Q. How long does a Companion stay at the Convent?
A. For approximately 11 months (September through July) though exceptions may be made. During that year Companions will have several weeks of holiday time and retreat time.
Q. What will it cost me?
A. Room and board and some basic expenses are provided by the Sisterhood through the generous assistance of donors including the Diocese of Toronto. Companions are responsible for transportation to and from the Convent, personal travel, entertainment (movies, meals out, etc.) and personal medical expenses. Companions from outside the country are required to have proof of health insurance. Spiritual formation courses offered in partnership with Wycliffe College (University of Toronto) are free to those who audit; those who wish academic credit to transfer to their home institutions will need to pay the tuition fee.
Q. When can I apply and what is the deadline for applications?
A. You can apply any time after mid-September 2017 (to begin early September 2018). The deadline for applications is June 15, 2018 or until spaces are filled.
Q. When will I know if I am accepted?
A. Within a month of receiving all application materials.
Q. How can I apply?
A. Contact Sister Constance Joanna, Program Coordinator via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a detailed program description and a preliminary questionnaire. She will then follow up if appropriate to continue the application process with the full application form. Applications include personal information, work and educational history, a spiritual autobiography, references, a resume, and a photo. An interview is required (in person or via Skype or Facetime).
Q. How will Companions be selected?
A. Criteria include the potential benefit to the Companion, the ability to work creatively with others, a passion for prayer and service, a willingness to assist in the ministry of the Sisterhood and in some cases in an outside community ministry, and excellent physical and mental health. Selection will also include balancing women from various Christian backgrounds, cultures, work experience, personality types and interests.
Q. Do I have to be an Anglican to be a Companion?
A. No, we love to have a mix of people from various religious backgrounds. But you need to be comfortable with the dailyness of monastic community worship four times a day including a midday Eucharist.
Q. How many women will you accept?
A. Our maximum number is six.
Q. Where will the Companions live?
A. In the Sisters’ area of the Convent. Each woman will have her own room with shared bath. There is common living space for the Companions to gather.
Q. Where will the Companions eat?
A. In the Sisters’ Refectory. Most meals are silent in the monastic tradition (and there are often people in the Guest House on silent retreat), but there is ample opportunity for socializing and community building at other times in the day.
Q. What is the food like?
A. There are healthy choices for all meals and lots of homemade food. Food allergies and conditions (celiac, lactose intolerance, etc.) can be accommodated.
Q. Do the Sisters always wear habits? What will Companions wear?
A. The Sisters do not always wear habits, but we wear them on feast days, and when we go out to represent the Sisterhood. Companions wear “business casual” in chapel and when on duty in the Convent. More informal wear is fine on days and evenings off.
Q. What is the difference between a Companion and an Oblate?
A. Oblates make an offering of their life to God in partnership with the Sisterhood. They live in their own homes wherever they are from (usually Canada but some in the USA). They follow an individualized Rule of Life that integrates their Christian commitment with their family and work responsibilities. Their commitment is long-term. A Companion makes a commitment for only 11 months and lives with the Sisters, free during her time as a Companion of major family responsibilities (though there are opportunities to visit and connect with family and friends throughout their residence with the Sisters).
Q. Why would a young woman, a “Millenial” want to be a Companion anyway?
A. She may want an opportunity to “come away for awhile” (as Jesus said to his disciples) and experience life in Christian community.
She may want to develop leadership skills, serve the poor, learn to pray more deeply and deliberately, learn skills of discernment, find companionship in her vocational journey,
She may want to take a gap year in university, seminary or grad school (and still be able to earn some academic credits if desired).
And those are just a few possibilities!
Q. Will you take women from outside Canada?
A. Yes, if they have appropriate health insurance. They are responsible for their own immigration arrangements (which are not usually difficult especially for those coming from the USA).
Q. Are there any special requirements or expectations?
A. Companions need to be friendly while respecting the boundaries of others and their need for silence and personal space. They must be good listeners and team players, not bossy or insisting on their way. (See 2 Corinthians 12.) They will have a good sense of humour, be tolerant of others, able to share the joy of Christian discipleship and hold their own needs lightly. They will be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12.12).