What does it mean to be “missionary”?
As missionary women, we are sent wherever there is a need, either in our own country or in foreign nations. We are sent to serve in established missions or to newly emerging ministries. We term this openness, “disponabilita’” or “availability”.
As missionaries, we are called to flexibility and adaptability whether in institutional or non-institutional settings. Our religious communities are equally diverse, bringing together sisters of different backgrounds, cultures and ministries.
To hear a Missionary Sister explain what a missionary charism is, click here.
Para oir a las Hermanas Misionera explicar cual es el carisma de las Hermanas Misioneras, oprima aqui.
What does it mean to be a Missionary Sister?
As Missionary Sisters (MSCs), we are committed to a life-long journey of discernment and conversion in order to hear God’s word and carry out his plan for us in mission and ministry. We seek to grow and mature in relationship with God, with ourselves and with others throughout our lives. We try to be women of generosity, honesty, integrity, peace and justice.
We try to be friends to immigrants, educators of the heart, advocates of women and children and defenders of those who are most underserved.
To hear a Missionary Sister discuss what it means to be an MSC, click here.
Para oir a las Hermanas Misionera explicar que significa ser Misionera, oprima aqui.
What are the ways in which the MSCs minister to others?
We MSCs minister in schools, universities, hospitals, clinics, parishes, retreat centers, social agencies, outreach to immigrants, elders, AIDS victims, women and children.
We are spiritual directors, teachers, nurses, and counselors.
We minister in both institutional and non-institutional ministries. In all of our ministries, we value our collaboration and partnership with our lay collaborators and volunteers who share our spirit and mission.
Who would be attracted to our way of life?
A woman who has a personal relationship with God and a strong desire to follow Jesus is someone who would be attracted to life as a Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Someone who is relational, generous, down to earth, practical, willing to grow and learn, to mature in her faith and spirituality; someone who is open to new experiences, new cultures, new regions, new ministries would be a good fit with the MSCs.
We are looking for women who are open to discerning God’s will in their lives. We do not ask that women possess these characteristics already, but, rather that they are willing to work on developing them over time.
What type of educational expectations do you have for candidates?
Our expectation would be that the applicant be open to life long study and learning, as demonstrated both by formal and informal education. Applicants are normally expected to have completed professional or college studies.
What steps would I need to take to become a sister?
If you feel drawn to religious life, you may first want to initiate contact with us. Inquiry and application processes are very individual procedures.
Generally, they contain the following elements:
- Contact the MSC Vocation Promotion Office at firstname.lastname@example.org / 610-902-1039 for an initial exchange of communication
- Meet with the Vocation Director
- Participate in a program of vocational discernment
- Become acquainted with the sisters and their ministries
To hear a Missionary Sister explain discerning a religious life click here.
Para oir a las Hermanas Misioneras explicar si una vida religiosa es para todas, oprima aqui.
What does the application process consist of?
Making application to the Missionary Sisters is a mutual process. The length of the process is approximately three to six months and includes the following steps:
- Completion of application forms
- Psychological evaluation
- Medical evaluation
- Baptismal, Confirmation certificates and any certificate pertinent to your legal status in the USA
- Three letters of recommendation
- On-going meetings with the Vocation Director
- Attendance at MSC prayer meetings and assemblies
- Live-in experiences at MSC communities
- A visit of the Vocation Director to your family
To hear a Missionary Sister explain the process of becoming a sister click here.
Para oir a las Hermanas Misioneras explicar el proceso en para ser una Hermana, oprime aqui.
How will you help me through this process?
We encourage all who are interested in religious life to discern God’s call. Discernment is a model of Christian decision making developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola. This process invites us to use our ability to think, imagine and feel. This is how God speaks to us.
In discernment, we prayerfully reflect on our thoughts feelings and imagination to discern what is coming from God and what is coming from our own self-interest. This frees us to see and carry our God’s personal will for us in our lives and our mission.
How will you help me as I am discerning?
Once you indicate a desire to pursue a religious vocation with our congregation, a Missionary Sisters will journey with you.
Typically, this could happen through:
- FaceTime or Skype conversations
- Phone calls
- Personal visits
- Come and See opportunities
Once accepted as a candidate, what should I expect during the formation process?
The guidelines for the various stages of the MSC formation process are set forth in Journey of Fidelity, the International MSC Formation Ratio which is followed in all provinces throughout the Institute.
Each woman in the process is treated as an individual in light of the essential formative criteria during the various phases of her journey.
To learn more about the formation process click here:
What are the phases of formation?
An introductory phase
in which the woman is accompanied personally in her spiritual and psychological growth, has experience in community and in mission and discerns with her formation director readiness to proceed in the formative MSC process.
A pre-novitiate phase
in which, through personal accompaniment, study, experience, community living and mission, the person seeks to grow humanly, spiritually, and apostolically.
To listen to a Missionary Sister speak about developing a life of prayer click here.
Para oir a las Hermanas Misioneras hablar sobre desarrollar una vida de oracion, oprima aqui.
A canonical novitiate of two years
alternating times of being in the novitiate with a formal program of study and experience of MSC spirituality and life, with varied experiences of mission immersion. At the end of the novitiate, after an appropriate discernment, the sister pronounces her first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
A period of temporary vows
in which the sisters seeks to grow and mature more fully in her Cabrinian Missionary Identity while serving in ministry, continuing her studies or other mission related experiences. In collaboration with her provincial and formation personnel she will discern her readiness for perpetual profession in the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
To learn more about the phases of formation, click here.
What kinds of experiences would I have as a Missionary Sister?
Our ministries are very diverse. Depending upon your educational background and training, you can work in healthcare, eldercare, education, social services, parish ministry, spiritual direction and retreat work.
We have a particular commitment to serving women, children, frail elders and immigrants.
To hear a Missionary Sister describe daily life as an MSC click here.
Para oir a las Hermanas Misioneras describir un dia tipico en la vida de una Hermana Misionera, oprima aqui.
Para oir a las Hermanas Misioneras hablar sobre la internacionalidad de la congrecion, oprima aqui.
Are there symbols of membership as a MSC?
Yes, the Missionary Sisters wear a silver cross that bears the motto “Heart burning with love for us”, We also wear a gold crucifix ring.
To hear a Missionary Sister speak about the sacred symbols of the congregation, click here.
Para oir a las Hermanas Misioneras hablar sobre los symbolos de la congrecion, oprima aqui.
Would I wear a habit as an MSC?
When the MSCs were founded in Italy in 1880, we dressed in the manner of the day, much like widows of that period.
Much later, in the mid 1960s, a Vatican II document on religious life mandated that religious communities of women return to the spirit of their foundress. In the spirit of Francesca Cabrini, our foundress, that meant we were not to be separated from the neighbor we served. Therefore, those of us in the United States dress simply in today’s styles, but we are always recognizable as religious.
Many of us wear simple outfits of grey and white. Some of us choose to wear a veil. Others, do not.
To hear a Missionary Sister speak about the habit, click here.
Para oir a las Hermanas Misioneras hablar sobre un habito, oprima aqui.
Where would I live as an MSC?
Some MSCs live in apartments, others in houses or larger convent settings. This is largely dependent upon a sister’s field of work. It is important for MSCs to live in community from which we draw our strength and support for the work we do.
Do you have to be a Catholic to become a sister?
Yes, to be a vowed member, a woman must be a baptized and practicing Catholic.
Do I have to be a virgin to become a sister?
No, one need not be a virgin to become a sister. Women in our community are expected to have the capacity and willingness to live a chaste, celibate life.