Franciscan Sisters of Allegany
This section of our website is dedicated to assist women who may be considering a call to religious life, and want to learn about the Allegany Franciscans. If this is your first time visiting us, we invite you to browse the page "Why I am an Allegany Franciscan", where sisters share about their vocation stories and ministries. It's a great resource for information, reflection questions and more.
Prayer to Know One's Vocation
O Lord, my loving God, you have made me to know you, to love you,
to serve you, and thereby to find and to fulfill myself.
I know that you are in all things, and that every path can lead me to you.
But of them all, there is one especially by which you want me to come to you.
Since I will do what you want of me, I pray you, send your Holy Spirit to me:
into my mind, to show me what you want of me; into my heart, to give me the determination to do it,
and to do it with all my love, with all my mind, and with all my strength right to the end.
About Our Initial Formation Ministry
All of our sisters are responsible for the fostering of vocations to the Congregation by their example, prayer and the spirit of welcoming acceptance. This ministry is entrusted to the Initial Formation Team comprised of the Pre-Entrance Director, who has particular responsibility for vocation discernment and Affiliates; the Formation Director, who has particular responsibility for Candidates and Novices; and the Temporary Professed Director, who has particular responsibility for sisters in Temporary Profession. Initial formation ministry in the Congregation applies to all sisters and persons in the pre-entrance process, candidacy programs, the novitiate, and those in temporary profession.
The Initial Formation Team
The Congregational Minister, with the consent of the Council, appoints the members of the Initial Formation Team, whose role is to advise and collaborate with all Initial Formation Personnel. Members of the Team serve in Formation Ministry in addition to their regular ministry. They are drawn from the various geographic areas where the Congregation ministers. Together, they function as a team, collaborating, consulting and planning with each other. The primary responsibility of the Initial Formation Team is to oversee the Franciscan Spiritual Development Program which will provide opportunities for women and men interested in deepening their spiritual lives, especially within the areas related to Franciscanism.
The Affiliancy (1 - 2 years) is the first step in discerning a call to our Community. It allows a woman to maintain her current lifestyle, while getting to know our sisters, our Community and prayer life, as well as our ministries. During Affiliancy, a woman has opportunities to share in the life of our sisters while maintaining her professional and personal commitments.
After discernment by both the community and the affiliate, she moves into the Candidacy, (1 - 2 years) living in community, and making the transition from lay to religious life. She continues to discern God's will and develops personally, spiritually, and ministerially.
In the Canonical Novitiate (1 year) she gains an understanding and appreciation of the vows, and deepens her relationship with God. She also studies Scripture, the Franciscan Rule, Franciscan Spirituality, and the history and charism of our community.
As an Apostolic Novice, she then spends one year integrating prayer, community, and ministry. In time she makes her Temporary Profession, which is her first commitment of vows, and she renews them annually. She continues to nurture her personal, spiritual, and ministerial growth.
The final step in the formation process is also an ongoing one: Permanent Commitment. At this time she makes vows to God and the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, and continues to be formed and shaped as she grows in God's love.
For a copy of our entrance requirements, please email Sr. Colleen Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org
I feel I am being drawn to a contemplative type of community, but also feel drawn to the Franciscans. Does Franciscan Spirituality have that element? If you read Francis’ writings, you will note that he was a man who was totally immersed in God. Francis realized that rather than fleeing the world to find God, God is to be found in the world. The idea that “the world is our cloister” finds its root in Francis of Assisi. Allegany Franciscans commit to living in a contemplative stance. Although we have formal times of prayer and meditation, we strive to be aware of God’s presence in all creation, people and experiences we encounter throughout our day.
What spirituality do you follow? We follow the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis had a tremendous love for God and all creation. He was aware of God's presence in all creation and therefore reverenced all creation. Francis tried to live as Jesus did and thus tried to live the Gospel.
Why are Franciscan communities described as "evangelical"? Franciscan communities are sometimes referred to as evangelical, as opposed to monastic or apostolic. Though this may bring images of television preachers, the word evangelical has a different connotation for Franciscans. Evangelical means living the Gospel. Following the example of Jesus, who took time in prayer and reflection and served the needs of God's people, Allegany Franciscans live the Gospel in a contemplative spirit of prayer, with a simple communal lifestyle and dedicated service to the people of God.
Are there any prerequisites? We ask that a woman be at least twenty years old with education or work experience.
Is there an age limit? We suggest that a woman be between 20 and 45; however, we see each woman as an individual, and consider her particular life experience and circumstances.
Can I visit one of your communities? Yes. There are women from around the country who are discerning religious life and would like to get to know our community better, but may live at a distance from us. Realizing this, we offer women opportunities to spend some time with our sisters, sharing our life and ministries.
Do you wear the traditional habit? Actually, our community wore the traditional habit for many years until the Pope and Cardinals during the Second Vatican Council asked that Women Religious update their form of dress. The reason for this change is that historically, when many religious communities came into existence, they wore the dress or clothing of the day. As times and clothing styles changed, the dress of Women Religious did not. So after Vatican II, the Church called for Women Religious to dress as the people of the times, just as Jesus and Mary dressed as the people of their time. What sets me apart as a religious woman is not the outside, what I wear, but the inside…my relationship with God, who I am, how I treat people…all of this should tell others I am a religious woman.
What is the difference between a ministry and a job? Ministry means service. It is the work we do as we live out the baptismal call to service. My ministry is the way in which I serve God and people. I approach my ministry as a loving service, a way of caring for others. Hopefully, it is life giving for others, and for me. Religious Women have varied ministries: teacher, nurse, counselor, administrative assistant, social worker, pastoral minister, missionary, musician, computer technician, and many more. It is not so much what we do, but for whom we do it, and the amount of love with which we do it.
What do you do all day? Our days are varied and complex, so only a sampling can be given here. Prayer, work and leisure are vital for a healthy life. Many of our sisters have one main occupation or ministry, such as nursing, social work, teaching, or parish ministry. These have regular hours and schedules. But we are also available for the people at any time, which means that we must be open to the needs of those around us: the sick, old, angry, hurt, hungry, imprisoned, happy. We share with them their understanding, encouragement and support. We rejoice, cry, and empathize with them.
How long does it take to be a sister in your order? Our formation process has several stages: Affiliancy, Candidacy, Canonical Novitiate, Apostolic Novitiate, Temporary Profession and Permanent Commitment.
What is the next step? If a woman has been in contact with our Pre-Entrance Director and has experienced some of our sisters, and feels drawn to our community and would like to know more about us, she can become an Affiliate.
Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY
115 East Main Street
Allegany, NY 14706
Website designed and maintained by Denise Bunk-Hatch, communications director. Images and information not to be used without express written permission.