How To Become A Sister
We invite women of all origins and backgrounds to consider religious life within our congregation. Becoming a vowed member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur is a gradual process of mutual discernment.
The first step involves gathering information and working at all aspects of a vocation. It includes communicating with a vocation minister, attending vocation retreats, working with a mentor and prayer. Membership is open to you if you:
- desire a deeper relationship with God and a life of Gospel service.
- are 20-50 years old with at least one year of college or work experience.
- have active membership in the Catholic Church.
- are free from marriage vows and responsibility for minor children.
- are physically and mentally healthy.
- wish to live in community and to minister according to the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
"Am I called?" Discerner/Pre-Affiliate (six months to two years)
The Discerner stage provides support while you explore your call to religious life. If you feel called to religious life, you will enter the Pre-Affiliate stage, while you discern your call to be a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. During this time you may:
- live independently as you prayerfully consider your decision
- meet and spend time with individual Sisters and local communities,
- share with a vocation minister and a mentor in your area.
"Is this Congregation right for me?" Affiliate (six months to one year)
Affiliation is a time for you to live in a Notre Dame community and experience life with members of the congregation. As you continue to discern you will:
- Continue your current job and studies.
- Participate in community life, prayer and activities.
- Continue to learn about the spirit and mission of Notre Dame.
- Maintain your financial independence.
"Is God calling me to a life of poverty, celibate chastity and obedience?" Novice (two years)
As a novice, you will live in community and participate in all aspects of community life. During your first year the canonical year, you will learn more about religious life, study scripture and theology, and deepen your connection to the history, mission, and spirituality of the Sisters of Notre Dame. During your second or apostolic year, you will participate in a full-time ministry while you deepen your life of contemplation and living the vows in community.
"Am I able and willing to make a commitment to Notre Dame?" Temporary Vows (approximately five years)
Upon making your first vows in a public ceremony, you will receive the Notre Dame cross which identifies you as a member of the Notre Dame community. You will live in a Notre Dame community and continue to discern your readiness to make a lifetime commitment as a Sister of Notre Dame. During this time, you will balance ministry, prayer, community life, and personal enrichment to prepare for permanent commitment. A Sister mentor and the formation team will accompany you during this period.
"How can I continue loving and serving the Good God?" Final Vows
At the time of your final vows, you dedicate your entire life to God and God's people as a member of the congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Through God's faithful love you will know the grace to live out and grow in that commitment. Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are involved in on-going formation for the rest of our lives.