The Steps to Becoming a Dominican Sister

We hope the information found here will be helpful in understanding the basic steps on the journey to becoming a Dominican Sister of San Rafael.

The process includes:

Step 1: Pre-Candidacy. This stage usually lasts six months to a year, and begins when you ask the Vocation Minister for an application. At this time, you would complete an autobiography and obtain an assessment of your physical, psychological, and emotional health.

Step 2: Candidacy. During this first year, you live with the sisters in our house of formation, and participate in the daily life of community. As a candidate, you attend classes in religious life, scripture and theology, participate in some ministry, and visit sisters in their local living communities in order to learn the particular way the sisters embody religious life today.

Step 3: Canonical Novitiate Year. This year of formation ordinarily takes place at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in St. Louis, and is devoted to personal and spiritual development, study of Dominican life, our constitutions and the vows. As a novice you share your experience this year with other novices from among 16 Dominican congregations throughout the United States.

Step 4: Apostolic Novitiate Year. During this third year, as a novice you return home to California to live in a local community of sisters. You are involved in full time ministry and/or academic study. You continue to learn more about the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael through your life experience and interaction within the Congregation.

Step 5: Temporary Profession. After the mutual discernment of both the novice and the congregation, you make profession of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for three years, with the possibility of renewal. After the period of temporary profession, the sister makes her profession of vows for the rest of her life.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the process of becoming a sister please contact Sister Carla Kovack in the Vocations Office by email at

Our Book of Professions and rings for Sisters Mary and Cyndie – for their Perpetual Profession, or Final Vows