The Handmaid US Province welcomed Catherine Kirwan-Avila into their novitiate on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2013. This initial step is the first of several phases that Catherine will experience before becoming a fully professed sister. Following her postulancy and novitiate training, which is a two-year process, Catherine will take temporary vows twice, for a total of six yers. In the first part of this process, Catherine will move into the juniorate phase, and later, become a Sister of Vows. The final phase of her vocation training will be her tertianship or third probation, where she will complete a thirty-day experience of the Ignatian Spiritual Excercises prior to becoming a fully professed Hand. This long and extensive process allows for each Sister to engage in a meaningful period of spiritual growth, while taking part in additional opportunities that allow for professional and personal development.
In an exceptionally meaningful ceremony, with psalms, readings from Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, and from the letters of Saint Raphaela Mary, Catherine received the crucifixshe will wear throughout her postulancy. Luke’s account of the Annunciation, which details Mary’s Fiat, and holds special significance for the Handmaids, was also read during the ceremony.
Catherine is the sixth woman who is currently in formation with the Handmaids, joining Srs. Uyen Chi Dang, Theresa Vu, Jessica Kerber, Oanh Vo, and Michelle Cimaroli.
Continued blessings are extended to Catherine and to all the women who have made the commitment recognized by both Church law and the Handmaid Constitutions.