Steps to Becoming a Sister


If you believe God is drawing you to take a closer look at religious life, contact us! A vocation director will offer you materials for prayer and reflection and visit with you about any questions you have. She may also invite you to “come and be” with us, to “come and see” how we live and minister.

Affiliation (6-18 months)

Being an affiliate is an opportunity for you and the community to look together at your desire to live out your Christian commitment as a School Sister of Notre Dame (SSND). To become more acquainted with SSND life, a contact community in your local area will support you through prayer and companionship. The vocation director will companion you and provide opportunities for visits and prayer with sisters, participation in community gatherings, and live-in and ministry experiences.

Postulancy (2 years)

As a postulant you will continue to grow personally and spiritually while living with SSND in community throughout the process of mutual discernment. You discern God’s call and the compatibility of your gifts with our life by sharing prayer, household tasks, some ministry experiences, and day-to-day community living. You deepen your relationship with God, your Catholic faith and your understanding of religious life through reading, discussion and study.

Novitiate (2 years)

The novitiate is the heart and center of initial formation. During the novitiate you seek to deepen your relationship with Christ and the attitudes which characterized Jesus in mission. Through solitude, prayer, study, life in community, and some ministry experience, you will get to know more fully, and begin to integrate, the various aspects of SSND life, including the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience. For SSND, we have one congregational Novitiate which is international and located in Rome, Italy.

Temporary Profession (at least 3 years, not exceeding 6 years)

You will profess vows according to the SSND way of life, entering fully into our life and mission. It is a time to discern God’s continuing call and to respond to God’s grace through on-going reflection, discernment, and ministry while being supported by community life.  Readiness for your perpetual profession is indicated by the integration of prayer, community and ministry, by  ongoing mutual discernment to live the vowed life, and by your commitment to SSND mission and charism in our world and Church today.

Perpetual Profession (forever)

After completing the time of temporary vows, and through mutual dialogue and discernment to a life commitment as SSND, you will be invited to profess vows forever in community. This is a public, permanent commitment. The vows of consecrated celibacy, gospel poverty and apostolic obedience express the fullness of our commitment to God and to the members of our SSND International Congregation.

Ongoing Personal Development in Community

Perpetual profession is followed by a life-long commitment to embrace anew your consecrated life as a woman religious in these times. It requires ongoing personal and communal transformation and the desire to grow in wholeness as you strive to integrate the many facets of SSND life and accept responsibility for your personal development in community.