Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the Dominican Sisters of Peace? What does “O.P.” mean after a sister’s name?
Our congregation is a part of the worldwide Dominican Family. Established by St. Dominic in 1216 to preach the Good News, the Dominicans are known as the Order of Preachers. That is why we have the letters “OP” after our names, which one of our Sisters explains in this video. To read more about our community, go to “Who We Are.”
What is your daily life like?
Our daily life is the life of a contemplative in action rooted in the four pillars of Dominican life—prayer, community, ministry, and study. The fruits of our daily prayer, community life and study are brought forward to the world through our ministries. Our daily schedule is flexible, depending on the local community where we live and its individual members. 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).
Why do the Dominican Sisters of Peace not wear a habit?
Before Vatican II, our Sisters did wear a habit. But following the Council of Vatican II religious Sisters were encouraged to be more present to the world and to wear clothes that were suitable for the ministry and time 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, following in Jesus’s footsteps, who did not require his disciples to wear a uniform, to preach the Good News through the signs of our time, and by our presence and ministry among God’s people.
Is religious life still relevant? Why do people choose to live in religious life?
Yes, religious life is still relevant. Each person is called to love and serve God in a specific way. While many people choose to live the single or married life, some answer God’s call 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.
Are women still entering religious congregations today?
God continues to call men and women to live this life. This vocational call is not a career choice, but a call to a way of life. The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) shows that each year, women and men are still responding to the call. Click here for more information. Dominican Sisters of Peace have several women in our formation program and many who are discerning their call with us.
Who is eligible to discern with your community?
If you feel God is calling you, be attentive to this call, and pray for God’s guidance. Each journey is unique. These are some basic prerequisites for discerning with us:
- Has a love of God, a deep prayer life, and the desire to serve
- Is Catholic or becoming a Catholic
- Has good health in body, mind, and spirit
- Is between the ages of 18 and 45
- Is a U.S. citizen or has legal status to live, work, and/or study in the US
- Has a minimum of two years of college/university or equivalent work experience beyond high school and the capacity for further education
- Has no canonical or legal impediments to entrance
In summary, it is essential that you have a deep desire to grow in faith, the ability to actively participate in community life, and have the capacity for study and ministry.
How long is the discernment process?
While discernment is a lifelong journey of discerning God’s will daily, the process can take as little as six months for pre-candidacy and up to several years to become a professed sister. It is similar to when someone is dating and feels ready to take the next step of becoming engaged and explores living life in a new way. God’s call is unique and individual. Therefore, when you contact us, we will walk closely one-on-one with you. We will help you find where God is calling you, listen to where you are, and pray with you to help you discern well.
What is the application process?
Our application process is similar to most other religious congregations. In general, you will be required to provide general background information, an autobiography, educational transcripts, medical records, psychological assessments, letters of recommendation, sacramental certificates, and a full background check, etc. We will walk closely with you every step of the way.
What is the formation process?
After you are accepted as a candidate, you begin the formation process of becoming a Dominican Sister of Peace.
What about cultural diversity?
We are a culturally diverse group of women and many of our communities are both intercultural and intergenerational. Our Sisters include women from different ethnic groups–Native American, African American, Nigerian American and from different countries–Vietnam, China, Hungary, Nigeria, and Mexico. Some of them are the first person from their ethnic group to enter our congregation. Your cultural sharing will enrich our lives, help us to value more the diversity of life and enhance our sensitivity on discrimination and racism issues. You can help us learn what it means to be Christian from your cultural perspective. We encourage each other to live out and share cultures, including foods and cultural celebrations.
How can I use my education in ministry as a sister?
You’d be surprised at the variety of ministries sisters have been involved today. We have doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, spiritual directors, engineers, artists, translators, hospice workers, and farmers. Yes, farmers! (Check out our ecology centers and other ministries on our ministries page.)
Each sister is encouraged to discover, develop, and use the gifts God has given her to further God’s kingdom here on earth. Many Sisters in our congregation also speak various languages which contributes to our diversity and can expand ministry opportunities. 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 is the zeal I have for God’s mission, and how can I best live that out?”
What if I have a student loan?
Don’t let your student loan defer you from pursuing your call. You can start discerning while continuing to pay off your loan. Each case is different. Contact us and we can discuss options.
What about my dream of having children?
This is a perfectly natural concern. As a Sister, your love will extend beyond having your own children to many who need your care and attention.
Can I maintain connection with my family and friends?
Yes, we are encouraged to maintain relationships with our families 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 to care for family members in need.
I was married, divorced, and have children. Can I be a sister?
Yes, Catholic widows or those who are divorced and have no dependent children, are welcome to discern with us. However, if you are divorced, you need a Decree of Annulment granted through the Church before being admitted to the congregation.
Am I holy enough to be a sister?
Holiness is the journey. 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 in order to praise God with our whole heart and mind. God can work in us, even through our imperfections. Be open and trust God’s call in you.
What if I am uncertain about being a sister for the rest of my life?
Nobody knows what the future holds in any way of life, whether married, single, or religious life. If you trust God, God will lead you into a future full of hope. God will provide more than what you need for this call. Be courageous, have an open mind and heart, and trust in God without fear. Give yourself time to love this call and give this call time to grow inside of you.
Will I give up my personal freedom when I vow obedience?
Each religious community lives this vow a little differently. For us, personal freedom is a gift from God that you will never be asked to give up. Living the vow of obedience means, listening prayerfully to God and the community when making personal decisions. Such deep listening allows a decision to match your gifts and the needs of the community.
Do you feel insecure when you live the vow of poverty?
Not at all! Taking a vow of poverty does not mean we are without food or clothing. We live simply, unattached to “things,” so that we have more resources and energy to serve the People of God. This vow 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.
Why do you choose to live a celibate life?
We feel called to do so. It’s not just physical celibacy or “no sex.” This call makes God our primary relationship. By not being attached to a single person, a religious Sister has the freedom to be called and sent where she can do the greatest good.”
What if I have other questions?
We are here to help you discern God’s call in your life. Please feel free to contact us with your questions and concerns. We welcome you and look forward to hearing from you and walking with you.
“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)