Becoming a Sister of Mercy

Are you interested in becoming a Sister of Mercy?

Every life journey is a unique and individual one. If you are interested in becoming a Sister of Mercy, we are here to be with you as you explore the possibilities, to listen and to answer any questions you have. The first step is to contact us.

Asking questions does not mean you are making a commitment. We are ready to help you discover the next steps in your journey, wherever it may take you. Your privacy and anonymity will always be respected.

We are committed to facilitating and enhancing the faith journey of each woman who is discerning a call from God to become a Sister of Mercy.

Exploring membership with us - what’s involved?

If you choose to explore your journey with the Sisters of Mercy, the process is one of continuing guided discernment and gradual movement into deepening stages of commitment. These stages include: enquiry, candidacy and new membership.


This initial period is to help a woman discern her call. Regular contact with a designated sister will help you discover where the Spirit of God is leading you.

Opportunities during this time include “come and see” days, retreat and discernment days, meetings, praying and socialising with the nominated sister and other sisters.

When you and the sister with whom you have had ongoing contact agree that the call to a Mercy way is deepening and appropriate, you may decide to move forward in the process. You will meet regularly with a spiritual director and continue to experience the life of the Sisters of Mercy through retreat weekends, extended live-in experiences and meet sisters in their ministries.

Once you have completed all the application work and received affirmation from the congregation leader to continue in the process, you are considered an enquirer. During this time you will meet the community with whom you will have regular contact. Being an enquirer means that while you continue your normal life – job, study, friends, independence – you take a much closer look at mercy life, work and spirit.

To mark the beginning of this particular part of the journey, there will be a simple ritual of prayer as a welcoming ceremony.

The formal enquirer stage may last from one to two years.


At the completion of the enquirer stage, working with the sister who is accompanying you, you will make a formal application to enter the candidacy stage. This is two-year period of more intense discernment while you engage in prayer, study and preparation to take vows; you will live in a community and be involved in ministry with other sisters.

First profession - new membership

Upon completion of the candidacy, you will become a member of the congregation by making your first profession of the vows of celibacy, poverty, obedience and apostolic service. Initially, vows are taken for three years. Temporary profession – the incorporation process – lasts for a period of three to six years. The time of temporary profession allows you to continue to deepen your prayer life, experience different forms of community living, continue theological or professional formation, and be involved in apostolic ministry.

Perpetual profession

After completion of your time in temporary profession, you make perpetual profession, or final vows, as a Sister of Mercy.

For more information contact:
Joan Doyle rsm, Email:

Our Vision
Claimed by God, grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and fired by the Spirit burning in Catherine McAuley, women are nurtured as they explore their desire for a life commitment to God through the charism of mercy and justice within the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia. (Institute Formation Policy, 2007)