Daughters of the Heart of Mary in Formation, U.S. and European Provinces, on pilgrimage to the Motherhouse in Paris, France
Initial Formation Stages in the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary
Initial formation allows candidates to remain within their local communities, continuing in their professions, ministries, and education. During formation candidates continue to live in their own residences. They are also able to care for family members when there is a need. Formation as a Daughter of the Heart of Mary promotes human and spiritual growth and fosters interior freedom that enables the candidate to be led by the Holy Spirit; and to give herself more fully to Jesus Christ in every milieu.
The aspirancy is the first step in discerning a vocation. It makes it possible to verify the call to religious life according to the specific form of the Society. It is the stage of formation in which the applicant is assisted and accompanied to develop her prayer life. The aspirancy is a time to confirm a sincere desire to follow Christ. The aspirant is encouraged to develop her human and Christian formation, her life of prayer, and her social responsibility. The aspirancy last from six months to a maximum of two years.
Postulancy enables greater clarity of God’s call to the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary. The postulant continues to grow into affective, human, and spiritual maturity in view of a free and responsible commitment. She begins to learn about the history of the Society and the lives of the founders. This stage of formation allows the postulant and the Society to know each other better. Postulancy lasts from six months to two years.
The Novitiate is the stage in the discernment of religious life which prepares the novice to make her final decision in a free and conscious manner. It also enables the Society to discern if the novice has entered into the spirit and charism of the Society. The novice understands more clearly the responsibilities of her vocation as a Daughter of the Heart of Mary. She strengthens her unconditional love for Jesus Christ, thereby preparing the total gift of herself by religious profession. The novice deepens her personal prayer, grows in appreciation of community prayer and liturgy, and intensifies her sacramental life. She assumes with a deeper responsibility her diverse obligations, particularly family and professional, as the mission entrusted her. The duration of the novitiate is for two years.
The juniorate is the last stage of initial formation. During this stage of formation, the Junior opens herself to the Spirit’s action which strengthens her inner being and strives faithfully to become gradually, like the Virgin Mary, a contemplative in action.
The Junior continues her religious and theological formation. Accompaniment helps her to live progressively in an attitude of discernment in her daily life. The prayerful study of the Summary and the Spiritual Exercises allow her to deepen Ignatian spirituality in her life. A greater knowledge of the history of the Society, writings of the Founders, and the witness of the lives of Daughters of the Heart of Mary, fosters her appreciation of the charism of the Society and its specific mission in the Church.
The Junior renews Vows annually. The juniorate last five years. It concludes with the profession of Vows of Five years. After a first period of Vows of Five Years, a DHM may request in writing to take Perpetual Vows.