Becoming A Sister

View of Sisters sitting by a beautiful lake.

A member of the Relationship for Mission Team will join a woman on her journey at her invitation. Together, they enter into a process of discernment, a time when the woman has the opportunity to get to know the Congregation and the Congregation gets to know her. This happens as she develops a relationship with our Sisters. During this time she may begin the admission process of her journey.

A woman becomes a candidate when she is formally welcomed within the context of prayer and a simple ritual. As a candidate, she lives in a local community sharing in all aspects of their common life, and she’ll have a ministry experience. Through a process of mutual discernment with a member of the Relationships for Mission Team and her Sisters in community, the candidate opens herself to discover if she is called to live religious life and if she has the capacity to live as a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa. It is a time when the candidate deepens her spiritual life, experiences the life of the Congregation, and experiences community life on the local level. The length of candicacy is two years..

Two hands making the sign of a heart.After successfully completing the candidacy, a woman becomes a novice for two years. The Canonical Novitiate is usually the first step in this part of the journey. Our Congregation participates in the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate (CDN) in St. Louis, MO. The Collaborative Dominican Novitiate is sponsored and supported by 17 congregations of Dominican Sisters. As a member of the novitiate community, each novice mindfully lives the elements of Dominican life—prayer, study, common life, and ministry. She enters into a year of contemplative prayer as well as intense study of the vows, the nature of religious life, and the story of the Dominican Order. She has opportunities to experience Dominican Family with both Dominican Sisters and Brothers in St. Louis. The purpose of this year is to prepare the novice to freely make vows as a religious in the Dominican Order. Click here to read more about the CDN.

The second or non-canonical novitiate year usually follows the canonical year. It is a time to enter fully into ministry and/or study while living in community, integrating the learning of the canonical year and continuing the mutual discernment.

First Profession of Vows as a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa follows the novitiate stage in this journey. Having lived religious life for a significant period of time, the novice makes public vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for three years. With profession of vows, she becomes a member of the Congregation with all of its rights and responsibilities. After First Profession, she and the Sisters continue to discern her compatibility with Sinsinawa Dominican life and mission until her Final Profession. Final Profession is made from three to six years after First Profession. At this time, a woman will have manifested a capacity to live the Dominican life and be willing to make a life commitment to this way of life. Mutual agreement between the Sister in temporary vows and the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters is necessary before Final Vows, which is a lifetime commitment. Interested in learning more about this journey and way of life? Contact the Relationships for Mission Office for more information at

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