Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary
Q. Where do your sisters live and work?
A. We are an international congregation with communities in the United States, Latin and South America, Europe and Africa. We work in a variety of ministries including education, social and legal services, pastoral work, and advocacy for justice. Please visit the various sections of our web site for more detailed information.
Q. What is the process of becoming an RSHM?
A. Click here for a description of our Formation Program.
Q. Do I have to be a Catholic to become a sister?
A. Yes you must be a baptized, practicing Catholic who has received the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.
Q. What if I am a convert to Catholicism?
A. Generally, we ask that you are an active member of your parish community for a year or two before seeking entrance to our congregation.
Q. Do you have an age limit? Why?
A. Ordinarily, we invite women to the application process who are between the ages of 20 and 35. Those who are older are considered on an individual basis. We are an international, apostolic congregation and your ability to minister actively for a significant period of time after entrance are factors in our conversation with you.
Q. Do I need a college education?
A. We ask that you have a college education (or are in college) or equivalent work experience.
Q. Can a woman who is a widow or divorced become an RSHM?
A. If you are a widow, we ask that there has been sufficient time for you to have healed from the loss of your spouse before entering religious life. If you are divorced, you need to have obtained an annulment from the Church and adjusted to this major change in your life.
Q. What if I have children?
A. Your children need to be independent and self-supporting so that you are free to enter fully into the formation process.
Q. Do I have to sell my house or turn over my financial assets to the RSHM when I enter?
A. It is not until you make first vows that you make give up your property, possessions, and finances. You do not have to turn these assets over to the congregation. You can make whatever arrangements you wish.
Q. Why don’t you wear a habit?
A. Most traditional religious habits had their origins in the contemporary simple dress of women of the era when the congregation was founded, and changed when the Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s directed religious congregations to return to their origins. Thus, today, the RSHM wear contemporary dress. To symbolize our religious consecration and identify our mission as RSHM, we wear a cross incribed “ut vitam habeant,” which means, “that they may have life.”