Becoming a Sister: Vocation and Formation

Whatever your gifts and passions, we invite you to consider joining us!

The Sisters of Social Service

We are an innovative, dynamic Catholic Community rooted in the Benedictine tradition that has been engaged in social work in the United States for nearly 90 years.

Our Sisters champion local and global works of peace, advocate for marginalized people at the grassroots and legislative level, support economic development and community empowerment and provide direct social services to those on the margins of our world.

Steps to Becoming A Sister

Live-in Experience

The initial contact an inquirer makes with the community begins her affiliation with the community. A process of mutual discernment occurs as both the inquiring woman and the community join together for experiences of prayer, ministry and community life. A Sister will accompany the woman in discernment. A period of living-in occurs before moving to the next step.


Next, the candidate is led through the life of a Sister of Social Service. Through instruction and participation she comes to know the spirit, the way of life, the manner of prayer and the forms of ministry of our community while testing her call to apostolic life. This is also the time when the candidate begins to integrate prayer work and communal living within one of the SSS houses or living communities.


Initial formation occurs as the novice spends time studying sacred scriptures, theology and the constitutions, the spirit of the community, the meaning of the evangelical counsels (vows), Benedictine spirituality and in apostolic orientation.

Temporary Professed

A deeper commitment as a Temporary Professed is made in order to live out the life of the community. The sister begins her time of temporary profession with promises of chastity, poverty and obedience and follows the constitutions of the SSS.

Final Profession

Final Profession is the stage in which the Sister takes her perpetual vows in the community. Taking perpetual vows implies that the Sister has reached a level of spiritual maturity and integrity which enables her to respond with joy to a call to permanently share community life which is an imitation of what Jesus calls us to do in the world.