FAQ

Still have questions about religious life?

Learn more through the Vision Vocation Network or contact our vocation minister.
OSF stands for the Order of St. Francis. Those letters after a woman’s name mean that she is a vowed member of community.
Our more than 460 sisters live and minister 12 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Africa and Peru.
Our living situations vary depending on our ministry or need. Some of us live in large convent communities; others live in houses of smaller community groups or live singly in apartments. Our commitment to community expresses itself in many ways, not only through our living situations.
When congregations were founded, sisters wore the dress of that time or in some cases clothing that identified one as a widow. Women religious continued to wear the same dress for decades and eventually it became identified as a “habit.” In the 1960s, Vatican II Council mandated religious congregations to return to the spirit of their founders. In addition to a resurgence of sisters addressing the needs of the day, many congregations once again took on wearing the dress of the day. Today the Sisters of St. Francis dress appropriately for the occasion and are identified by their community symbol in a pin or medal. Some sisters choose the option of wearing the veil and are free to do so. In either case, it is living the Gospel and preaching by our actions that give witness to who we are rather than external clothing.
Yes, to be a vowed member, a woman must be a baptized Catholic.
Single Catholic women generally 25 to 50 years old are invited to discern religious life as a sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.
Yes, as long as the marriage has been annulled.
Men cannot be vowed members or our community, but men and women can choose to be associates.
This is an individual thing. For example, sisters can hold any position of service for which they are qualified. Our sisters are involved in almost every service area: education, healthcare, social services, prison ministry, pastoral and parish ministries, diocesan ministries and retreat and spiritual ministries. Our sisters are nurses, lawyers, college professors, administrators, spiritual directors, social workers and educators. You have many options to utilize your skills and contribute to the greater good. As Franciscan religious, we read the signs of the times and strive to meet those needs.
Each sister who earns a salary contributes it to the common fund. Each sister receives from the common fund all that she needs for her use such as a car, computer and other goods necessary for her ministry. By sharing the resources and responsibility for the common fund, every sister participates in our commitment to act for justice with a preferential option for the poor.
I think that God gives you an attraction to a certain ministry … like teaching. If one order of sisters is involved in that work, you investigate. The charism or spirit of a community is important to study. Visiting different communities and getting to know sisters of other congregations is vital. For Franciscans community living and prayer are a focal point in addition to serving with the poor, and those most in need, as did our St. Marianne Cope when she traveled to the Hawaiian Islands in 1883 to care for people with Hansen’s disease for 35 years.
Living in community, whether with two or more, is a call to live out the Gospel with those called to share life with us. We recognize that the Spirit gathers us and that we can have the experience of God in the context of being with others.
All of our Partners in Franciscan Ministries are open to volunteers. There is also Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program which is available to men and women 21 years of age and older for one year of service. Franciscan associates are lay persons who are connected with the Sisters of St. Francis through their everyday lives of service, prayer in the spirit of the Gospel and the charism of mercy.
Some signs of a vocation to religious life may have been evident in your life for many years. If your life already displays qualities of simplicity and peace, with a love for Jesus, the Gospel and others; or if you are a generous person with an innate sense of joy and have cultivated a personal prayer life, then you may have an authentic vocation.

It is important to seek further advice and counsel. Some begin by sharing with a good, close friend. Others might visit a priest or spiritual director. You can contact the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities and we also have women who can help you discover whether this is the life to which God is calling you.

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Our prayer life includes liturgical, communal and personal prayer. Ordinarily sisters pray the Franciscan morning and evening prayer as a community and attend Mass daily.
As often as you need to. There really isn’t a lot of restriction. We just look for a balance between the community family, and the sister’s family.
The process is a minimum of seven years.

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Sisters publicly profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience according to the constitution of our congregation.

Poverty is a free choice to live simply, without attachments and being conscious of the common good. It is seen as the cornerstone of the Franciscan spirit. The vow of poverty frees us to be rooted in the love of God and in the radical love of neighbor.

Chastity is a promise to freely choose to consecrate ourselves to God and thus being free to extend ourselves to others rather than having an exclusive relationship.

Obedience is a commitment to choose the will of God as it is presented to use by legitimate authority. It’s about being willing to listen and dialogue. Obedience isn’t being told what to do, nor is it just simply saying “no.” It’s really saying that you are willing to listen and enter into a dialogue.