Frequently Asked Questions
The Dominican Sisters of Peace are vowed Catholic Sisters. We are members of the Dominican Order, a religious order founded to bring the good news of the Gospel to all people. As a Congregation, or community of Sisters, we strive to live a life of peace-making wherever we are and in everything we do, including our ministries in health care, education, ecology, spirituality and social justice. To read more about our community, go to “Who We Are."
Click here for a video about the founder of the Dominican Order, St. Dominic.
Our congregation is a part of the worldwide Dominican family, established by St. Dominic in 1216 to preach the Good News in words and actions. The Dominicans are known as the Order of Preachers and the letters “OP” after our names signifies our connection to the Dominican family. Sister Susan Leslie explains more about this in this video here. To read more about our community, go to “Who We Are.”
Our days are rooted in the four pillars of Dominican life—prayer, community, ministry, and study. We start our day with prayer, both alone and, if possible, with our community. We pray from Dominican Praise, a contemporary translation of the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office.
We are a community that values study, and particularly studies of theology, Scripture, and the needs of the times. As members of a contemplative order, we study upon these topics and share, with each other and the world, how we can respond to these needs. The fruits of our daily prayer, community life and study are brought to the world through our ministries.
Our daily schedule depends on our local community and its individual members. Some Sisters are involved in full-time ministry, while other Sisters who are retired or are engaged in study have a more flexible schedule. Regardless of where our Sisters live and minister, our day concludes with evening prayer and time with our community.
Our Constitution states that “consecrated life in community is a witness to the Trinitarian life of love and a gift to the world in which we live.” (Constitution 16, Dominican Sisters of Peace).
Following Vatican Council II, religious Sisters were encouraged to be more present to the world and to wear clothes suitable for the ministry and time in which they served. With this invitation, Sisters prayed, reflected, and discussed how to live and do ministry. This time of reflection solidified their zeal to preach the Good News by focusing on who they were, how they lived, and how they interacted with people. This new focus led Sisters to let go of their habit and follow in Jesus’s footsteps, who did not require his disciples to wear a uniform. Today’s Sisters preach the Good News through the signs of our time, and by our presence and ministry among God’s people
Each person is called to love and serve God differently. While many people choose to live the single life or the vocation of marriage, some are called by God to religious life. In this life, they find much joy, peace, and fulfillment through daily prayer, ministry, community, study, and through deep intimacy with God, who is the source of their happiness.
Although, our vocation may, to some extent, shape our professional lives, this vocational call is not a career choice but a call to a way of life. To read publications or watch videos about Sisters’ vocation stories, click here. Dominican Sisters of Peace have several women in our formation program and many who are discerning their call with us.
If you feel God is calling you, do not be afraid—be attentive and pray for God’s guidance. Each life’s journey is unique. Here are some basic prerequisites for discerning with us:
- Have a love of God, a deep prayer life, and the desire to serve
- Be an active Catholic or in formation to become a Catholic
- Be in good health in body, mind, and spirit
- Be between the ages of 18 and 45
- Be a legal U.S. citizen or having legal status to live and/or work in the U.S.
- Have a minimum of two years of college/university or equivalent work experience beyond high school and the ability to study
- Have no canonical or legal impediments to entrance
Discernment is a sacred process that varies for each individual. The initial process of discerning a call to religious life can take as little as six months and up to a few years before you apply to join our community as a candidate.
Think about someone who is hoping to get married. She, too, is taking time to get to know her potential spouse, to date, to get engaged, and then to exchange vows for a lifetime. Similarly, when you contact us, we will walk closely with you, one-on-one, as you get to know us and we get to know you. This is your time to determine if our community is a ‘good fit,’ where you can best live out your response to God’s call. We will help you discover where God is calling you – the place where you feel most alive and at peace, a place where you can deepen your faith and respond to the needs of the world.
After entering as a candidate, it may take six to nine years to make your perpetual or final profession.
When you and your vocation minister feel that you are ready to become a candidate, you may ask for an application for admission to the congregation. This process requires you to provide general background information and to submit an autobiography, educational transcripts, medical records, letters of recommendation, sacramental certificates, and other documents. You will also undergo a psychological assessment and a full background check.
This process may seem overwhelming, but you will not be alone. We will walk this journey together. A recent applicant has shared that this process was a blessed time of getting to know herself and the community at a deeper level.
After you are accepted as a candidate, you begin the formation process of becoming a Dominican Sister of Peace.
YES! God has blessed us with both an intercultural and an inter-generational community. When you visit us, you will see that while the majority of our Sisters are white, we also have some African-American, Native American and Hispanic Sisters, as well as Sisters who have a different country of origin, such as Vietnam, China, Mexico, Nigeria and Hungary. Diversity is an important part of our community life and we cherish, celebrate, and strive for a culture of inclusion.
Many of our ministries are designed specifically to aid people of other cultures, including our learning centers, ministries of presence, and social justice ministries.
Each sister is encouraged to discover, develop, and use the gifts God has given her to glorify God, to respond to the needs of the times, and to further God’s kingdom here on earth.
Our Sisters are doctors, lawyers, teachers/professors, nurses, spiritual directors, engineers, artists, translators, hospice workers, and farmers. Yes, farmers! (Check out our ecology centers and other ministries on our ministries page. Many Sisters in our congregation also speak various languages. Dominican Sisters of Peace serve God based on the needs of our time and God’s call.
The most important thing to ask yourself is, “What zeal do l have for God’s mission? How can I best live out God’s will?”
Study is an important part of the Dominican charism, and we respect the time and investment that you have made in your own education. Don’t let your student loan defer you from pursuing your call. You can start discerning while continuing to pay off your loan. Every person and situation is unique. Contact us – we look forward to helping you find a solution!
Catholic widows or Catholic women who are divorced and whose children no longer depend on them are welcome to discern with us. If you are divorced, you need a Decree of Annulment granted through the Church before being admitted to the congregation.
Your family has made you the person that you are – the person who we hope to welcome into our community. So of course, we encourage you to maintain relationships with your family and friends. Sisters can visit their families, or their families can visit them. With modern technology, there are many ways to remain connected with others. Some Sisters even take time away from their community to care for family members in need.
There’s no holy “enough.” Holiness is something we are all called to, and something we will work towards for our entire lives. We are all broken, and yet loved, worthy, and precious in the eyes of God. Our imperfections and failures give us opportunities to seek forgiveness and growth so that we can praise God with our whole heart and mind. God can work in, and even through, our imperfections. Be open and trust God’s call in you.
Nobody knows what the future holds, whether you are married, single, or engaged in religious life. If you trust God, God will lead you into a future full of hope. God will provide more than what you need to be faithful to this call. Be courageous, have an open mind and heart, and trust in God without fear.
The Constitutions of the Dominican Sisters of Peace remind us that fidelity to our vows is sustained by constant and faithful prayer. (#7) Give yourself time to embrace this call and time for it to grow within you. With God’s grace, everything is possible.
Each religious community lives the vow of obedience a little differently. For Dominican Sisters of Peace, personal freedom and autonomy is a gift from God – one that you will never be asked to relinquish. Living the vow of obedience means listening prayerfully to God and the community when making personal decisions. Such deep listening and contemplation allows your decisions to match your gifts and the needs of the community.
Not at all! Taking a vow of poverty does not mean we are without food or clothing – or even without recreation, like travel, the arts and books.
We do live simply and in solidarity with the poor. We purposefully live unattached to “things” to create more resources and energy to serve the People of God. The vow of poverty calls us to be good stewards of our resources and to love, respect, and care for God’s creation. The spirit of this vow reminds us of our interdependence on God and each other.
We feel called by God to this way of life, just as we are called to study, to preach, and to serve the needs of the world. The vow of celibacy helps us to free our hearts, and to love more deeply and more fully. By not being attached to a single person, a religious Sister is free to go wherever God’s love is most needed in the world, and to take God’s love with her.
If you want to submit a question to us, please go to our Ask a Question page.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)