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Those who are seeking “something more” in their spiritual life and believe they can be nurtured in their spiritual journey through being connected with the life and ministry of a monastic community may be interested in visiting these SSJD webpages:
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"I want to let you know about a great opportunity for young women in their 20s and 30s who have a passion for the gospel, who want to serve others, who seek ways to deepen their lives as followers of Jesus, and who would like an experience of intentional community..." - see here »

ALONGSIDERS: Living in God's Rhythm


Join us for a year’s adventure living alongside a contemporary Christian community.

Who is an Alongsider?Alongsiders SSJD

Are you a woman in transition? Contemplating next steps on your journey? Wanting to experience life in community, learn more about prayer, serve others, and take monastic values back into “the world”?

An Alongsider is a woman who desires to share the life of a monastic community for a year, and to live a rhythm of life based on Jesus’ summary of the law: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul, and your neighbour as yourself.“

She shares her gifts with the community of sisters and Alongsiders and learns from them in shared prayer, classes, service, and friendship.

Alongside the Sisters, she is committed to a daily practice of personal prayer, spiritual reading and reflection on sacred Scripture. She learns to express the values of both silence and conversation in relationships with Sisters, other Alongsiders, and all with whom she comes in contact.

Purpose of an AlongsiderAlongsiders SSJD

Being an Alongsider for a set period of time (usually a year) gives a woman the opportunity to seek a deeper relationship with God in community, to learn about the monastic life in general, to explore and better understand living in community, and to take some of the core values of monastic life back out “into the world.”

Having Alongsiders in the community also enriches the Sisters’ extended community family. It enhances the way they model community life for the church and contemporary culture by including women who can act as intermediaries and ambassadors for the monastic values lived in ordinary life.

Prayer for Alongsiders

God of our journeys and our resting places,
we thank you for the women you have called
to join us as Alongsiders for this time in their lives.

Alongsiders SSJDBless them as they join our Household of Faith
in finding new ways to witness tothe Gospel in our time and place.

May they listen with the ear of their hearts
as you make yourself known to them in their prayer and their play, their community life and their work.

Join us together in a communion of faith as we witness to you in your world.

The life of an Alongsider

Each Alongsider is assigned to a work area in the convent that is in keeping with her talents and her goals for the program and that helps to further the Community’s ministry. She also shares in daily household responsibilities like after-supper kitchen help, gardening, etc. and will have opportunity for some volunteer work in the wider community.

Alongsiders share in the daily round of prayer in chapel, join the Sisters’ weekly choir practice, and participate in the rota of reading scripture, ushering, ring the bell, & other chapel assignments.

They participate in classes on the monastic life, contemplative prayer, Christian classics, and related topics. In turn, they have opportunities to help the community deepen its understanding of the needs of the contemporary world.

Alongsiders SSJDEach Alongsider has a mentor to assist in the practical andspiritual aspects of community life and to help her develop personal spiritual practises to support her ongoing Christian life when she returns home.

The Community

Celebrating 130 years of ministry in Canada, the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine is on “a journey just begun” as we move expectantly into God’s future, open to the needs of the culture around us and the mission of the contemporary church.

We are committed to sharing our life with those who wish to experience, for a time, being part of a prayer - and gospel-centred monastic community, bound together by the call to live out our baptismal covenant in community.

Formation Courses

Part of the year’s experience for both Alongsiders and Companions will be classes in spiritual formation offered in partnership with Wycliffe College at the Toronto School of Theology (University of Toronto). Courses can be taken either by audit (in which case there are no written assignments) or for academic credit (for those wanting to transfer credits back to their home institutions).


There is no cost for room and board for Alongsiders or Companions, but women who are accepted commit themselves fully to the Sisterhood’s life and work for the time they participate. College tuition fees (where applicable) will be the responsibility of the participant.

Alongsiders SSJDFor more information about the Sisterhood, explore this website or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ssjdcanada

How to become an Alongsider

A woman interested in exploring the Alongsider program may request an application form and further information from the Alongsider Coordinator, Sister Constance Joanna, by e-mailing cj@ssjd.ca or phoning 416-226-2201, ext. 316.

  • Program dates: September through July each year (exact dates to be arranged with successful applicants with some flexibility for the ending time).

  • Application deadline:
    • Alongsiders SSJDJune 15, 2017 (for September 2017 start)
    • For enquiries about the 2017-2018 Alongsiders program, please contact Sr. Constance Joanna by e-mailing cj@ssjd.ca or phoning 416-226-2201, ext. 316.
    • For women in their 20s and 30s please see the Companions page - click here ».