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Is religious life for me?

"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!"

St. Catherine of Siena

How do I know "what I should be?" The question of vocation, or calling, lies at the heart of each individual. God gifts each of us in unique ways, and asks us to use our gifts in our relationships to God, oneself, others and all of God's creation. Vocation goes much deeper than a job or a career.

How am I called to be the hands and heart of Christ in our world? As a religious or priest? In the single or married lifestyle? Discernment is the process of figuring out our call, and often involves choosing among several "good" options. Discerning our call is a complex process.

Here are some steps you can take which might help you in the process:

1. Gather Information
Write, call or email religious communities to get information; Vision Guide provides the opportunity to "match" with various communities, access to websites, and suggestions for further reading. You can even do your own online retreat for vocation discernment at Making the Parts Whole. Contact your diocesan vocation office for information on communities in your geographic area and for suggestions for a spiritual guide during this journey. Read more about religious life and the process of discernment.

2. Listen to Yourself
What are the stirrings of your heart? What are your reasons for considering religious life? Look at your own history and your gifts. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

3. Seek Input from Others
During this time it is helpful to talk with others who know you well... friends, advisors, a spiritual director. They can help you sort out your doubts and questions. You are welcome to contact Sister Kathy Carr or call at 563-588-2351. We would be happy to walk this journey with you.

4. Pray
Ask God for guidance. Pray with scripture, journal, listen with an open heart. Reflect on the following:

  • How am I interested in sharing life in community with other committed women?
  • Do I long to deepen my relationship with God in prayer and service to others?
  • Do I desire to live a balanced personal life: prayer, ministry, relationships with others?

5. Visit Communities
The best way to get to know the "spirit" of a community is to visit. When you have selected a few communities that interest you, contact them to set up a visit. The BVMs would welcome you to visit our beautiful Motherhouse and grounds on the bluffs of the Mississippi or make arrangements for you to visit BVM Sisters that might be closer to you.

6. Continue the Decision-Making Process
Continue to read, pray and discuss your options with a spiritual guide. Begin to narrow your choices. Be sure to check out the charism and requirements of the community you are considering. After spending time with community members so you can get to know each other, if you find you are coming to a sense of peace within yourself, contact the vocation director to continue the process.