The same generosity and self-sacrifice which guided your founders – St. John Paul II once said – must now inspire you, their spiritual children, to keep alive the charisms which, by the power of the same Spirit who awakened them, are constantly being enriched and adapted, while losing none of their unique character. It is up to you to place those charisms at the service of the Church and to work for the coming of Christ’s Kingdom in its fullness. (Pope Francis, Apostolic Letter to All Consecrated People)

The charism of a religious congregation refers to the distinct spirit that animates a religious community and gives it a particular character. A charism is part of the permanent heritage of a community, which includes the rule, mission, history, and traditions kept by the religious institute. The charism of a community is such that if all written records were destroyed, it could be re-created through the living testimony of its members. In a spirit of joy and simplicity, and with constant recourse to prayer, hundreds of Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia have witnessed to our charism since 1860.

The essence of what it means to be a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia is summarized in the community’s Ratio Institutionis, which outlines our program of initial and ongoing formation. Our charism is defined by the following characteristics:

Contemplative Focus

We live the contemplative dimension of Dominican life by our monastic practices which include:

  • Places and times of silence
  • Cloister appropriate to our life
  • Wearing of the religious habit
  • Living community life

The greatest aids to this contemplative spirit are:

  • Devotion to the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament
  • Choral recitation of the Divine Office and the Rosary
  • A dedication to prayer and the Passion of Our Lord

We are committed to:

  • A regular prayer life
  • A life of poverty, detachment and simplicity
  • A classical sense of our Dominican charism


Active Apostolate

Living the Dominican motto “to contemplate and to give to others the fruits of our contemplation,” we are committed to:

  • A love of study and a strong preparation for the apostolate of teaching
  • Excellence in education
  • A thorough background in theology and philosophy
  • The religious formation of youth in the Catholic faith


Strong Community Life

In our convents we strive to have:

  • A loving and wholesome community life which strengthens us for a loving service of the people we serve in our schools
  • A strong spirit of joy and camaraderie
  • Pride in our community and a spirit of loyalty
  • Love of the Church

We draw on the wisdom of the ages and with a deep awareness of our identity as women religious we:

  • Love the Church and seek to serve her in fidelity
  • Treasure our vows
  • Foster a reverence for the priesthood and the Church’s Magisterium
  • Share with enthusiasm the truth of the Gospel
  • Witness to our consecration by the wearing of a distinctive habit
  • Look to the Virgin Mary as our model and mother, seeking to imitate her humility and recognizing in her what is meant by true womanhood