“I think I may be called to religious life, but I don’t know what to do about it…”
If these words are yours, here are some simple steps you can take to begin your discernment process.
Write, call, or e-mail religious communities to get information. You may want to explore different types of communities, such as monastic, cloistered, apostolic, and secular institutes. When a woman first contacts our community, we call this the Inquiry Stage of discernment.
Prayer is at the heart of discerning your call. We believe that prayer is so essential that we partner each interested woman with one of our Sisters, who prays for her at least weekly and writes to her occasionally. We call this the Prayer Partner Program.
Listen to yourself; talk to others
Take some time to reflect on your own personal history and individual gifts. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your reasons for considering religious life? In this time of discernment, it can be helpful to talk to a friend or adviser or meet with a spiritual director on a regular basis. You’ll be better able to sort out doubts, questions, and concerns you may have about religious life. You are welcome to e-mail Sister Teresa or Sister Traci or call them at 800-738-9999.
Make a visit
Once you’ve gathered information about a number of communities, pick several that attract you. A visit will give you a felt sense of the community that’s not always possible to acquire from a phone call or printed material. For instance, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the Daily Schedule and the Ministries of community members.
Begin to make a choice
During this time of discernment you may want to read about the discernment process or the charism of a particular community. Check out our Suggested Vocation Reading List. After you visit, begin to look for confirmation of your choice of community. Are you filled with a sense of joy and peace? Do you find that you can be at home and be yourself in this community, and yet be challenged to grow?
Remember, you’re not deciding to make final vows, you’re simply taking the next step in choosing a particular community. People are often very fearful in these early stages of discernment. Address your fears head on and don’t let them paralyze you. It’s natural to feel some anxiety during this period of decision-making. Be sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise and eat nutritiously.
Continue the decision-making process