Becoming a Sister

God calls... We respond!


Are you searching for something that you just can’t quite describe? 
Does a life of sacrifice and challenge tug at your heart?  
Do you feel God may be calling you to religious life filled with prayer and service? 

Then read on…

God invites us, He never tricks us.  
God gently invites us to follow His Will.

It is not easy to know when God has called you to serve Him as a Religious Sister.  Are you now saying, “I’m not holy enough!  I am a sinner.  I am not talented.  I come from a broken home.  What would God want with me?”  Look again to Sacred Scripture.  The Blessed Mother said, “How can this happen to me?”  Jeremiah said, “I’m too young!”  Sarah laughed and said, “At my age?”  Take some time to read Sacred Scripture and see how and where God called some of His great leaders. Look up:  1Samuel 3:1-18; Luke 1:26-38;  Luke 5:1-11

A religious vocation “call” means you are willing to leave everything behind in order to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus.  It is a total gift of yourself to God.  It is not a career or lifestyle.  A religious vocation is a lifelong conversation with God.  Our conversations include talking with and listening to God, then responding out of love.

Image explaining God Calls, We Respond

Admittance Requirements

As the Office of Vocations for the United States, we are only able to accept applicants who meet the following criteria as a Postulant to the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth:

~ Must be a baptized, confirmed, and practicing Roman Catholic woman, in good standing, possessing a spiritual, intellectual and emotional maturity appropriate to her age. (Anyone preparing to be baptized must wait at least three years before entering formation.)

~ A US citizen or permanent resident.

~ Must have righteous intentions and enter with a free will.

~ Must show obvious signs of a vocation.

~ Must be a high school graduate, between the ages of 18 - 35 years old.

~ College and/or work experience is preferred.

~ Must be in good health physically, mentally, and emotionally to be able to exercise a full life of ministry.

~ Must be free of substantial debt and without previous marriages or dependents.

~ Free from all canonical impediments.

~ Various documents and forms will be required.

If you do not meet these requirements, we may redirect you to other resources to further pursue your vocation.

To know if a life as a Sister is the path for you, seek discernment: Relax, pray, read, and listen.

~ In order to hear God’s voice you must be quiet and listen, then pray.

~ Ask Questions.

~ Read vocation stories and the lives of saints.

~ Find a spiritual director.

~ Go to confession often.

~ Write to communities of interest.

~ Visit communities you feel called to.

~ Build a relationship with a community you feel most comfortable with.

~ Continue to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:11).  Be quiet and listen, then pray.

Becoming Acquainted, Ongoing Dialogue, and Visitation

The first step is sometimes the hardest, but we know a period of gradual preparation helps prepare for entrance to the Postulancy.  While still living in the world, a young woman stays connected to the community by building a relationship with the community via various means of communication and gradually and prayerfully preparing herself for religious life.  This period of time may be as short as six month and no longer than two years.

We recommend making an initial inquiry with the Vocation Office.  Interested women are encouraged to e-mail, write, or call us often.  Information about the community will be shared and questions answered.  It is strongly suggested that pre-candidates visit the Delegate House in Parsippany, New Jersey.  This is a wonderful experience for both the pre-candidate and the community to get to know each other.  Celebrating the Eucharist and Divine Office are wonderful prayer experiences.  The Sisters offer short term visits through the year and a "Come and Be" Extended Weekend which includes Monday at the Apostolate. 


The postulant is welcomed into the life of our Franciscan family.  For the next six months to a year, with the possibility of extending it to a second year, she will share in the life of prayer and service of the Sisters.  She will attend classes about St. Francis of Assisi and Saint Ludovico of Casoria.  She will study Sacred Scripture. She will join the community for all daily celebrations of prayer and praise.  She may participate at times in the apostolate.  Her attire is simple—a modest white blouse and black or gray skirt or black or gray jumper.


The two-year novitiate program introduces the Novice to the essential values of Religious Life according to the examples of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.  The Evangelical Counsels of obedience, poverty and chastity are to become the center of the Novice’s preparation for Profession of Vows.  The Novitiate offers a contemplative atmosphere as the Novice. During this stage she will also study about religious life and Church teachings.  The Novice dedicates her life to acquiring the values and virtues necessary to be admitted to her First Profession of Vows.  The Novice wears an abbreviated habit of a white veil, simple gray habit and Tao (Franciscan cross) around her neck. 

First Profession of Vows

The Sister now professes the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  Through her public profession, she binds herself to the community and she accepts the obligation of observing the Rule of Saint Francis of Assisi and the Constitutions of the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth.  She participates more fully in the mission and apostolate of the community.  She lives her religious life more profoundly in prayer and becomes actively involved in the Community’s apostolates.  The Professed Sister enriches her spiritual and religious formation already begun in the Novitiate.  She may also begin or complete her professional preparation to join more fully in the mission of the apostolate.  She will renew her temporary vows once each year for six years possibly extending up to nine years.  She will wear the black veil, gray habit, Franciscan cord, rosary and crucifix of the community.

This time is known as “temporary vows” because the vows are renewed annually for six to eight years leading to Perpetual Vows, whereby she becomes a Bride of Christ for all eternity.

Final Profession of Vows (Perpetually Professed)

After six years (and up to nine years) in Temporary Vows, a Junior Professed Sister makes her Final Profession of Vows, whereby she becomes a Bride of Christ for all eternity.  The Sister publically professing her Perpetual Vows promises to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience for life.   A Professed Sister is consecrated to God and lives a life of love.  She does many things – yet essentially one: she loves God, radiating that love to whomever she comes in contact.  On the day of her Final Profession of Vows, the Sister receives a crucifix ring as a symbol of her being the Bride of Christ.  She accepts the full responsibility of the mission of the community and to be an active member in the apostolate.  This seal is a life-long commitment to God and the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth.  After Perpetual Vows are professed, each sister continues in an ongoing formation program of prayer and spiritual study to help keep her connected to God throughout her busy days in ministry.  Annually all of the Sisters spiritually renew their vows.

photo of sister for Come and be retreat

come & be RETREAT

If you are considering a life as a Sister, we invite you to be a part of the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth during a Come & Be Retreat.  Come listen to your heart and for just a few days, respond to God’s call by experiencing the consecrated vowed life style. 

This year's Retreat will be held on Friday, May 19, 2017 from 5:00 pm through Sunday afternoon May 21, 2017.......with extended dates of Monday, May 22 in the apostolate through Tuesday morning, May 23 following breakfast.

During a retreat, you will experience:

  • The life of a Franciscan Sister of Saint Elizabeth for a few days.
  • An opportunity to experience some discernment.
  • A glimpse into the lives of Religious Sisters by sharing in community.
  • Personal prayer, liturgies, quiet reflection, question & answer discussions, share stories, meals and more!
  • Time with other women who are on the journey of exploring the religious life option. 

Invitation is open to: Single women ages 18 to 35 years with the desire to serve God in a special way.


St. Francis of Assisi Delegate House / Novitiate House

499 Park Road Parsippany, New Jersey 07054

Phone: (973) 539-3797  


You supply the transportation, we supply the experience.

If you have a Divine Office Prayer Book, please feel free to bring it.  Arrival is Friday at 5:00 p.m.  You will spend the weekend shadowing Professed Sisters at prayer, work, and meals and also share in Divine Office prayed in community, Franciscan Crown Rosary, Holy Hour, Meditation Time, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Sharing Time/ Quiet Time.  Then if your schedule allows, on Monday you can experience first-hand the mission of teaching, with involvement in the Apostolate of early childhood level through middle school education.  Depart Tuesday morning after Mass & breakfast as a different person. 

There is NO cost, but we ask that you bring an open mind and loving heart. 

If you are interested in attending a retreat, please complete the following form. 

A Sister, through her Vows, becomes a host of praise pleasing to God, who will be her reward and eternal glory.

~Saint Ludovico of Casoria 

The crest of the Franciscan Sisters linking to the History Page
Graphic link of a sister reading in the garden that links to the Becoming a Sister page
a picture of Sisters in a boat linking to the Support our Mission page