Becoming a Sister of St. Francis of Philadelphia

“What joy it is to have such good sisters!”    (Mother Francis Bachmann–Foundress)

Initial Formation Program

Our formation is rooted in the Gospel, in the heritage of Francis, Clare, and Mother Francis, and in the ideals their lives exemplified.  Formation assists us in our growth and response to the gift of the Spirit’s call to ongoing conversion.  As a process of continuous discernment…, formation fosters the holistic development of the person and integrates the contemplative, communal, and ministerial dimensions of Franciscan evangelical religious life. (Constitutions 51)

Vocation Discernment

During this time of discernment you will meet regularly with a vocation team member while continuing to live on your own, working and/or attending school, and giving service.  Our Mission and Commitment Statements will become familiar to you.  Interaction with members of the congregation is essential.  While discerning, all forms, interviews, and assessments for application to pre-novitiate/candidacy are completed.


The pre-novitiate/candidacy program introduces you to religious life, offers an understanding of our Franciscan charism and mission, and assists you in discerning God’s call and your desire to explore religious life in our congregation.

You will live in community with our sisters.  You are financially responsible for yourself, including insurance, room and board, transportation, personal needs, education (if enrolled in school), etc. The congregation covers any costs related to programs/activities that will require you to attend.  This is a time to discern your call to our congregation and for us to get to know you better.


Novitiate is the beginning of Initial Formation.  The main components are: living in a local community; study which includes our charism, Rule and Constitutions, and religious studies; a ministry experience; and an opportunity to live the Franciscan values.  The congregation assumes most expenses.  At completion of novitiate, with approval of congregational leadership, you will publicly profess to live the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in accord with the Third Order Regular Rule and the Constitutions of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.

Temporary Profession

Temporary profession is the next step. You make a commitment to the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for one year at a time and the congregation makes a commitment to you.  The congregation is responsible for all your expenses.  Ministry and living in local community is balanced with prayer and social/family time.

Perpetual Profession

With approval of congregational leadership, you will publicly profess the vows and your commitment to this congregation for life.