Everyone has a vocation 

How do you experience God calling you?


Every person has a vocation: a calling or mission in life for which they are distinctly suited. Realizing our vocation requires a spirit of seeking and an openness to discover who we are, what gifts we bring, and how God intends for us to share those gifts with the world around us. 

Two members of the International Novitiate at Saint Mary's, Sisters of the Holy Cross
Initially professed Sisters gather to share their joy. Saint Mary's, Sisters of the Holy Cross


As Sisters of the Holy Cross, we respond to God’s call to participate in the mission of Jesus, whose life serves as witness to God’s love for all creation. We embrace as our core values faith, compassion, prayer and community, which shape and equip us to discern and respond to the world’s needs. We minister in education, health care, justice work, and many other areas. In our work, and in all relationships, we strive to embody a compassion that reveals and bears the hope that is Jesus Christ. 


Our internationality brings a special richness and challenge to our lives and ministry, as we continually grow in valuing the diversity of our different cultures while living one common mission. Each Sister of the Holy Cross, with her individual gifts, carries out that mission in unique ways. 

Sisters of the Holy Cross carry a banner to celebrate 50 years of service in Uganda
Do you feel a strong desire to serve others, to find God through prayer,
to live a vowed life in community? 

In accepting the challenge of a vowed life, we choose to follow Jesus’ example and teachings in how we regard people, possessions and power. Living a consecrated life deepens our relationship with Jesus and with others, and assists us in helping others recognize Jesus’ presence in their lives.


Our vow of chastity brings us into a special relationship with God, others and all of creation. We promise to love with an undivided heart and to center all our affections in God. Our life of prayer and mutual support in community sustains us in this devotion and enables us to grow in love, respect and concern for all people.


By our vow of poverty, we do not amass material goods and we commit ourselves to live as those who personally possess nothing, communally sharing what we have and who we are. The simplicity of our lives and our solidarity with those living in poverty reflect our hope for a just world.


Through our vow of obedience, we profess our desire to be one with Jesus in seeking to know and to do God's will. Obedience requires our active participation in decision making. Obedience is rooted in listening. Active participation requires listening deeply to hear how God is speaking to us through those in authority and responding in faith. We live these vows in community and strive for the spirit of union which reflects the love of the Trinity. 

If you are interested in a vowed life with Sisters of the Holy Cross, contact us.

Joining a community

Entering a community of sisters is a process

Formation is an approximately eight-year process that prepares a woman for a final commitment as a religious. It involves several stages of different lengths, and the woman may choose to continue or discontinue the process at any stage. 

To begin with, an interested woman spends time with a vocation coordinator trying to discern whether God might be calling her to religious life. If the answer is affirmative, she applies to a congregation where she continues to test out her call as a candidate or postulant. If she continues to feel a call and is accepted by the congregation, her next step is to become a novice and enter the novitiate remaining there for 2 years.

At the end of the novitiate, three years into the process, the woman petitions for permission to profess temporary vows in the community and makes her first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. This is a big decision, usually reached after much thought and discussion. The sister lives these temporary vows for five years before she makes a final commitment and professes perpetual vows.

If you think you might have a call to the religious life or want to know more about the Sisters of the Holy Cross, please contact one of these vocation offices.