Incorporation Process

Sister Giovanna and Sister Ellen.
Sister Giovanna on the day of her first profession with Sister Ellen.

The incorporation program consists of three phases: the candidacy, the novitiate, and a period of temporary profession. During this entire period there is continual conversation, assessment and feedback regarding the woman’s progress and her suitability for the IHM lifestyle.


During the candidacy, a woman lives in community with IHM sisters and participates in the work of the Congregation. The Director of Incorporation initiates her into the Congregation’s prayer life, history, and spirit. After a period of one to two years, she is accepted into the novitiate.


During the novitiate a woman learns more about the Congregation, its structure, and the vowed life. The first year provides the sister with an opportunity to develop her relationship with God through prayer and study. The second year is a time during which the novice learns to integrate prayer, the active life of the Congregation and the vowed commitment. Upon completion of the novitiate phase, the sister requests to make temporary vows for a period of at least three years.

Sister Mary Elaine Anderson.  Director of Formation.
Sister Mary Elaine Anderson, IHM

Temporary Profession

During the time of temporary profession, the sister continues to discern her call to the Congregation and to integrate and deepen the spiritual, communal, and ministerial aspects of her life, while living in a local community and participating in full-time ministry.

Full Membership

After an appropriate time in temporary profession, the sister requests to make public profession of perpetual vows. At this point, initial incorporation ends. The sister is admitted to full membership in the Congregation and commits herself to lifelong, ongoing formation.

An integral component of the IHM Congregation incorporation process is participation in the Intercommunity Formation Program of the Religious Formation Conference, which provides integrative learning and leisure times with other men’s and women’s congregations.