Frequently Asked Questions

Quick Facts

  • The Congregation of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius is a religious institute of pontifical right dedicated to apostolic works.
  • Christ is the heart of our spiritual life and our life together.
  • We were founded in 1909 in Scranton, PA, by Father Matthew Jankola with the approbation of Pope Saint Pius X.
  • We minister in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, South Carolina and Texas.
  • Our Mother House is in Danville, PA along with our sponsored ministries, Saint Cyril Preschool and Kindergarten, and the Maria Joseph Continuing Care Community.

What does SS.C.M. stand for?

SS.C.M. stands for Saints Cyril and Methodius, our patron saints. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared these saintly Greek brothers co-patrons of Europe. These letters after our name mean that we have professed public vows to God in this religious institute.

Who me? Why discern religious life now?

Simply put, yes! And why not? We welcome newer members as we look forward to our second century of mission. The best way to predict the future of religious life is to help to create it. Be one of the over 500 women and men who enter religious life annually in the United States.

If I am thinking about being a Sister, can I still date?

The process of becoming a Sister takes time. If you are inquiring or beginning discernment, it is acceptable to date, because the vocation of marriage, single or religious life is still a possibility. Once you have decided to focus solely on discernment to religious life or begin the application process, it would no longer be appropriate to date. Once professed, you vow chastity until death.

How do I talk with my parents about a call to religious life?

Share your hopes, dreams, and even concerns, about your vocation discernment. Invite them to do the same so that you can articulate the reasons why you feel called to religious life. Don’t be surprised if they express reservations as many discerners face discouragement from family. Let your family know that they can speak with our vocation team and are welcome to visit our community to learn more about religious life.

Can I pursue a professional career if I enter religious life?

Yes, SS.C.M. Sisters currently serve in schools, parishes, retreat centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and dioceses as educators, pastoral associates, directors of religious education and faith formation, nurses, chaplains, beauticians, administrators and support staff. We value lifelong education, most of our sisters have completed graduate education and some have doctorate degrees.

Do I have to give away my car and savings?

Matter of fact, we encourage you to keep your car as a candidate. You are responsible for payments, insurance, maintenance, gas, etc. Before entering the novitiate, you decide to sell or give the vehicle away. As a candidate, you manage your personal finances including income, savings, credit cards, 401k plans, etc. As a novice, you will ask someone else (a member of your family or some other trusted person) to be a steward of your assets. A novice may neither renounce nor encumber her property. They would still be completely yours but for the period of the novitiate, you would not be involved in the daily management. Before first profession, you cede the administration of your property to whomever you prefer and dispose freely of its use.

Can I have money of my own?

Although our salaries, stipends and donations go directly to the community, we have an annual personal budget for personal needs, clothing, recreation, postage, and travel expenses. We use a community credit card and receive a monthly stipend for which we are accountable for each expense. Living simply, our basic needs such as health care, housing, utilities, insurance, health care and food, are taken care of by the community budget.

Will I live in a convent?

We have a strong commitment to community life, so, with a few exceptions, we live together in convents. Some of us live with Sisters from other religious institutes so we can continue to serve in areas that need our presence and professional ministerial leadership.

Can I keep my name?

Yes, most SS.C.M. Sisters keep their Baptismal name. If you want to select a religious name you do so at the time of reception into the novitiate.

Can my family and friends visit?

Yes, your family and friends provide mutual support and nurture your vocation. We keep in contact through correspondence, phone calls and emails, and many of us spend at least part of our vacation each year with family and friends. Depending on your ministry responsibilities and community schedule, each Sister ordinarily has 30 days each year for home visits and vacation. Family and friends may visit, however during initial formation, visits are limited to become fully integrated into community life and prayer.

Can I vote in national and local elections?

Yes, we follow current events in the local, national and international news.  Each Sister may exercise her rights and responsibilities as a citizen.

How long does it take to become a professed SS.C.M. Sister?

Once accepted, formation typically takes 7-10 years. The stages include:

  • Affiliate (generally six months to two years)
  • Candidate (generally six months to two years)
  • Novice (two years)
  • Temporary Profession (three to six years)
  • Perpetual Profession

What if I change my mind and want to leave formation?

You can leave initial formation at any time. Matter of fact, 50% of women and men who enter religious life, leave before perpetual profession. After you’ve made your perpetual vows, you may leave for grave reasons. After a time of Exclaustration, you will have to write a petition requesting an Indult of Departure to the Holy Father to be dispensed of your vows.

Do SS.C.M. Sisters take a vow of silence?

No. However, an atmosphere of quiet expresses our sense of the presence of God and shows respect for each Sister’s need for prayer, study, and rest. Each of our local communities establishes times and places of silence.

How often do Sisters pray?

In our community, prayer is a priority. We come together to pray twice a day—for Morning Prayer, also known as Lauds, and Evening Prayer also known as Vespers, as a communal act of praise to God, a means of sanctifying the day, and an expression of our union in prayer as Church and for the needs of the Church and the world. Like our patrons, Saints Cyril and Methodius, we have a great love for Sacred Scripture. We participate daily at Mass and a special expression of our devotion to Mary is each Sister’s daily recitation of the rosary. Each Sister determines and establishes her own program of personal prayer, spiritual reading, and daily examination of conscience. From September through May, we observe a monthly day of recollection.  Each year we make an annual retreat of at least five consecutive days.

What is Redemptorist spirituality?

At the heart of all our spiritual practices is our Redemptorist spirituality, which is to find and follow Christ. It is He who dwells in the silence of our own hearts. We renew our vows together on the 25th of each month because of our devotion to the Incarnation. As our union with Christ deepens, we become signs of His compassionate love for all the world. We have a special reverence for the Eucharistic presence of the Lord.

Do you have special devotions?

We have devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saints Cyril and Methodius, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially in her Immaculate Conception, her Sorrows and her Assumption. Because of their association with our founding, our apostolic works and our spiritual and cultural heritage, our other patron saints are: Saint Michael, Saint Joseph, Saint Matthew the Apostle, Saint Pius X, Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Anne, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Saint Josaphat, Saints Andrew Svorad and Benedict Stojislav.

What do SS.C.M. Sisters do for fun?

We strive to have a balanced life of prayer, ministry and recreation. The variety of ways we enjoy leisure is as varied as the Sisters themselves! Some enjoy reading, art, music, nature, walking or watching television. Others enjoy cards, board games, puzzles, and conversation. Some enjoy going to movies, concerts, museums, and sporting events. Sometimes just going out for ice cream is memorable. On feast days, jubilees, and holidays, we have community parties.

Why do the SS.C.M. Sisters wear a ring?

A silver ring is a symbol of perpetual profession. We have a choice in wearing our community pin, crucifix and veil. In our manner of dress and in our communal lifestyle, we intend to reflect the simplicity of the Gospel.

How do I find out more about your community?

You can speak with any of our SS.C.M. Sisters. Spending time with us will help you to learn more about our charism, mission and spirituality. Like us on Facebook to find out about upcoming events open to the public. If you want vocation discernment, contact a member of our vocation team.