Perpetual Profession After six years of temporary profession, the religious requests to make her perpetual profession of vows. The previous stages of formation and the six years of temporary vows are all ordained to the perpetual vows, so that by the time a sister reaches this point she may be ready and able to commit her entire self to Jesus Christ forever.
During the Mass of perpetual profession, the religious prostrates herself before the altar while a sacred litany of saints is prayed. This prostration is an acknowledgement of our complete unworthiness and utter helplessness before the sublime vocation to which we have been called. The religious knows that it is only God Himself who could have lifted her so far above her own nature to be able to call God her Spouse.
Ongoing Formation Religious life is a process of continual conversion that does not finish in the years of formation, but must be maintained and must grow more every day (Const. 262). In the 1990 document of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Directives on Formation in Religious Institutes, we read: “‘to follow Christ’ means that one is always on the road, that one is on one’s guard against sclerosis and ossification, in order to be able to give a living and true witness to the Kingdom of God in this world.” In the years following final vows the sisters continue to study and to grow in the richness of religious life until the final encounter with Christ the Bridegroom.