The search for religious life with the Sisters of St.Anne - Madras (SSAM) progresses through various stages as individuals transition into religious life. These stages vary in duration. The following outlines the stages we employ to shape young women into religious members of our Congregation: Vocation Facilitation, Initial Formation, Aspirantate (one year), Pre-Novitiate (one year), Novitiate (two years), Juniorate Formation, and Tertianship.


We, the Sisters of St.Anne-Madras, who have listened to the voice of God as the prophet Jeremiah stood up and declared in a loud voice, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then, when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you; when you search for me, you will find me, if you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13), have a mandate to invite others to follow Christ.


Vocation is a gift given to us by God to be united with Him and bear witness to Him. Jesus Christ calls others also through us, hence it is our responsibility both as individuals and as communities to foster vocation to enable the youth to work for the Kingdom of God through our Congregation.


  • To nurture and promote enthusiastic candidates for our Congregation.
  • To reach out to young women and encourage them to discern the call of God.
  • To deepen their understanding of the Christian faith.
  • To provide clear information about our Congregation to young women.


Aspirancy is recognized as a period of exploration. Both the aspirant and the Congregation engage in mutual understanding and discernment of the aspirant's vocation to the Annites’ way of life. The Aspirants’ Mistress supports the aspirant in her journey towards spiritual, social, and emotional maturity. The aspirant will develop her relationship with Christ through personal prayer, spiritual reading, and discernment.

The eligibility

A woman seeking aspirancy should be at least 18 years old and typically not exceed the age of 30. She should have completed her secondary education with sufficient qualifications to pursue further professional education later on. The aspirancy period lasts for one year.

The learning atmosphere in our aspirantate

During this period, young women engage in discernment to make personal decisions regarding God’s plan for them. The purpose of this stage is to offer formation to those showing signs of a religious vocation, as they prepare to follow Christ with a spirit of generosity and purity of intention.

During this stage of formation, emphasis is placed on teaching the value of silence, study, work, rest, and other virtues, ensuring that they are practiced with upright intention and precision. These values are considered advantageous as part of a disciplinary, formative, and educational process for their future postulancy. The focus is on maximizing the potential of all their qualities, attitudes, and human and Christian capacities, enabling them to discover their vocation and respond appropriately.

The formation program during Aspirancy aims to facilitate an ongoing discernment process to ascertain the authenticity of a call from God to our Congregation. It involves providing human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral, and ministerial formation. Additionally, each aspirant is evaluated annually by the Formator.


Our candidates undergo training at our formation house to develop pleasant personalities imbued with character, preparing them to become dedicated religious workers in God's vineyard. Drawing inspiration from the spirit of our Foundress, Servant of God Mother Thatipathri Gnanamma, the spirituality of our Congregation, the nurturing leadership, the structured curriculum, and the systematic training process collectively foster a profound transformation in their lives. As a result, they are poised to blossom into beautiful and integrated individuals within our Mother Congregation.


The vision of the pre-novitiate is to make the pre-novices fully aware of what God’s call means in one’s life.

Way of formation

Recognizing that pre-novitiate formation encompasses the entirety of the individual, we design a comprehensive program focusing on holistic development. This includes nurturing aspects such as human development, spiritual growth, community engagement, intellectual enrichment, and socio-apostolic involvement.


A privileged moment of formation in Annites’ religious life

The Novitiate holds a crucial position within the formation process and the entirety of religious life, serving as an authentic initiation marked by the encounter between the love of the Lord, who calls, and the love of the disciple, who responds with the gift of herself, encompassing all dimensions of her life. Novices dedicate two years of their lives to the novitiate program. Throughout this period, they immerse themselves in the lifestyle of our Congregation, shaping their minds and hearts in its spirit.

The aim of the novitiate

The primary objective of the novitiate is to facilitate a deeper understanding of the divine vocation among novices, as outlined by the Charism, Constitutions, and Statutes of our Congregation. The aims of the novitiate are delineated by Canon Law and our Constitutions. It is geared towards forming candidates capable of wholeheartedly committing themselves to following Jesus in the service of His Kingdom. This involves internalizing the choice made for Jesus and progressively grasping the demands of the Gospel, assessing their aptitude for commitment and dedicated service, particularly towards the marginalized, and learning to live in communion with God through prayer, integrating contemplation and action. Furthermore, the novitiate entails uncovering the deeper significance of the Evangelical Counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and being trained in a consecrated way of life devoted to God and humanity. Novices also delve into the study of the Society’s Constitution to prepare them to embody its Charism and Mission. Additionally, the novitiate aims to foster an understanding of the genuineness of their motivation, emotional maturity, and personal integrity, equipping them to fulfill the responsibilities of the committed life within the St.Anne’s Society.

The goals of the novitiate

During this period, the four fundamental goals are to verify one’s vocation, cultivate a more intimate relationship with the Lord, foster authentic self-knowledge, and nurture a growing love for our Congregation.

The significant two years

01. The first year

It is a time of spiritual rest. The novitiate stage is a two-year program. The first, or canonical, year is a period of relative seclusion characterized by greater enclosure and focus, involving limited external interactions. Although more experiential than academic, the novitiate marks the beginning of the assimilation process for the Novice, providing a foundational understanding of religious life and our specific way of life. The objectives of the first-year program revolve around fostering a personal spiritual journey, cultivating an appreciation for liturgical prayer, comprehending the traditions of our Congregation, experiencing ministry through simple acts of service, and continuing human and psycho-sexual growth and development.

In our novitiate, we gradually introduce first-year novices to the essential aspects and primary requirements of religious life through prayer, reflection, and instruction. During the first year, novices primarily focus on deepening their spiritual life.

02. The second year

(i). Formation to apostolic mission model of religious life

Only through a radical commitment to the poor and the oppressed can one truly claim to follow the Lord as depicted in the Gospel. This concept has evolved in recent years, taking on a new dimension. Radical commitment to the poor and the oppressed is perceived not only as liberating them from economic bondage but also as establishing a genuine relationship with them. It goes beyond performing acts for others; it entails becoming a sister to those in need. Achieving this requires a fundamental shift in attitude, particularly towards the poor. Such a transformation can only occur when the individual is immersed in the lives of the poor, sharing in their struggles and hopes, and developing empathy towards them. This is achievable only when one’s heart is centered on God. Formees must be guided to understand that they are not merely agents of social change but rather transformers of society, grounded in Gospel values. Their primary focus should be on people, not merely on accomplishments.

(ii). Experience - reflection mode

Experience, not theory, shapes individuals during formation. Our entire formation method operates in an experience-reflection mode. Therefore, we organize different levels of experience, followed by reflection and assimilation. We prioritize experiential learning over theoretical knowledge.

(iii). Clarity about Charism living

The formation is driven by experience rather than theory. Our approach revolves around the experience-reflection model, where we organize various levels of experience followed by reflection and assimilation. We prioritize experiential learning over theoretical understanding.

(iv). Learning to be contemplative with apostolic love

During the second year of the novitiate stage, novices further their preparation to integrate contemplation with apostolic love in a formation that encompasses spiritual, communal, intellectual, and apostolic aspects. They engage in more intensive study of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience, in anticipation of their first profession.


The religious vocation is not a one-time event but an ongoing journey of being called and consecrated by God. This call and consecration persist throughout life, evolving and deepening in mysterious ways. Throughout her life, the religious undergoes continuous formation aimed at becoming more like Christ: sharing His mindset, His way of loving and serving, and His complete self-giving to the Father.

The juniorate

This period, spanning seven years from the end of the Novitiate until Perpetual Vows, sees junior sisters renewing their temporary vows annually. This stage aims to further, deepen, and finalize the formation initiated during the Novitiate, aiding in their holistic maturation.

Within each religious community, juniors are nurtured in their understanding of God and their relationship with Him through prayer. The community’s support facilitates their fidelity to their vows and consecration to God. Indeed, God’s grace is indispensable for living out the consecrated life.


Responsibly Responding

In our Congregation, we offer diverse levels and designs of formation, with the tertianship program holding particular significance. It is during this phase that we cultivate a group of mature individuals whom the Congregation acknowledges as professed members dedicated to the mission of St.Anne’s. Through this process, we foster a profound sense of ownership within the Congregation and commitment from the individuals undergoing formation.

Aim of the tertianship

  • To cultivate a profound personal relationship with Christ.
  • To enhance understanding of the vows.
  • To deepen appreciation for consecrated life and Christ's mission.
  • To internalize the vision of the Congregation.
  • To expand knowledge of the socio-political landscape.
  • To facilitate the reevaluation of one’s value system.
  • To further discernment, affirm one's decision, and fully commit to Christ through our Congregation.
  • To raise awareness of the challenges and struggles in contemporary apostolate by studying the modern Indian Church.

The focus of the programme

After completing the full cycle of studies (Novitiate, academic courses), and gaining experience through several years of apostolic work, Tertianship offers young sisters the opportunity to re-immerse themselves in the spirituality of our Congregation. This includes undergoing the thirty-day retreat of the Spiritual Exercises for a second time and studying our history, Constitutions, Church, and society. Following the retreat, Tertians engage in insertion experiences, often living among the poor and marginalized, similar to those encountered during the novitiate. It is a period dedicated to quiet reflection, enabling each tertian to stay connected with themselves, their emotions, and their areas of growth. Throughout this time, each tertian deepens their understanding and appreciation of the vision of the foundress more profoundly and realistically.