Steps to Sisterhood

The Heart of Every Vocation:
One day a rich young man asked Jesus what he should do beyond keeping the commandments in order to become perfect. Jesus told him to go and sell all that he had and give the money to the poor and then come and follow Him.
We find the essence of every vocation to religious life in Christ’s word to the young rich man: to follow Christ at all cost and to use one’s gifts for those in need.

In every age there have been men and women, who obedient to the Father’s call and to the prompting of the Spirit, have chosen this special way of following Christ in order to devote themselves to him with an “undivided” heart (1 Cor. 7:34). Like the apostles, they too have left everything behind in order to be with Christ and to put themselves, as he did, at the service of God and their brothers and sisters (Vita Consecrata).

Vocation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
In every religious Congregation, the life of the founder demonstrates in a most excellent way the vocation of that particular religious family. Blessed Maria Schinina` was the founder of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Until 21 years of age, Maria was no more than a carefree girl born of a wealthy family of nobles. Her intense and happy life alternated between religious duties, which she carried out with her family and her love for beauty, which she continuously perfected through music, fashion and above all dancing.

The death of her father in 1865 induced her to change her life, which she often declared that she did not satisfy her inner needs. Her soul could no longer ignore the cries of the poor who were living only steps away from her home. Her comfortable lifestyle was too much of a contrast to the misery just outside her door. It was for this reason that Maria began to look into herself enlightened by faith and God’s calling, which became ever clearer at the feet of the Eucharist. She took off her elegant clothes and dressed like the poor, saying: “Let that which served my vanity go to the poor.”

From this moment on, she decided to dedicate herself completely to the sick, the poor, to the outcasts who languished in the most squalid hovels in the city, and to the abandoned children, without paying attention to the criticisms from people of her social class who thought she was insane. Her love for the Eucharist constitutes a fundamental characteristic of her Christian life and this she passed on to her daughters with the same zeal, making it the center of her apostolate.

Formation Phase:
The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus invite vital young women who hear the call, “Come Follow Me” to join their Congregation. Those who want to follow the call of Jesus to serve God through the apostolic work of the Institute enter the Novitiate to personally prepare for the religious life. This preparation is segmented into two distinct phases: the Postulancy and the Novitiate.

Postulancy:
Upon entering the convent, a young woman begins her Postulancy, which fosters the gradual transition from secular to religious life. This phase allows each candidate to experience the Sisterly love within the Community. Gently, her worldly concerns fade and are replaced by genuine concern for others. Each candidate prays, studies, and accustoms herself to the Congregation under the wise counsel of a Sister. The program of formation during the postulancy is to help prepare the future novice to become more aware of God’s call and to respond to this call by a sufficient free and responsible choice.

The Novitiate:
After the postulancy, the candidate begins her two years of novitiate. The first year of the novitiate is the canonical year, which gives more opportunity to the candidate to focus on theological studies and deeper prayer life.  The novice will receive religious, apostolic, doctrinal and technical formation during this period and after this phase. Intense prayer and total participation in the Community and its activities accompany this careful study. A novice is trained in the spirit of charity and the purpose of love, for as she is nurtured, so too shall she nurture others when practicing her vocation. Now the candidate’s devotion is tested by a complete examination of oneself; she must assess her strengths and weaknesses. In addition, she studies the spirit of the Institute and the Constitution along with the Religious Vows and virtues. Learning these guidelines enables a novice to demonstrate those qualities which clearly distinguish the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from other Congregations.

Upon successful completion of the Novitiate, a candidate commits herself to the religious life by making her vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. She then begins her fulfilling and satisfying work as a Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Who can become a Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
Any Catholic woman at least 18 years of age who wishes to bring Christ closer to people through her life of prayer, love and service. The age limit is 18-35, and an exception can made in certain cases. A generous, giving and loving heart is one of the most important qualities to becoming a Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Come and See
No matter how carefully or completely our aim, our works and daily life are described, the true meaning of being a Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus still remains a partial mystery. For it is only in experiencing our Community does the essence of Religious life becomes real. Imagine yourself standing at the edge of a serene lake. The warm air and the crystal clear water invite you to swim. Yet you hesitate; the lake is an unknown to you. Is the water frigid? Is the bottom muddy? Are there frightening creatures darting about its depths? Those already in the water cannot tell you how the water will be for you. They can only attest to their experience of it. In order for you to truly know the lake, you must dive in and swim.

The same holds true for the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Do you hear the call?
Are you unsure? Have you been challenged? Test out our waters by visiting for a weekend and sharing our life of togetherness. Come and see if serving God, our way, is appropriate for you.

Make your intentions and concerns known. We will respond to your needs. Your inquiries and our replies may be the answers to your prayers and ours. If you are interested in our Congregation, please contact us by mail, e-mail or phone call at 716-284-8273 or sshj_vocation@yahoo.com
We will respond to you immediately.

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