becoming a sister
Often, the Sisters are seen out and about having a good time, looking fabulous, spreading joy, and enjoying themselves. However, what people do not see behind the scenes is the great deal of work that each Sister contributes to the mission. We are also associated with fundraising (we do a lot of it), but that is not the entirety of our mission as our work spans across many platforms.
The Sisters do work including charity, community outreach, ministry, social activism, sex-positive education, and disease prevention. We organize, plan and throw events, sometimes acting as MC or host. We also have some very intense one-on-one sessions with the people we meet. The Sisters frequently act as educators for the community. Ours is a “ministry of presence”. Being a Sister requires a lot of different skills and an investment in time, energy, and money.
In a potential member we look for drive, passion, commitment, a desire to perform community service, the ability to handle many tasks with grace. Honesty and a genuine character; good people skills, and the ability to interact with others in a meaningful way are also desirable characteristics of a Sister.
However, having the drive and skills is not necessarily enough. The Order must be able to work together smoothly and efficiently. We are far from perfect, and like any family, often have our misunderstandings.
Despite that, we all work towards our common goals and often make miracles happen.
We are more than just another community service organization: we are Sisters!
Similar to our religious counterparts, we felt a calling to do this work, and over time the Sisters have developed a history and culture. There is room for a lot of fun in the Order, but we take our callings, and our vows, very seriously. The majority of Sisters consider this a lifelong vocation; the path may twist and turn, the outer manifestation may change, but the commitment to service never waivers.
Within the Atlanta House, we offer two membership paths.The first is the path of a nun, or Sister. The second is the path of the protector, or Guard. In either case, both are considered to be Sisters within the order and they follow the same regulations and guidelines.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Order, we recommend that you attend our community events, observe Sisters in action, and engage them in conversation. Get to know them, they don't bite (unless you ask nice).
Your path towards Sisterhood starts by conversing with the Mistress/Master of Novices. During this conversation, the Mistress/Master of Novices will assess your motivations for approaching the Order and try to determine if you will be a good fit. If they believe that you have the potential, you will be asked to attend one of our general membership meetings. At that time, you can declare your Aspirancy. There are four steps to becoming a Sister, the entire process being a minimum of one year
The Aspirant begins by declaring their intent to join at one of our general membership meetings. This is the first step of the journey and will continue for a minimum of three months. During this time, the Aspirant should be developing relationships with the Sisters, participating in events, and witnessing how the order operates within the community. At this stage, the Aspirant is not a member and will have no rights within the Order. If both the House and the Aspirant decide that this could be a good fit, a recommendation from the Mistress/Master of Novices will be required, and a Fully Professed member will be paired to mentor and guide the Aspirant (this will be their Mother/Father).
The voting members will then convene to discuss elevation of the Aspirant. If a 2/3 vote is reached in favor, the Aspirant is elevated to Postulant.
The Postulant path is the second step towards becoming a Sister within the Order and will last for a minimum of three months. During this period, the Postulant is a member of the Order, however, they have no rights. In addition to maintaining and building relationships within the Order, a minimum of three events and three meetings will be required before moving further. This is the time for the Postulant to reflect on their personal journey and motivation, and choose the path of the Nun, or the path of the Guard. This is a time for observations and learning for the Postulant.
Near the end of the three month period, if the House and Postulant still agree that this journey is a good fit, the Postulant will find a Fully Professed Member to be their main sponsor; their Big Sister. With the Mistress/Master of Novices recommendation and the sponsorship of their Big Sister, the Postulant will be brought up for elevation.
The voting members will then convene to discuss elevation of the Postulant. If a 2/3 vote is reached in favor, the Postulant is elevated to Novice.
The Novice path is the third step to Sisterhood and will last for a minimum of six months. This is a pivotal point in the journey wherein interactions with the public, and within the Order, begin to change radically. The Novice will be perceived as a full Sister and will manifest the outward appearance of a Sister/Guard, with a white wimple (Sister), or black attire (Guard). During this time, the Novice is still without rights and must attend six meetings and six events to move forward within the Order. With the help of their chosen Big Sister, the Novice will also plan, organize, and execute an event. Upon completion of the requirements set forth, along with the support/recommendation from the Mistress/Master of Novices and Big Sister, the Novice may request elevation to Fully Professed.
The voting members will then convene to discuss elevation of the Novice. If a 2/3 vote is reached in favor, the Novice is elevated to Fully Professed.
The fully professed (black veil)
Although this is the last step in the formal process of becoming a Sister, it is the first step towards being a Sister. A Fully Professed Member of the Order will have all of the rights and privileges of a Member: they may vote, represent the Order, and manifest as they feel called to do so. Fully Professed Members also may hold office, and help shape the direction and development of the Order. Our Fully Professed Members serve the Order in many different roles, and taken as a whole, they make the Order what it is.
Still interested in finding out more? Contact our current Mistress of Novices
Sister Soma Chextra - Soma@atlsisters.org