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as Sister


Bernardine Franciscan Sisters are called by God to live the Gospel in the Spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. We profess public vows of poverty chastity, and obedience, and live a life of contemplative prayer and active ministry in fraternity “sister and servant to all.”

Women are accompanied by the Formation Team during their time of discernment.

Sister Madonna Marie Harvath, OSF
--Journeys with Interested Women

Sister Paula Marie Nowak,OSF
--Affiliates and Candidates

  Formal discernment with the Bernardine Franciscans includes the following:

“Take nothing for the journey; sell what you own…come be a follower of mine…”
                                                                                                   -Francis of Assisi

The Affiliate participates in a 6 month to one year program with the Congregation prior to formal entrance. During this phase, the woman maintains her current lifestyle, remains employed and has opportunities to observe religious life in a more intimate setting. She participates in the Franciscan Journey Discernment Program with the Affiliate Minister or her delegate.

“Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.”                                                                                                          Matthew 7.7

After appropriate dialogue. prayer and evaluation, the woman may be admitted to the Congregation as a Candidate. During this one year (approximately) she begins a formal study of religious life, the history and charism of the Congregation, and a more intense program of personal and spiritual growth to include the Franciscan Journey Continues Program.

“Within themselves let them always make a dwelling place and a home for the Lord God, Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit….”                                           TOR Rule

Religious life formally begins in the Novitiate, which is a period of continuing discernment and in-depth formation. It is a two year program of study and prayer. The canonical year is spent in a designated house of formation, and is devoted to a study of the Franciscan Rule, the Constitutions and the vows. During the second year, the novice has an opportunity to spend time experiencing various ministries of the Congregation, and continues studies to prepare for temporary profession.

Temporary Professed Sister
“Among the many graces we have received and continue to receive…our vocation holds first place."                                                                   --Testament of Clare, 1

The temporary professed Sister lives the vowed life in fraternity while ministering to God’s people. During this time of prayer and continued discernment - which lasts between 3 and 6 years - the Sister explores and confirms her commitment as a Bernardine Franciscan.

Perpetually Professed Sister
“May we learn how to take on our shoulders the yoke of the Lord in love and joy for the perfect following of Christ, according to the example of Francis the poor, humble lover of the cross.”                                                         -Roman-Franciscan Rite of Profession

After a minimum of three years as a temporary professed Sister and mutual discernment, the Sister may be accepted for her perpetual profession of vows and full incorporation into the Congregation as “sister and servant to all.”

Newest Members in the United States


Left to Right:

Sister Brigid Lucinda Scott, OSF
Temporary Professed from Canada
Currently in ministry in Brazil.

Sister Francesca Therese Bozzo, OSF
Currently earning a Bachelor of Pastoral Theology
at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, MI.

Sister Cara Lucille Garofalo, OSF
Currently in ministry as a chaplain
in St Joseph Hopsital, Reading, PA.

Contact the Vocation Director

Sister Madonna Marie Harvath, OSF
Office of Vocations
Bernardine Franciscan Sisters
450 St. Bernardine Street
Reading, PA 19607