We are each called in some way to do God’s work, to use our individual gifts to make the world around us a better place. Responding to a call to religious life, however, is a vocation unlike any other. Dedicating life in service to God requires discernment, deep contemplation and, eventually, a commitment to vows that will continue to shape the contours of one’s life, both in the religious and secular worlds.
The Society of Helpers values each individual’s ability to discover and utilize their own strengths and talents to answer God’s call. Helper communities are found in neighborhoods of all kinds throughout the United States. Sisters live among the people they serve, and do not distinguish themselves from others by wearing habits. Their goal is to offer a supportive community that promotes the discovery of gifts, the development of skills and service to others while bringing God’s love and light to the world around us.
Becoming a Helper
The path to religious life is not complicated, but it is complex. For women who thirst for spiritual growth — who are committed to becoming closer to Christ — the first step is to determine if religious life is the right path. Through deep reflection and contemplation, those called to explore religious life strive to understand the very foundations of their spiritual selves and determine their vision for living in service to God. Deciding upon pursuing religious life is but the first of many steps on a lifelong journey.
Our community is not limited by location, profession or appearance. We typically welcome women between the ages of 25-50, although we are open to women of all ages who are seeking a deeper spirituality and are committed to sharing our values. We create small, apostolic communities with a focus on developing our ministries and practicing Ignatian spirituality.
Formation and Exploration
The Society of Helpers get to know women exploring religious life through traditional means – word-of-mouth, personal networks and serendipitous meetings – as well as through modern channels. By communicating our mission, Ignatian spirituality and independent, international ministries through advertising spaces in religious publications and on the internet, we are able to communicate with a world of women seeking possibilities in religious life. This phase includes exploring options and getting acquainted with our religious communities through digital conversations, in-person meetings and attending events hosted by the Helpers.
Consideration and Novitiates
This phase offers candidates and the Helpers the chance to get to know each other better by spending more time together. During this time, pre-candidates may become candidates and join one of the Helper communities to determine compatibility. Successful consideration phases evolve into candidates beginning their novitiate.
This first year of personal development, study, sharing with the community and deep reflection may result in the novice becoming a Helper at the year’s end. With the guidance of Helpers, group work, seminars and one-on-one education, novices learn to live the vows. This immersive experience allows novices to explore ministries and discover how they are best suited to live God’s word.
The Helpers take simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Lasting one to three years, these temporary vows are symbolized by the novice receiving a small Helper Cross to represent the young sisters’ formal entry into the community. During this time, new sisters focus on their ministries and deepen their spirituality with journey companions who provide guidance and feedback. Typically received six to nine years after the first vows are taken, final vows include a ring ceremony and a large Helper Cross to symbolize the commitment to the community and their ministries. To learn more about religious life and the Helpers communities around the world, contact us today.