Stages of Formation


Discernment is a journey through which Jesus reveals his loving plan to those who really seek him. For those who feel called to follow Saint Jeanne Jugan as a Little Sister of the Poor, formation is a process of progressively taking on the mind and heart of Christ. It means living charity, humility, devotedness to the poor and unconditional trust in God’s loving Providence, just as our beloved foundress did.

Generally, single, Catholic women 18-40 years of age may be accepted into the formation programme of the Congregation. Those over 40 who desire to share in our life are encouraged to consider membership in the Association Jeanne Jugan.

Initial discernment

If you would like to find out more about our congregation, you would be very welcome to visit one of our communities and spend time with the Little Sisters in prayer and service. You might also like to volunteer on a regular basis or to work as an employee in order to experience our life and spirit up-close.

Formal discernment

If you feel that God may be calling you to be a Little Sister of the Poor, you might want to have a live-in experience in one of our homes, this would give you the opportunity to experience our  life in its totality – prayer, community and apostolate.


Is a time of transition, which  usually lasts about 9 months. The first few months are spent in one of our homes, where the postulants share our daily life and are introduced to our spirituality and traditions. Postulants wear a dark skirt and white blouse to distinguish them from our staff and other lay collaborators.


As they receive a new name and the novices habit, postulants enter the noviciate and officially become members of the Congregation. During this intense two-year period of prayer and study, novices deepen their relationship with the Lord, their understanding of the faith and of consecrated life, and their love of the Congregation. Each year they spend several weeks in one of our homes to gain direct experience of our hospitaller life. The noviciate culminates in the public ceremony of profession of chastity, poverty, obedience and hospitality for two years.

Temporary Vows

Each new Little Sister is sent out on mission to one of the homes of the congregation, where she participates fully in our life. This period includes an additional year of doctrinal formation and further training in care of the elderly. At the completion of their first two years of vowed life, the young Little Sisters remake their vows, usually for an additional three years.

 Second Novitiate

Little Sisters making their perpetual vows

Little Sisters making their perpetual vows

Before pronouncing perpetual vows, each Little Sister spends a year of second novitiate at La Tour St Joseph, our motherhouse in Brittany, France. This period offers each one the grace of living where Saint Jeanne Jugan spent the last 23 years of her life. During this time each Little Sister becomes more imbued with the attitudes of our Mother and with the spirit of universality so important to our international religious family. The second novitiate culminates in perpetual profession, after which each Little Sister may be sent to any one of twenty provinces around the world.

 Continuing Formation

Each Little Sister pursues a personal program of spiritual and apostolic formation throughout her life. Sessions of spiritual renewal enable each of us to respond to our vocation with ever deeper love. “Joyfully undertaken and faithfully lived, this gift of ourselves, which embraces our whole existence, enriches the life of the Church. A vocation is a call which the Lord, always faithful, renews for us until the end of our life. By his grace, we will always better understand its full significance and will respond to it with deeper maturity and greater love, for the greater glory of the one and undivided Trinity”.