Stages of Formation

Dominican Stages of Formation in Religious Life

A young woman interested in becoming a Dominican Sister of the Most Holy Rosary, is not expected to be a saint when she enters the convent – or even an outstanding character on the natural plane. What is anticipated is that she has the necessary dispositions to persevere in the path of growth in virtue. The stages of formation in our community (along with a divine call and an openness to grace) set the candidate down the path to becoming a “living image of the church, virgin by the purity of her faith, bride by loving fidelity to the will of Christ in fervent charity, mother by self-sacrifice for the salvation of souls [and a] living temple of God by her life of prayer”. (Fr. Paul Hinnebusch, O.P.)


This is the period of one year following entrance into the community in which the young woman gets to know the community and the community gets to know her. She takes part in all of the daily prayers and activities of the convent and attends classes to expand her knowledge of religious subjects including Scripture, the Catechism, Church documents, theology, philosophy, and Dominican spirituality at the Motherhouse. She is guided in making the gradual transition from the lay life to the life of the novitiate. At the end of the year, if both the Sister and the Community discern that it is God’s will for her to continue, she receives the Dominican habit and a religious name.


A Sister is a novice for two years. During this time, she continues her religious studies and formation. The Novice also studies the vows, the Rule and Constitutions governing the community and have meditation together with the community. One of the Novitiate years is primarily dedicated to study and development of the interior life and the other is dedicated to introducing the Novice to the apostolic life of the community. At the end of the two years, if the Sister and the community discern that it is God’s will, she professes vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience for three to five years.

Temporary Profession:

During this time, the Sister renews her vows after three years for another two years, for a total of five years under temporary vows. During this time, the Sister receives guidance in the actual living of her vows. This guidance is both spiritual and apostolic, doctrinal and practical. She may begin to pursue any degrees necessary and begins to participate regularly in the community’s apostolate. At the end of five years, a Sister may be invited to final vows or to renew if necessary.

Final Vows:

While her official formation has ended, mindful that the gift of faithful perseverance in religious consecration is a grace given by God that must be cultivated, the Sister actively accepts her responsibility to deepen her own living of the vows and her personal growth in charity. The vows are not an end in themselves, but are means by which each Sister can grow in relationship with God, the community and all God’s people. Formation is a pursuit that never ends until the glorious day when she meets her beloved in His Heavenly Kingdom.

Contact Us

Holy Angels Convent
20 Reiner St.
Colma, CA 94014
(650) 755-2712/(650) 291-2343