An Aspirant is someone who is just beginning on their journey. As an Aspirant, you are expected to be in attendance for a minimum of three (3) months to as many sisters events as you can make, and at least one meeting each month. This is intended to give you an idea of the level of time, energy, and emotional commitment. If you feel that you can handle it, after a minimum of three (3) months, you would ask to progress to Postulant.
A Postulant is where the fun starts! For a minimum of three (3) months, your task is to learn about the Sisters and the House. You get to wear the tank-top black dress with a white collared dress shirt underneath, and the Postulant "visor" headpiece. You begin to experiment with the white face makeup with assistance from your Big Sister or Big Brother. As a Postulant, you may paint your eyes and cheeks, but not your mouth. Symbolically, this shows that you are learning through observation (the eyes), but you are not qualified to represent the House yet (no mouth). On a practical side, this gives you an opportunity to practice your make up skills, since everyone looks at your eyes first. When you have met the requirements, you would ask to be progressed to Novice.
A Novice Sister or Guard is now a step away from his/her final vows. For the next minimum of six (6) months, having just learned about the Sisters, you now learn how to be a Sister and take your Novice vows of community service. There is a visual change as well. Gone are the tank top black dress with white collared dress shirt and the "visor" headpiece. They are replaced with the Fully Professed headpiece with a white veil and your choice of BLACK dress. And, not to forget, you now have a mouth! You get to paint lips; You will need them now, 'cause you're part of the SHOW! Actually, maybe not a show, but each Novice Sister and Guard is required to produce a Novice Project. This is an event, fundraiser, whatever, that teaches you how to utilize the resources of the House so that when you become a Fully Professed Sister or Guard, you will be a one nun fund-, awareness, hell-raising machine! At the end of the minimum of six (6) months, it is time for the big progression to become a Fully Professed Sister or Guard.
A Fully Professed, FP, or "black veil" is a full member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Fully Professed headpiece remains but the white veil has been traded for black (or any other color of your choosing). You are now able to wear any "habit" of your choosing also. You then take your final vows of community service. This promotion also means that you are now qualified to represent every other member of the Order and are able to support your community to the best of your abilities and talents. Once you are a Fully Professed Sister or Guard, you are a Sister or Guard for life!
To become a Fully Professed Sister of Perpetual Indulgence is not a short and simple process. By the time a Sister or Guard recites their final vows, she/he is ready to represent the Order to their community and has earned the community's trust and respect. Although each House of the Sisters has different criteria for progression, it generally takes almost a year of blood, sweat, and tears (blood from the fabulous shoes that don't quite fit, sweat from the darling black wool Chanel number you thought was a good idea for "parade wear", and tears from the eyelash glue that managed to seal your eye shut). There are four levels of learning what it takes to become a nun: Aspirant, Postulant, Novice, and Fully Professed.