Vocations : Formation

Novices at study

Every young woman who aspires to be a Little Sister will undergo formation. It is progressively “putting on the mind and heart of Christ” and imbibing the spirit of Saint Jeanne Jugan.

Generally, single, practising Catholic women aged between 18 and 40, who love God and wish to serve the Elderly Poor, may be accepted for formation.

Initial discernment

A young woman is encouraged to first volunteer in any of our Homes on a regular basis.

Formal discernment

Later, more time may be spent with a community of Little Sisters where a formal live-in experience will give the young woman exposure to our life in its fullness – prayer, community and mission.

Novices at common prayer


This is a time for consolidating the Christian formation of the young women interested in becoming Little Sisters. Usually lasting six months, this period of formation is made at our Home in Manila, Philippines (for the Province of the Far East).


Usually lasting about 9 months, it is a time of transition, spent in a Home where the postulants share the daily life of the Little Sisters before moving on to the Novitiate.


After a few months, the postulants enter the Novitiate. The novitiate is an intense two-year period of prayer and study. It culminates in profession of the vows of Chastity, Poverty, Obedience and Hospitality for two years. The Novitiate for the Far East is based in Bolinao, the Philippines.

Novices at play

Temporary profession

Each new Little Sister is sent out on mission to one of the Homes of the Congregation, where she participates fully in our life. This period includes a year of doctrinal formation, called the ‘Juniorate’. At the completion of their first two years of vowed life, the young Little Sisters remake their vows, usually for another three years.

Second Novitiate

Before pronouncing perpetual vows, each Little Sister spends a year of “second novitiate” at our Motherhouse in France. It is a time of great grace where each Little Sister becomes more penetrated with the attitudes of our Mother Saint Jeanne Jugan and the spirit of our religious family.

Continuing formation

Since formation is a process, it continues even after final vows! This ongoing, lifelong programme of spiritual and apostolic formation is to help us respond to God's Call with deeper maturity and greater love.

"Whoever remains in Me, with Me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from Me you can do nothing." … we aspire to an intimate and personal union with Christ. We seek Him, simply, in faith, hope and charity and discover Him in prayer. His love urges us to serve Him in the poor, and in this way to associate ourselves to His work of salvation. (c.f. Constitutions art. 102)