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Profile: Sr. de Lellis (pdf)
Profile: Sr. Marie Ryan (pdf)
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Vocations to the Sisters of Bon Secours

We invite you to become a Sister of Bon Secours!

Bon Secours means “Good Help”

We are an international group of Catholic women in five countries who bring to the world “good help to those in need.” Bon Secours means ‘Good Help’.

A group of 12 women came together in Paris in 1824. They began to nurse the sick and dying in their own homes demonstrating the healing presence of Christ through their compassionate care. The work has broadened since the early days, but the core intention stays the same: to bring the healing hand of Christ to the sick, the poor, the broken and the suffering.

Today Bon Secours Sisters can be found in healthcare, social services and in pastoral and community based ministries. We are women energized by the Spirit who are today challenged to live as Jesus did!….to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8)

What are the signs of a vocation?

Check how many of the following statements match how you feel ...
  • I’d like to give more and be more.
  • I have this feeling of being called to do something more than just the routine.
  • I see serving other people as life-giving.
  • I’d like to have a relationship with God that’s sustaining and reinvigorating.
  • I like to share - and would like to share my faith in practical ways.
  • I’m restless with my present lifestyle.
  • I need more meaning in my life.
If you checked two or more, then you may have a vocation to religious life. But it’s not an immediate or simple decision. It takes time and reflection to find out what’s right for you and what God is calling you to do. Here are some of the steps you might find helpful:

  • Explore all your options and get information about a variety of possibilities.
  • Find a good mentor, guide or spiritual director.
  • Talk with a Sister of Bon Secours about what it’s like to live as a vowed woman religious.
  • Pray. Alone and with others. Find time for silence. Allow your mind and heart to be touched by the word of God. Pay attention to your feelings.
  • Develop the art of listening, of being quiet.
  • If the Sisters of Bon Secours can help you in this discernment process, please contact us.
  • And if you get a sense of peace, excitement and joy when you think about religious life, then you may have found your answer…

Steps to becoming a Bons Secours Sister

Pre candidates meet regularly with a spiritual director and with the vocation director. They visit and pray with sisters and learn about the charism of Bon Secours. They continue with their Prayer Partner.

This phase of six to twelve months culminates with the formal entrance application and process.

During the six month period as a candidate for religious life with Bon Secours, you live, work and pray with a local community as a Sister, participating in Bon Secours spirituality, traditions, values, mission, and history.

During the two-year novitiate, time is set aside for formal study of Bon Secours charism, spirituality, mission and history. You deepen your faith life, grow in self-knowledge, study our vows and way of life, and learn how to live in community.
When you take temporary vows, you live a life of prayer and active contribution for between three and six years in community as a sister of Bon Secours, after which - if it’s right for you and the congregation - you take permanent vows.

If you’d like some information
Ask us. We’ll send you some information. And that’s all we’ll do. If, having read the material we send you, you decide you’d like to explore more about us, then we can:
  • Arrange for you to visit a Bon Secours community, to see how we live.
  • Invite you to a Vocation Awareness Weekend.
  • Inform you of other resources on religious life and Bon Secours.
  • Offer you a Prayer Partner - a Sister who prays for you while you explore God’s call.
Frequently asked questions

Who can become a Sister of Bon Secours?
You may think, “I’m not good enough or holy enough.” Relax! Many feel that way when first thinking about religious life. God calls all kinds of people. Characteristics that fit a person considering religious life are:

Love of God and others
Interest and ability in being of service within the Catholic Church…

  • Desire for prayer and sharing faith
  • Concern for people who are poor, suffering, vulnerable, or dying
  • Generosity of heart and wholesome attitude
  • Openness to the Spirit and willingness to grow
  • Ability to relate well with others
  • Catholic women generally between ages 18 - 40 and free of marriage bonds
  • Good physical and emotional health
What is a vocation?
We all have a vocation in life whether it is to marry, stay single, become a vowed religious or priest. And, each are called, very personally. We are also called to holiness and to be of service to others. Our first vocation is to be our truest selves and to be happy. As we grow in faith, we come to understand our call in life, usually by God nudging us. My vocation in life may be different from my friend’s.

What does discernment mean?
Discernment is a spiritual exercise in which we try to decide who God is “calling” us to be and what we are being asked to do in specific instances now and in the future.

What is the process of becoming a Sister?
Inquiry/Pre-Candidate: The first step: become acquainted with us and decide to explore your call. This stage can last between 6 months and 2 years. A Sister also introduces you to various aspects of religious life and to the local community.

Once you are accepted and enter, you live in a community of sisters. You fully participate and experience our life, spirituality, traditions, mission, values, community events and ministry. This stage lasts between 6 months to 2 years. A mentor guides you in discerning your call to religious life and Bon Secours.

Time is set aside from ministry for you to more deeply discern a call, study our charism, history, constitutions, spirituality, theology the vows, our way of life, and grow in self-knowledge. The novitiate is two years. The second year is for integration while in full time ministry and living in community. You make temporary vows for 3 years at the end of the novitiate.

Temporary Profession: is a time to fully integrate a life of ministry related to prayer, the vows and community life. This phase lasts between 3 to 6 years. Time is given for continued reflection, meeting with a mentor, and personal development. This period ends by making final vows.

What is required if I choose to explore more with the Sisters of Bon Secours?
A discernment process requires active participation, as well as personal freedom and openness. Prayer and dialogue are essential too.


  • Obtain a qualified spiritual director (vocation director helps if needed)
  • Meet regularly with the vocation director
  • Attend Come and See vocation days
  • Do spiritual reading
  • Request material on the Sisters of Bon Secours
  • Participate in community events and celebrations as invited
  • Visit local Bon Secours Sisters and attend other gatherings as appropriate
  • Participate in a live-in experience
Sr. de Lellis
I entered because I had a very strong conviction that this was what God wanted me to do with my life. I couldn’t shake it off. I couldn’t talk Him out of it.

My mother died when I was four and half. That had a lot to do with making me the kind of person I am today. It made me more self-sufficient and independent. My father’s mother reared us. She was a great woman of prayer. My father believed religion was women’s business. He had no objection to it, but he saw it as women’s job to drag him into heaven ... (for more please download full text .pdf from downloads menu on the right of this page).

Sr. Marie Ryan
I’m the eldest in my family, with three brothers. Born in West Cork, I went to primary school there. Even though it was my mother who taught us prayers and prepared us for the sacraments, my Dad had a deep relationship with God. I remember him - out in the field - standing when he’d hear the Angelus bell from the nearby Church and praying quietly. He wasn’t preaching or teaching. Just practicing what he believed in. That profoundly affected me... (for more please download full text .pdf from downloads menu on the right of this page).