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Vocation: Frequently Asked Questions And Answers

How does a women become eligible to be a Sister of Sacred Heart Monastery?


We encourage single Catholic women without dependents to inquire with us. Applicants with student loans will be evaluated on an individual basis.

frequently asked questions

What is the process for joining your community?

The different stages of becoming a full member of community are discerner, serious seeker, postulant, novice, temporary professed and perpetual professed.   Click on each for more information.

Frequently asked questions

What vows do you take?

We follow the Rule of Saint Benedict, which was written in the 6th century.  The vows, or profession, we make are from the Rule of Benedict, which predates the triple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience by several centuries.  We profess stability, fidelity to the monastic way of life and obedience.  Stability means the sister will remain committed to the community.  Fidelity to the monastic way of life includes poverty and chastity.  Obedience includes seeking God in listening to Scripture, the prioress, other sisters in community, the Church, the world and current events.  All of these are ways where we can seek God and follow His call in our life.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a Monastery and a Convent?

Monastery is a term used for communities that follow a monastic way of life, such as the Rule of St. Benedict.  It is a place where the monastic community, either men or women, resides and lives out its common life.  In modern American usage, a convent usually refers to a community of women.  In our early years, we used the term convent.  But the more proper term for a community that follows the Rule of Benedict is a monastery.

There are different types of communities, what is yours?


Sacred Heart Monastery is a Monastic Community. Keep reading below for details.


While prayer and community life are important to them, apostolic religious communities are engaged for the most part in active ministries, such as teaching, parish ministry, health care, social work, care for the elderly, work with young people, service to the poor, and many others.


Missionary communities focus their lives on spreading the gospel in areas in need of evangelization and service. These communities service in a variety of ministries, such as preaching, teaching, healthcare and other forms of witness among the people with whom we live.


Members of contemplative religious communities focus on daily prayer, especially the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, and individual prayer. They tend to live in greater solitude than apostolic communities so that they can direct their pray and work toward contemplation, though some communities consider themselves contemplative are also engaged in apostolic ministries.


Often, contemplative religious communities are cloistered or partially cloistered. That is they live separated from the outside world and focus on prayer, including prayer for the needs of the world. As cloistered religious, they rarely leave their monasteries, and all or most of their work is done within the monastery.


Monastic communities fall somewhere in between apostolic and cloistered. Monastic men and women place a high value in prayer and community life, but many are also engaged in active ministries. Monasticism centers on living in community, common prayer and Christian meditation.


Why do some of you wear religious clothes while others don't?


Those who wear habits or clerical collars do so for various reasons. One is that religious dress is a sign that may be instantly recognized as a symbol of faith in God and commitment to Christianity.

Another frequent rationale is that religious clothing is simple dress and therefore a way to live out the vow of poverty. A sister, brother, or priest who wears religious garb may own a few changes of clothing and be free of the expense of a more contemporary wardrobe.

 Some communities wear street clothes, preferring to make their lifestyle, rather than their clothing, their main outward sign of faith. They feel religious dress may create a barrier between them and other people. Furthermore, those who have discontinued wearing habits often say the original reason for them was to wear the dress of the common people, and street clothes are now the common people’s dress.

What is the difference between monastic and apostolic Communities?


Do you have Monastic Experiences or Discernment Retreats? What is the difference?


Yes, several times during the year we have retreats for individuals discerning God’s call in their life. (Often over a weekend) We also have opportunities to experience religious life in a monastic setting. (Extended longer then a weekends time) More information about such opportunities can be found here.

Do you have any age limits for admission into your community?

Generally, we have an age limit of no younger than 21 and no older than 50.  However, we do evaluate each woman on an individual basis.

Do you enjoy life?

Yes! As Pope Francis says, the life of a Christian should be a life of joy. If you are trying to assume that we do the same things day in and our, No! Our lives have seasons! Come and see!!!

Frequently asked questions

What’s the hardest thing about being a Sister?

There is no one answer to this.  That is different for every Sister, as each Sister is an individual.  It can also vary during the life of a Sister or when she is having a bad day.

How do you earn your living?

We work in different ministries.  Some Sisters are nurses, some are teachers, some are pastoral assistants, some work in offices as well as other ministries. We are involved with several non-profits in the region and have been sent across states and countries to do ministry work! Each Sister discerns her gifts and the best way to use those gifts in consultation with the Prioress.

frequently asked questions

Do you come from religious families?

Not necessarily.  Some do, some don’t.  Not all Sisters are cradle Catholics, some became Catholics as adults.  Sisters can come from families that are very devout, others come from families that are less so. Some come after very difficult childhoods but have gratefully found a compassionate God.

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

Our older Sisters live with us in the monastery.  We consider it important to have our elders among us, so we provide the care needed so that they can live among us.  When Sisters are unable to care for themselves, they move to St. Joseph Care Center, where they receive excellent nursing care but still can be part of monastery activities as they are able.

Do you have to have a good sense of humor to become a Sister?

It is not required, but it helps. Your personality is what makes you, there is a quote outside the lunch room here in the monastery that says, “Let them bear most patiently on another’s infirmities whether of body or of character” Rule of Benedict ch. 72. Monastic life is not an escape from the world.  It is helpful if you do not take yourself too seriously.

What do you do for fun?

Whatever renews the Spirit! What renew the Spirit for you?Lots of things as we are all individuals and enjoy different activities.  Some play games, go for walks, go on bike rides, go fishing, read books, watch TV, do crafts, chat. Could we interest you to Wednesday Pie night?

Do you keep your own names?

Yes, we keep our baptismal names.  We see monastic profession as a way to live our baptismal promises.  Our baptismal names remind us that we are called to this way of life to live out our Christian faith.

How much time do you spend in prayer?

About two hours in communal prayer, we gather as a community for Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Daily Mass (link to prayer schedule).  For Noon Prayer and Compline, we gather in small groups.  In addition, each Sister takes time in her day for private prayer and lectio.

Do you vote in elections?

Yes, we follow current events in the local, national and international news.  Each Sister may exercise her rights and responsibilities as a citizen.

Do you have any Frequently asked questions we did not answer?  Email Sister Clarice today!

frequently asked questions

Benedictine Sisters
Sacred Heart Monastery
1005 W. 8th St.
Yankton, SD 57078

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