It can take up to nine years to become a nun. Women who have just joined the convent are called postulants. These sisters-in-training don't yet wear a veil. "When you're a postulant, [it's] the first year you enter," Sister John Dominic says. "The idea of a postulant means 'to ask.'"

The next step after being a postulant is to become a novice. It's a time of study, and novices can be identified by their white veils. "We're right now in what's called canonical year," novice Sister Maria says. "It's a year that you spend really entering more fully into the life, focusing more in prayer, and you're trying to really avoid as many distractions as you possibly can."

Once sisters have taken their final vows, they wear a black veil. Mother Assumpta, one of the founders of the convent, has been in this life since age 17. She says she never feels that she missed out on other experiences like having children. "I think every woman is called to be a mother, you know, physically," she says. "But God called me to this, and this is what I want to be—a spiritual mother."


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