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.
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:
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
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
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?"
***IMPORTANT: 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
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" (http://catholicsoncall.org/young-adult-conferences).
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.
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:
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!" (http://www.justiceworx.org/index.html)
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.