Are you interested in becoming a Sister of Perpetual of Indulgence? The potential to become a Sister is open to all people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or any other factor. However, the Sister journey is not for everyone. Being a Sister can be hard work and requires commitment. But if you feel the calling, then you have the potential. The Sister journey is one of joy and hard work.
Becoming a Fully Professed Member of the Portland Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a process that takes a minimum of a year to complete. There are four stages to a Fully Professed Member’s journey. Even after going through the process, a Sister or Guard continues to learn from their community, and from their fellow members every time they manifest.
The first step is to get to know us. You’ll need to talk with the Mistress of Novices and let her know you’re interested in starting your journey. She’ll assess your motivations for wishing to join the Order and will determine if you will be a good fit. Remember, desire isn’t enough to be a Sister of Guard and there are lots of valid ways of serving your community. This may… or may not be the path for you. Becoming an Aspirant is just the beginning of the journey. This is a period to give you an idea of the time, energy, and commitment being a Sister or Guard requires, and for you to look inside and see if you feel the calling.
When you become a Postulant, the fun really starts! The Postulant’s task is to learn about the Sisters and The Order. Postulants wear a black robe and grey veil, as well as the signature white face makeup. While Postulants do not put any makeup on their lips, they are encouraged be creative in how they apply makeup to their eyes, representing that at this phase of their membership journey that rather than lots of talking and speaking they are focusing on watching and learning. Postulants have two Big Sisters (Sponsors) who help guide and train them during this part of their journey.
There is a visible change between the Postulant and the Novice. Gone is the grey veil. Novice Sisters wear a black robe with a white bib, scapular, and veil. The white veil signifies the Sister is still in training. While Postulants had two Sponsors referred to as Big Sisters, Novice Sisters have one Sponsor referred to as her Mother, who she works more closely with as she gets closer to completing her journey towards being a Fully Professed Member. Novice Sisters also start putting makeup on their lips to represent that they are learning to interact more and more with the community.
Novice Guards have a very similar process. The role of Guards within the Portland Sisters is to act as escorts and guardians. A Novice Guard will dress in all black and wear full white face makeup, often adding just one color as a highlight, and like a Novice Sister, will have a Mother who guides them on their journey of membership.
When the time is right, both the Novice Sister and the Novice Guard will take everything they have learned so far and, with the help of their Mother and the rest of the Order, plan, organize, and execute a Novice Project. This is usually the culmination of their journey and often completed just prior to their elevation as a Fully Professed Member.
Fully Professed Member
A Fully Professed Member is a full member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Fully Professed Sisters dress in whatever way her imagination can dream up. FP Sisters are called “Black Veils” because, while Sisters can wear any color veil they wish, they are gifted with a black veil when they are first elevated to become a Fully Professed Member. Fully Professed Sisters and Guards take public vows to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt. We are here to remind you that you are not defined by the labels that others place on you, but you are loved, and worth loving, just the way you are. Period. Full stop. No exceptions. There are lots of different ways to be a Sister or Guard, and every Sister and Guard has their own calling and ministry, but those common vows to promulgate joy and expiate stigmatic guilt unite us.
If you think you might share that calling and want to explore this journey with us, feel free to reach out to our Mistress of Novices. We’d love to hear from you!