You’ve Got Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have another question, please contact us.

As a School Sister of Notre Dame (SSND), do you have to be a teacher or work in a school?

Our name only tells part of the story. We minister in formal education AND we are also spiritual directors, pastoral ministers, youth ministers, artists, companions to prisoners, the homeless, immigrants/refugees, advocates for the marginalized and much more! For us, education means enabling people to reach the fullness of their potential as individuals created in God’s image and assisting them to share their gifts.

Education is how we express our mission, it is our way of being in the world. It is how we contribute to building God’s kingdom. The development and sharing of knowledge will always be important. However, the development of the human heart and spirit is the critical work of SSND educators. The problems of our day will not be solved by knowledge alone; they need the practice of virtues: truthfulness, integrity, respect and care for one another.

How is prayer a part of SSND life?

Prayer brings our whole religious life into focus; it supports the rhythm of our lives emphasizing now the person, now the community, now the world we serve… prayer is our continuing response to God’s continuing call to mission. (YAS, C28) Prayer, both personal and communal, is at the heart of our consecration, expressing it and deepening it… Our life in mission is an integrated whole: prayer, community life, and ministry flow from and into one another. (YAS, C30)

What vows do the School Sisters of Notre Dame profess?

We profess vows of gospel poverty, consecrated celibacy, and apostolic obedience, in community, living in accordance with our constitution, You Are Sent (YAS). Vowed life in community flows from our spiritual heritage which includes St. Augustine, who formed a community to be of one heart and one soul in God, seeing in the Trinity the basis, source and goal of all community (YAS, Prologue).

How long does it take to become a School Sister of Notre Dame?

There are various stages of initial formation as a School Sister of Notre Dame. From entrance to first profession is typically four years and first profession to final profession can take up to six years. Learn more about the phases of formation on our Steps to Becoming a Sister page, which explains the process and estimated ranges of time for each step.

Are there age limits?

In general, the policy of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the United States is to accept into initial formation women who are between the ages of 20 and 45.

Do School Sisters of Notre Dame wear a habit?

In our early history, all School Sisters of Notre Dame wore a common habit and veil. Today, School Sisters of Notre Dame around the world are identified by our common international symbol, a pin received at first profession. Living according to our Constitution, You Are Sent (YAS), we dress simply and modestly, in a manner suitable to our state of life and the demands of our ministry and the culture and climate in which we serve. (YAS, GD 20b)

You Are Sent (YAS) Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame