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Frequently Asked Questions

What makes IWM ministry unique?

Size of the program
IWM has three to ten missionaries which helps build long lasting friendships with housemates, the community and the sisters. Most community houses will host two to four missionaries.

Sponsorship by the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word
The location of our mission sites are located where the Congregation has a strong presence,at hospice, clinics, schools, parishes, or other apostolates. As a result, each year the missionaries are welcomed into the local Incarnate Word community. Missionaries often have commented that one of the most valuable aspects of their experience was the opportunity to develop close relationships with the Sisters.

Support and Community
Support for the missionaries is multifaceted. IWM staff communicates with missionaries one-on-one communication and as a community. On a quarterly basis, there are collective program-wide conference calls for spiritual reflection and mission story sharing. Each site has a contact person in-country to accompany and guide the missionaries.

What are the values of IWM, and where do they come from?

Incarnate Word Missionaries was founded in 1987 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, who desired to incorporate more people into their mission of spreading the healing grace of the Incarnate Word. IWM continues to focus, on social justice, simplicity, spirituality, and community. Read more about the values of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word at

When can I apply?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with a soft deadline of February 1st. After this date, contact

Do I have to be Catholic to serve with IWM?

No. IWM has Catholic roots, draws much of its energy from Catholic Social Teaching, and celebrates liturgy at orientation and retreats, so we therefore ask that all volunteers are open to learning more about our Catholic identity.

Do I have to be fluent in Spanish to volunteer with IWM?

Because IWM works with Spanish speakers, including in the U.S., it is important that our missionaries have Spanish speaking abilities.  Being highly proficient in Spanish helps ease the other transitions in terms of living simply, in community, in a new culture, and in the midst of emotionally challenging work.

What are the language requirements?

Proficiency in the language native to the country in which a missionary serves is preferred. Facility of a language helps ease the other transitions of living simply, living in community, being in a new country, and taking on emotionally challenging work. At the very least missionaries should be willing to invest mentally (and if necessary, financially) in the studies of a language if deemed necessary by the IWM Program.

How do you decide where someone should be placed?

Placement is a process of mutual discernment, involving the missioner, IWM program staff, the Sisters and the ministry site. We want to know your geographic and ministry preferences and will take them into account. It is important to us that you will be able to use your gifts and feel you are making a difference. It is also important that we are responding to the urgent needs of the people we serve, and so we ask applicants to be flexible and open to a true discernment process.

If I’m accepted, can I defer my student loans?

Normally yes. Please provide the IWM program staff with the paperwork required by lending institution. It is the responsibility of the missionary to ensure that the loans have been deferred.

What are the living conditions like?

Missionaries live in community with other missionaries in places close to the Sisters of the Incarnate Word. Although the living situations are quite simple and at times challenging, our missionaries are provided with all the basic necessities they need.

Can I talk with an IWM staff member?

Yes! Please do not hesitate to contact us through email or by phone Monday through Thursday, 9am-3pm CST at 210-828-2224.

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