Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for becoming a Sister?

The Glenmary Home Mission Sisters welcome into membership women whose lives show a commitment to God and others. An applicant must be:

  • a practicing Roman Catholic
  • a minimum of 21 years of age
  • a high school graduate or equivalent
  • physically, psychologically, and spiritually healthy

To be an active missionary, a woman must also have the maturity needed to live and work in small towns and rural areas, and the ability to grow and develop in her religious vocation.

What advice would you give someone thinking of becoming a Sister?

Spending quality and quantity time in prayer is essential to discern every vocation.

We recommend that you find time for spiritual direction with your pastor or some other qualified spiritual director. You may want to contact your diocesan Vocation Director for guidance.

Talk to your family, friends, and church family members to get their advice and support.

We also recommend that you take the time to visit the religious order in which you are considering a vocation. The Glenmary Sisters always welcome women to come and experience our life and ministry.

Are there any spiritual practices you would recommend to someone who is discerning?

  • Frequent prayer time throughout the day
  • Praying to our Holy Mother, Mary, who is the model of humility and service is an excellent way to discern
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Retreats
  • The St. Ignatius Spiritual Exercises is a wonderful tool to use in discernment. We suggest the book “How to Listen When God is Speaking” by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ

What vows do you take and when?

We take the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Temporary vows are taken after the completion of the two-year Novitiate. This is a one-year profession and is renewable for at least three years at which time you would be eligible to take perpetual vows.

Do you have discernment opportunities?

We invite any prospective candidate to visit Glenmary and meet with the Vocation Director. This includes an opportunity to experience the missions and get acquainted with the life of the Glenmary Sisters. We also are willing to be creative in helping a woman discern from a long distance such as the use of frequent phone conversations, e-mailing and recommended readings.

Is Glenmary an apostolic or monastic community?

The Glenmary Sisters are an apostolic community, actively working with the poor in our mission areas of the southern, rural United States and Appalachia. As a religious order we do have a particular prayer life which we follow, but we are not a monastic community.

What is the process for joining your community?

Once a woman has contacted the vocation office we spend quality time getting to know her. We have an initial inquiry period in which we converse and question her (oftentimes over the phone) gaining information that will help the individual and our community better discern whether she might truly be called to be a home missioner with our community. We then want to meet her and invite her to come visit us. From there, we begin the process for entrance which requires many forms, an interview, psychological testing, etc. God willing, the lady will then begin her journey with us as she continues her walk with the Lord.

Do you have any upper or lower age limit to the community?

Our current age limits are ages 21-47 for those entering Religious life. However, we do offer an Aspirancy Program for young women ages 18-20.

What is an Aspirancy Program?

It is a time for deep discernment on religious life with our Community. The aspirant lives according to the evangelical counsels of obedience, chastity, and poverty while immersing herself into the life and ministry of the Glenmary Sisters serving the home mission needs of rural America in one of our missions under the guidance and direction of our Aspirancy Director.

Do you have any educational requirements for admission to the community?

Yes, we do require that she be a high school graduate or GED recipient.

Do you accept formerly married women, i.e. divorced or widowed?

We do accept women who have been married and divorced with an annulment. Widows are also accepted. However, we do not accept women who have dependents.

Do you accept women from overseas?

Women who are not United States citizens are allowed to apply but they must have established permanent residence in the United States for two years or more.

Is community life fulfilling?

Community life is filled with the joys and struggles of relationships. Each Sister brings her unique gifts and talents to our community. We gather periodically to support and challenge each other through relaxation, prayer, and fun opportunities.

How do you earn your living?

The Glenmary Sisters do not earn salaries. Because we truly believe in God’s providential care, we trust in the generosity of our donors and benefactors to support our livelihood and our mission ministry.

Do you wear the habit?

Since our early years our founder, Fr. Bishop, chose gray as our identifying color. Therefore, the Glenmary Sisters wear a simple gray jumper with a cross, designed exclusively for us, to symbolize our outreach to all people throughout the South and Appalachia. Wearing a veil is optional.

Do your older sisters live with you or do they go to a home?

The Glenmary Sisters consider each aging Sister’s situation and decide what is best for her. Some of the Sisters can be taken care of without going to a nursing home. Others need the extra care of a nursing home.

Do you keep your own names or are you given one?

You will keep your baptismal name.

How much time do you spend in prayer?

As a community, each Sister prays morning, evening, and night prayers according to the Liturgy of the Hours which is the official prayer of the Church. In addition, we pray the rosary and Memorare particularly for vocations, along with the prayers written specifically for the Glenmary Missions. Individually, each Sister is required to spend private time in front of the Blessed Sacrament each day.

Do you have any special devotions?

We have a devotion to Our Lady. Our patroness is Our Lady of the Fields and our canonical anniversary is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. We pray the rosary every day.

We have a Eucharistic Chapel in each of our missions and enjoy special time before the Blessed Sacrament as we pray. We attend daily Mass when available in the missions.

Are television, internet or email available in the missions?

We do enjoy the conveniences of the current technology to aid us in the missions. However, being mindful of our vow of poverty we limit that availability as we see fit.

How often do you see your families?

Each year the Sisters are given a vacation to spend time with family and friends.

Do you have any free time?

Yes, we are required to take at least one fun day a month and one full day of prayer a month. We believe it is important to take care of ourselves in order that we have the energy and stamina to minister to the people God calls us to serve.