Do you feel like you were made for something more? Does nothing satisfy? Are you feeling unsettled and unhappy even though you are preoccupying yourself with things you like? Do you feel God tugging in your heart? Do you feel Him calling you even though you are afraid of what that might mean? Perhaps Jesus might be calling you to religious life!
Religious life is a radical response of love to God who calls us. We say yes to God in religious life when we want to give ourselves unreservedly with total trust to Him without conditions.
Through the vow of chastity, we exclusively belong to the Lord, and we give our hearts to God, becoming espoused to Him. The vow of chastity frees us to love God with all our hearts, with all our soul, and with all our strength (Deut. 6:5)
Through the vow of poverty, we declare God to be our only treasure. All things become secondary and find their proper place in relation to God. Through the vow of poverty, we trust that God always provides for our needs, especially in community.
Through the vow of obedience, we freely submit our most prized possession, our wills, our very selves. Our vow of obedience is a form of trust in God we exercise by following the legitimate commands of our superiors is obedience to God’s will.
A woman discerning our congregation must be between 18-35 years of age, have a high school diploma, have good physical, mental and emotional health, along with a pastor’s or spiritual director’s letter of recommendation.
I came into this weekend being completely open and without expectations or reservations… what I received was a gift from God that I am still praising Him for. What struck me was the Sisters’ reverence for our Lord, their steadfast contemplation, dedicated love for those they serve and for one another, and loyalty to the Gospel and the Church — a blend of so much I have been searching for sometime. This is a very special community, and I experienced this in the little time I spent with the Sisters. I look forward to learning more about their love for Christ! Tina
Christ took on the Dominican habit this week, not only in how I envision Him as I contemplate but also in the reality and the presence of these Sisters. For as much as I find myself talking “about” VERITAS, it has touched me in such an intimate way this week. I look forward to going back to my studies at Aquinas Institute to continue to pursue the TRUTH with the light from this joyful experience. This blessed and graced time spent with these beautiful women of God confirmed and deepened my love for the Dominican charism, spirituality, and family.
I wanted to say thank you again for the retreat. All of the times and laughter and the talks with the sisters and the other girls are running through my mind constantly. I have new hope and positivity about becoming a sister. I had more fear and anxiety about it and now, I feel more peaceful and eager to give myself entirely to Jesus. I have been thinking a lot about being open to God’s will in religious life. It was a real blessing to work with the residents – life is so precious, all life is so precious. The first moment when I fed resident was very powerful and very real. It is hard to put it into words. I had never helped such a helpless person before. Please keep praying for me.
I had a wonderful time with sisters and co-participants this week. I had a chance to see and experience more deeply the life in the convent and to discern my vocation. On Thursday God put in my heart the answer to questions regarding my vocation which I prayed for. He also put a stable and peaceful want of being a closed cloistered Carmelite. This is who I want to be (…). I just hope it is a true vocational call which I will give more time to test, but I will not hesitate too long. I leave it to God now.
What should I do if I feel a tug towards religious life?
Religious life is a call to deeper union with God, and discerning religious life starts with prayer. Take time to be still and silent so God's promptings begin to grow more and do not be afraid.
Speaking to a spiritual guide is also helpful in trying to decipher what Jesus is asking of you in your heart. We recommend getting in touch with a vocation's director in a specific community that may interest you so you have a better picture of what religious life is about. Do not be afraid to ask questions!
How can I discern better?
Pray better! Begin to grow in your spiritual life. Set routine times for your prayer so that it becomes more consistent. Are you able to go to Mass more frequently? Do so! Jesus is in the Eucharist. He longs for you to fulfill your vocation more than you do. Do not be afraid to wrestle with God in prayer. Trust that He can take your questions and also that He will answer them even if it takes time.
Living a sacramental life is also helpful. Frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation. A pure heart is a perfect foundation for union with God and the graces received in the Sacrament of Reconciliation will give you strength to do what you ought.
If I have decided to look into religious life, where do I begin?
Now is the time to act. Do you have Sisters in your local community? Get in touch! Ask the Sisters what their life is like, what their work is like. Ask about their charism. What do they offer to the Church? And do these things resonate with you?
If there is no religious Sisters within your local community, try looking for them online. You can find a list of religious communities in the CMSWR website. But start with a few. You cannot discern all religious congregations, just like you cannot date all men! Find a handful of congregations that interest you and give them a call. Share your story, your excitement, and even your hesitations. The vocation's director will be glad to help. They have all been where you are now before.
What is a "Come and See"?
A "Come and See" is a live-in retreat where you get to pray with the Sisters, eat with the Sisters, and see Sisters in action in their particular ministries. Some communities offer a weekend retreat and some for longer. It is a great time to experience whether a particular community is a right fit for you.
If it happens that your schedule does not coincide with a community's retreat day, give them a call anyway! Often times they will be glad to welcome you for a visit on another day that works for both you and the community.