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Becoming a Sister FAQs

photo of Sister Gloria, Sister Mary Therese and Sister Rose MarieHere are some commonly asked questions from women who are thinking of joining us. Feel free to browse these questions and contact us if you would like to ask anything further.

Do I have to be Catholic?

Yes, as Dominican Sisters, we are fully confirmed members of the Catholic Church. If you are currently in the process of becoming a Catholic, we welcome conversations regarding future membership with us. To be considered as a candidate, one must be actively practicing the Catholic faith for 2 years.

How old do I need to be?

Generally, for entrance we accept women between the ages 18 to 40.

Are there educational requirements to become a Sister?

For us Dominicans, study is an essential aspect of our life. The minimum requirement for the women entering is that she has completed the high school or the equivalent. And that she has the intellectual capacity and desire to continue with post-­secondary education and ongoing professional training.  

I see sisters have “OP” after their names.  What does “OP” stand for?

The Dominican Order was founded by St. Dominic in 1216 A.D. as the Order of Preachers (Ordo Praedicatorum). The Dominican order is made up of friars (priests and brothers), contemplative nuns, active sisters (also referred to as apostolic sisters), and laity. We write “OP” after our names to distinguish us from other Congregations of vowed religious.  

Do you accept women who have been married?

Yes, we do accept women who have been previously married. We hope you have had support to process this significant loss.  Whether the former spouse is deceased or the marriage has been dissolved, documentation must be provided to verify the applicant is canonically free to enter religious life (death certificate or decree of annulment by the Church).

Would I have to move from the geographic area where I live?

Yes, we are called to serve the needs of others by our Congregation and the Church.  Sometimes this means changing locations.  At this time our Sisters serve primarily in California and Mexico.  During the two years as a Novice, one year is spent attending the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate located in St. Louis, Missouri.

Do you wear a habit?

Yes, our custom is to wear the habit. Our Constitutions describes this as: “Our religious habit and ring are visible expressions of our Dominican religious consecration. The habit of our Congregation consists of the white dress and scapular and black veil.”  Sisters regularly discern wearing of the habit respectful of Church, Congregational, community, and ministerial settings.

Do I need to be debt free in order to enter?

At the time of application to enter, all personal debts need to be settled.  Educational debts are considered separately from personal debts.  Women with educational debts who are accepted are asked to sign a financial agreement with the Congregation addressing this obligation. However, we encourage women not to let financial debts prevent them from beginning the discernment process.

What’s the process to become a full member as a professed sister?

The process begins as you discern your vocation. The stages of formation are candidacy, novitiate, temporary profession, and perpetual profession. This period of formation is a time of growth, especially in deepening of faith, in relationship with God,  and integrating our Dominican way of life.

Where can I get more information?

If you have further questions about the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose or the process of becoming a Sister, please contact vocations@msjdominican.org, or Sr. Mary Yun, OP, Vocation Director, at 213-760-3085.

Revised 1/2016