The Process

It takes at least seven years to become a Sister of Mercy. During this time, a woman learns about prayer, lives in community, studies theology, and ministers alongside sisters. It is a time of deep reflection, growth, grace, and most importantly, joy!



This initial inquiry phase is a time for a woman to deeply explore God’s call to religious life. A vocation minister will help you discover where the Spirit of God is leading you. There may be retreat or service opportunities during this phase of the process.



Once you and a vocation minister agree the call to be a Sister of Mercy is strong within you, it is time to start the application phase. At this point, you meet regularly with a spiritual director. You continue to experience the life of a Sister of Mercy through retreat weekends, live-in experiences, meetings with other sisters, and ministry visits. 



Upon completion of your application, and after affirmation by the Institute President, you become a pre-candidate. In pre-candidacy, you meet the Community with whom you will live. During this time, you and the Community will get to know one another.



This simple ritual celebration of prayer marks the beginning of a woman’s journey as a candidate with the Sisters of Mercy. Sisters gather to welcome you and to offer you prayer and support.

The Hand of Mercy

Sister Story

The Hand of Mercy



After the ceremony, you begin a two-year candidacy phase. Year one focuses on the transition to religious life. Year two focuses on ministry, study in theology, and preparation for the novitiate. As a candidate, you live in community with other sisters. You have regular meetings with incorporation ministers and pray and engage in ministry.



After candidacy, you transition into the novitiate. Your first year (canonical year) is an intense period of reflection. You engage in prayer, study the vows, and continue to live in community. The second (apostolic year) includes more ministerial involvement and a deepening awareness of God’s call in you.



Once you complete the novitiate phase, you become a member of the community by making your first profession of vows. Temporary profession lasts anywhere from three to six years. You take part in full-time ministry or studies while continuing your discernment. You also continue living in community with other sisters.



After completion of the incorporation process, you profess final vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and service of poor, sick, and ignorant as a Sister of Mercy.

Integrating the Vows

Sister Story

Integrating the Vows

Pray for these young women on their way to becoming Sisters of Mercy.

Learn more about becoming a Sister of Mercy!

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