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Yes, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist is a Pontifical Religious Order of the Catholic Church.
Some communities only have one apostolate, such as teaching, or health care or social work. Why does your community work in so many different areas or apostolates?
As a religious Community we strive to integrate each Sister’s gifts and talents into our common Franciscan mission of rebuilding the Church while promoting the dignity of all life, especially human life. We recognize that this mission can be served through a network of services and professions. Thus our community does not have a single area of professional work.
We participate in the Eucharistic Prayer of the Church each day through the Mass. Each day we pray together as a Community the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Church in the morning, evening and night. We also spend time in meditation, reflection and personal prayer every day in our chapels. As a Eucharistic Community, we have a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and have hours of adoration on a regular basis.
The process of becoming a Sister includes these phases: pre-postulancy for an unspecified period of time, postulancy for one year, novitiate for two years, first vows for three to nine years, and perpetual vows which lasts for the rest of the Sister’s life. During the time of formation, the woman discovers the meaning of a vocation from God, and with the Community, how her gifts and talents might become integrated in the mission of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist.
What we wear is called a “habit.” We wear this distinctive clothing to make it apparent that we are religious women, but more significantly, we believe that the particular habit we wear expresses who we are as Religious Women bonded together in the Community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. Our habit is a simple full length brown dress with a brown Franciscan cord, a black veil and our community insignia. At the time of perpetual vows, a Sister receives a ring to be worn on her left ring finger.
Each woman receives a religious name from our Mother General at the time of her entrance into the novitiate. The reception of a religious name is a sign of a woman’s particular call within the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. A woman’s baptismal name may be incorporated into her religious name, or the Mother General may decide to retain the woman’s baptismal name as her religious name.
A vow is a promise made to God and sanctioned by the Church. We profess three vows: chastity, poverty and obedience. These vows are known as the “evangelical counsels,” in other words, they are ways to help men or women live a life according to the Gospel of Christ. The vows are taken for life, and they free the Sisters to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to their vocation.
There is no set age at which to discover that God is calling you to religious life. While some Sisters knew in their youth that they had a special calling from God, many women realize in their twenties or very early thirties that they are not satisfied with their lives and are looking for more meaning. Coming to that point often takes time and is an inner process of growth. A religious vocation is a precious gift from God that stirs the hearts of men and women to give their all. Relating to a religious community is one of the best ways to discover whether God might be calling you through a religious vocation.
Most women who begin the formation process with our Community have a college degree and/or significant work experience. Many women continue their studies after their entrance into our Community in order to continue their personal and professional development.