Some inquirers writes: “My goal is to enter religious life by such-and-such a date.” Entrance into any religious community is a lengthy process. It means taking time to get to know that religious community and that community getting to know you. That getting-to-know process could take 8-12 months prior to going through the application process. Only after knowing each other, for my religious community and most likely for others, is the application process begun. That, too, is a lengthy process of 6-8-12 months. When you are at the point of seriously looking into which religious community God might be calling you, that means becoming familiar with a variety of religious communities to know which is a good fit for you. That is a lengthy engagement. The process begins in a variety of ways: telephone chats, personal visits, email conversations, Skype conversations, studying materials sent to you by the communities of your choice, etc., attending “Come and See” sessions or “Discernment” sessions that the vocation director arranges or which you schedule individually with the vocation director. So you can see, discernment of a religious vocation and which community to enter is a lengthy process, just as with marriage. A wise person does not enter marriage hastily but dates a number of persons or one or two persons for a lengthy period of time. Some persons date their partner for 3-4-5-6 years before taking the final step of marriage. Entering a permanent commitment to a lifelong partner is not done quickly; neither is entering religious life.
This getting to know a religious community continues after one enters the postulancy, the first step in training to become a sister. The postulancy is a 1-2 year period, followed by 1-2 year novitiate training and then a minmum of four years of temporary vows. Only then is a permanent commitment made to be a life-long member. As yhou can see, that whole time is similar to the dating period that precedes marriage, as vows are not taken lightly in either vocation.
I would be happy to converse with you by phone concerning this issue. If you would like to do that, please let me know when would be a good time to call you. I can be reached at 973-627-0424 or via email, email@example.com.