayer, community, and friendship are supports for the person who is called to live the charism of celibate chastity.
Charism A charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit given to an individual or to a community of person to be used for the good and service of others, and to help to bring about the Reign of God.
Contemplation Contemplation is the prayerful awareness of the Presence of God in the depths of oneself, in others, and in the world. It is the ability ot see, with eyes of faith, all things in God.
Contemplative A contemplative person is one whose life is guided by their awareness of God's Presence. A member of a contemplative religious community while not engaged in direct service to others prayers for others and witnesses to the coming fulfillment of God's love in the world.
Covenant A convenant is a sacred bond which seals a relationship of love between to parties.
Discernment Discernment is the prayerful process through which we try to decide
Ministry Ministry literally means "service." It refers to specific roles, tasks, and works of service designated by the Church to assist in the fulfillment of its mission.
Mission The mission of the Church is that for which the Church as been "sent" in the name and Spirit of Jesus. It is it's purpose, which is to proclaim the Gospel in Word, in Sacrament, in witness, and in service. The mission of a religious congregation is the more particular purpose for which a particular group of persons is "sent" in the name of the mission of the Church. It is that group's expression of a part of the whole mission of the Church, for which that group exists.
Missionary Although the obligaion of evangelization and spreading faith to the people who do not know Christ is part of the vocation of every Christian disciple, some persons are called in a unique way and make it the task of their lives to "preach to the nations." A missionary is a person who chooses to undertake missionary work in a native or foreign place, and is sent by the Church to be a minister of the Gospel. A missionary can be a priest, a vowed religious, or a lay person.
Mystery A mystery is a reality or truth imbued with the Presence of God.
Novice A novice is a person who has begun in a more formal way, life in a particular congregation. This time in intial formation, called the Novitiate, is a time of intense spiritual formation. It is an opportunity for the novice and the community to better grow in an understanding of their vocation, both to the vowed way of life, and to the particular community the person is joining. The novice is introduced more fully to prayer, study of sscripture, liturgy, the history and theology of vowed life, an understanding of the Church, and study of the history and charism of the religious community. Some communities have a one year period of novitiate; others have a two year novitiate.
Obedience The word obedience means "to listen". All baptised persons are called to listen in order to know God's Will, God's desire for their lives. And to really listen means to live according to what one hears. Every person is called to hear and to do the Will of God. Persons who make a vow of obedience commit themselves to listen to God's Will revealed in a special way in the community to which they belong, in order that the community can carry out its mission in the Church. A community of vowed religious men or women choose leaders, sometimes called superiors, to guide the community in this process of listening to and being faithful to God's Will, which is obedience.
Poverty All baptized persons are called to a reverent appreciation and use of creation. Those in vowed religious life make a vow of poverty, free committing themselves to live simply in spirit and in fact, to share all things in common, and to use what they have for carrying out their mission in the Church.
Pre-Candidate A pre-candidate is a person who is in the initial affiliation process, preparing to join a particular religious community. During this timethe person and the community discern the person's call to the community, and become acquainted with each other.
Profession Profession refers to the act of making vows. By profession, sisters, brothers or religious priests commit themselves to live the vows of celibate chastity, poverty and obedience, making a total consecration of their lives to God.
Religious "Religious" is a word used to describe an attitude of seeing reality from the perspective of the action and Presence of God and of responding to God's Presence and action by the way one lives.
Religious Congregation/Order Since all the baptized share a common relationship with God, all are religious. However, some men and women choose to live a particular lifestyle called "religious life." These persons join a community of people who live out a specific charism, patterned after the life of the community's founder or foundress. Religious make vows of celibate chastity, poverty and obedience, live together in a community, and commit themselves to prayer and service.
Religious Formation Our Christian formation, the processs through which we are all transformed into Christ, begins in Baptism and continues through the whole of our lives. "Religious formation" refers to that particular time in the life of a person preparing for the ordained and vowed ways of life during which they are initiated into that particular way of life. It is a time of more intense and concentrated "training" for ministry, and for living a particular lifestyle in the Church.
Sister A sister is a lay woman who is a member of a religious community of vowed women in the Church.
Vocation/Call Every person is created by God out of love, and is called to live in relationship with God by loving God, self, others and all of creation. In Baptism and Confirmation all Christians are called to follow Jesus Christ. This call to follow Jesus leads people to various paths in life: single life, married life, diaconate, vowed life of a sister, brother or priest, and diocesan priesthood. These are the particular ways Christians live out the call to holiness and service.
Vow A vow is a deliberate, free, public and solemn promise. Married persons make vows to commit themselves to love each other. Religious sisters, brothers and priests make vows to God to commit themselves to live wholly for God, by loving God and serving God's people.