Sinsinawa dominican sisters

Becoming a sister

CDN Group

Responding to God’s Call in Your Life

Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters are dedicated to preaching and teaching the Gospel. We believe that at the heart of ministry is relationship.  Are you a single, Catholic woman between the ages of 20 and 45?

Join our community and dedicate yourself to prayer, compassion, and action.


The Process

Learn more about the process of discernment, reflection, growth, and grace.

New Member Profiles

Meet our new members and learn more about their journey.


Answers to questions we hear from women discerning a call to religious life.

Catherine’s Cafe

A vocation blog where we invite you to learn more and converse about religious life.

The process



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.



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 Chicago, IL. 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 Chicago. 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

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What can women do to know if they have a call to vowed life as a Sister?
We all have needed to pray to discern our vocation in life. Women interested in becoming a vowed Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa should contact our Relationship for Mission Office at (608) 748-4411, ext. 279, or e-mail We would like you to come and spend time with us, Catholic Sisters proclaiming the Gospel through preaching, teaching, and participating in building a holy and just Church and society.

Q. How many congregation members do you have? What ministries are you involved with and where are they located?
Currently, there are more than 250 Sisters ministering in nearly half of the states in the United States of America. We also minister in Bolivia and Trinidad and Tobago. In a world graced by the Holy Spirit and yet wounded by divisions, exploitation, and oppression, we are compelled by God’s tender mercy to commit ourselves in partnership with others to seek and foster right relationships among all of God’s people and with the Earth that sustains us. Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa are dedicated to preaching and teaching the Gospel. We believe that at the heart of ministry is relationship. Our home, Sinsinawa Mound, is located in southwest Wisconsin. We are involved with many diverse ministries including elementary, high school, and college teaching; adult education; health and spirituality; peace and justice; and counseling. We are therapists, artists, theologians, nurses, librarians, administrators, liturgists, physicians, and social workers. We work in pastoral ministry, Hispanic ministry, parish ministry, and campus ministry.

Q. What are the age limits for Sisters?
The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa invite women between the ages of 22 and 40. Women who are older than 40 will be considered on an individual basis. There is an age limit because we actively minister for a significant period of time after discernment.

Q. Do I need to have a college education before entering? What if I’m divorced? What if I have children?
Women need to have a high school education and two years of college or work experience after high school before applying to enter. Divorced women are welcome to apply if they have obtained an annulment from the Church and are practicing Catholics. Children of women looking to enter the Congregation need to be over 21, self-sufficient, and self-supporting. Women who enter the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation need to be free to enter fully into the formation process.

Q. Do women need to sell everything and turn over all financial assets to the Congregation upon entering?
No. Women can make arrangements for their property, possessions, and finances that will free them from being burdened by administrative responsibilities and enable them to enter fully into the formation process.

Q. Do women have to be Catholic to become vowed Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa?
Yes. Women need to be practicing, fully-initiated members of the Catholic Church, having received the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation. However, women and men of other faiths can join the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa through our Associate relationship by calling (608) 748-4411 or by emailing