Help for Personal Discernment

God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the call.
-author unknown

Welcome! This page is intended for you and anyone you know who may be discerning a vocation to the religious life. It is a list of resources and suggestions.

This is a very limited list, so I invite you to seek out other programs that are of interest to you. Within this list, I have also tried to be inclusive of various orders within the Catholic Church.

The best things I can suggest are to find a Spiritual Director who you trust, and to be open to how God is leading you, knowing that He will only call you to a life that you will be happy in.

God's blessings,
Sister Monica

Last update: March 9, 2014- I updated information on the Catholics on Call Young Adult Retreat and Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity retreats.
*Check back for updates!

Table of Contents
~Click here for Scripture.
~Click here for Personal Devotions.
~Click here for Literature.
~Click here for Online Retreats.
~Click here for In Person Retreats for High Schoolers.
~Click here for In Person Retreats for Young Adults.
~Click here for Online Prayer Resources.
~Click here for Service Opportunities.
~Click here for Social Justice Information and Opportunities.
~Click here for Exploring Religious Communities.

To give credit where credit is due, I found the following Bible passages at the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal's website when I was beginning my discernment process. I took this list along with my Bible to a perpetual adoration chapel, and let the Lord speak to me through them. I now pass them on to you with the same invitation (yet it doesn't need to be in an adoration chapel- the tabernacle is just fine for holding Jesus):

Scripture Related to Vocations:

Old Testament

Abraham: Gen. 12:1-4a
Moses: Ex. 3:10-12, 4:1 10-12
Amos: Amos 7:14-15
Isaiah: Is 6:8
Jeremiah: Jer 1:4-8
Ezekiel: Ez 3:1-4
Kings: 1 Kings 10

New Testament

Night in Prayer: Lk 6:12-15
The Twelve: Mk 3:13-15
Rich Young Man: Lk 18:15-30
Requirements: Lk 9:57-62
The Cross: Mt 16:25-28
Few Chosen: Mt 22:1-14
Temptation: Lk 4:1-13
Martha & Mary: Lk 10:38-42
Seek First: Lk 12:22-31
What Matters: Phil 1:9-10
All Things: Rom 8:26-31

Personal Devotions

Pray the Rosary Daily. Learn how by clicking here.

Other Devotions: (Click on the titles to learn how to do them) The Angelus, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Novenas, Litanies

Literature In this book on discernment, Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR, teaches the 5 C's of discernment, which my friend Amanda used to discern her marriage. These same steps can be used for any decision, and would be beneficial for discerning the religious life:

"1.Conformity – Is the proposed course of action in line with God’s revealed will?
2.Conversion – Will the decision draw me deeper in love with Christ?
3.Consistency – Has it come about in a similar way to how God has led me in the past?
4.Confirmation – Have I experienced supporting evidence that reveals the good of this choice?
***5.Conviction – Do I have certainty in my heart that this is right?"

The 5th "C"- Conviction does not have to be entirely there when you join a religious community. It will be YEARS before you make final vows. Remember that. You don't sign your life away when you enter a religious community. You are just making the agreement to try it out, and to continue to discern.

It is different in the vocation of marriage because one cannot "try out" marriage for several years before making the lifelong commitment, so conviction is more important in that situation. (Click here to read the article that Amanda wrote.)

Other recommended books:
Spiritual Freedom: God's Life Changing Gift by Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR
Blessed are the Bored in Spirit: A Young Catholic's Search for Meaning by Mark Hart
Called to be Holy by Archbishop Timothy Dolan
Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West
Story of a Soul by St. Thérèse of Liseux
The Love That Keeps Us Sane: Living the Little Way of St. Thérèse of Liseux by Marc Foley
Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom by Thomas Dubay
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis

Online Retreats
Click here for a 34 Day Retreat for Busy People -it is an Ignatian Retreat sponsored by Creighten University

Catholics on Call Self Guided Retreats
A retreat using the book Catholics on Call- by Fr. Robin Ryan, CP
Gazing on the Face of Christ with Fr. Robin Ryan, CP
The Lord's Prayer with Fr. Robin Ryan, CP
Called and Sent with Fr. Robin Ryan, CP
Living the Eucharist with Fr. Robin Ryan, CP
*Please set aside 20-30 minutes each day for these retreats.

In Person Retreats for High Schoolers

Steubenville Catholic Youth Conference

National Catholic Youth Conference

* I have gone to both retreats and they are awesome!

In Person Retreats for Young Adults

Catholics on Call  Tuesday, August 5 - Saturday, August 9, 2014 "Every summer, Catholics On Call hosts an annual four-day program at Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago. This experience is designed for women and men (ages 18 to 30) who may be thinking about a life of service in the Church as a lay minister, religious sister or brother, or priest, and those who are undecided and want guidance in determining how God is calling them" (

Silent retreats with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Join smaller groups of our Franciscan Sisters during their yearly silent retreat at our Motherhouse, 2409 S. Alverno Rd Manitowoc, WI. Expect to attend conferences, have personal prayer time, while having some moments to learn and share with others of our Sisters not on retreat. We hope to offer an opportunity of discernment of our life of prayer, community life and ministry.
Possible dates: July 13-15, July 17-19, August 17-19, August 21-23
Note: Retreat begins at 7 p.m. and concludes on the closing day by 12:30 p.m.
Click here to register.

Online Prayer Resources

Pray the Liturgy of the Hours Online by Clicking Here (Also called Divine Office/Breviary)

Preaching Friars Want something to reflect on for your personal prayer time? Go to this website for Vesper Homilies and Reflections by the Dominican Students of the Provinces of St. Albert the Great and St. Martin DePorres.

Service Opportunities

Find a Volunteer Program that matches your interests/skills/needs in this Catholic Volunteer Match

Ready for a year of service? Apply for NET Ministries
Or, does a summer volunteer program fit better in your schedule? Apply for the Young Disciples Apostolate

Social Justice Information

Click Here to read brief summaries of the 7 Themes of Catholic Social Teaching.

Click here for Papal and Episcopal Documents relating to Catholic Social Teaching
Even though it is an excellent list, I don't see any of Pope Benedict's Encyclicals in the above link, which is unfortunate, because he works hard for social justice in the world. Here are links to his encyclicals that support Catholic Social Teaching:

God is Love (Deus Caritas Est- in English)

Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate- in English)
Click Here for a Study Guide

Social Justice Opportunities

Get involved with:
Invisible Children.
Students for Life.
Or, do an internet search to find an organization that works with another aspect of social justice that you are passionate about.

Program for High Schoolers: JusticeworX "JusticeworX is an amazing week-long summer experience for high school students that provides participants a life-changing experience of faith, service and social justice!" (

Exploring Religious Communities

God doesn't just call you to be a Sister/nun. He wants to lead you to the right community for you. Overwhelmed by all the choices? Click here to do a vocation match, but don't limit yourself to the results. This is a good start. It doesn't have to be the end.

The best thing for you to do is actually visit communities that you are interested in. God has brought you to this blog for a reason, and it is worth exploring. If you would like to visit the community I belong to, click here.

Ultimately, the "right" community is where you feel "at home," and you only know that by visiting! Where you will end up might surprise you.


  1. I just discovered this "other side" to your blogs. I had no idea, but I guess that gives you an idea as to how observant I am :). Thanks for all these wonderful resources. Hope you're enjoying the holidays!

  2. Hi Maggie! I am glad that these resources can be of service to you! Yes, Advent is one of my favorite times of the year. I hope you are enjoying the holidays as well...

  3. Hi Sr. Monica!
    Thank you for this very informative section of your blog (you may think it's limited but I can see that there was a lot of thought and effort put into it). Now I have more material to choose from as I anxiously await August :) Blessings!

    1. It's so nice to hear from you, Chelsea! Thank you so much for your compliment....I am glad that you now have more materials to work with! We are all so excited for your arrival. I wish you could hear our Sisters...
      God bless you,
      Sr. Monica

    2. Thanks Sister Monica! I'm excited too. I started a blog (you inspired me ;) can check it out if you want.
      Peace and Blessings!

    3. Wow, I love your blog, Chelsea! This is exciting!
      Have a wonderful and joyous Easter Season!
      Sr. Monica

  4. Thank you for all of the wonderful resources!! :)

    1. You're welcome, Joan! I am glad that these resources were helpful for you!

    2. You're welcome, Joan! I am glad that these resources were helpful for you!