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Becoming a Sister PDF Print E-mail

Discovering who God is calling one to be in life is an exciting and grace-filled adventure! God calls each person to be her very best self and offers her a life of fulfillment and happiness. Each person is called to remain open and to embrace wholeheartedly the invitation God offers her.

 

DISCERNMENT PROCESS
While each person’s discernment is unique and personal, some characteristics are common.

 

BE IN RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST
Develop a life of prayer, not just in times of crisis, but regularly. No relationship develops between persons unless they listen to each other. You must learn to listen to the Lord in prayer and not merely ask Him to listen to you. You need to spend time with Him, listen to Him, be honest with Him, and occasionally be willing to wait on Him.

Prayer is a highly personal response to a personal love that God has for you individually. Because you are unique, your prayer response is going to be unique. Don’t hesitate to experiment with various forms of prayer until you find those which best express your relationship with the Lord.

Look for traces of the Lord in nature, in circumstances of your life, in other people. He is active in all. The better you get to know Him, the more you will be able to perceive His activity.

 

KNOW YOURSELF
Know your likes and dislikes, your fears and dreams, your hopes and interests, your abilities and limitations. Get to know how you work under stress, what kind of leadership you respond to, how much structure you need in your life.

See how others view you in work situations, under stress, and at leisure. Reflect how you view others. Are you able to accept others for who they are, to work with them?

You might keep a journal to record your feelings over a period of time. Going back over this journal and reflecting on changes in your feelings and ideas will give a picture of the person you are.

Another road to self-discovery is to develop a relationship with a spiritual director or someone else whom you trust and who can be objective with you. If you are open and honest with this person, self-knowledge will increase.


THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
As you become more in touch with yourself and with the Lord, prayerfully gather the facts about your decision. Consider alternatives. Write out the pros and cons of each alternative. Try to project what effect each alternative will have on you five and ten years from now.

In considering consecrated life, search out information about various religious communities, their works, their lifestyles. Consider other lifestyles which might suit you. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Talk to priests, sisters, brothers and to people in other walks of life. Visit religious houses, if possible. Try to see yourself as a sister ten years from now, and as a wife and mother with a family ten years from now. To which is God drawing you?

As you gather the facts about the alternative life choices open for you, be particularly attentive to your feelings. If you have been open and honest with yourself, you can trust your feelings. Choose what appears to be best for you and what appears to be God’s will.

 

CONFIRM YOUR DECISION
After you have made your decision, spend time in prayer for an extended period to see if the decision still seems right. If it does, there should be a continuation of inner peace and satisfaction. This period of confirmation should go on for an extended interval, several weeks or more, to be sure the peace you feel is true tranquility and not simply the relief that follows a difficult decision.

You can also be confirmed in your decision by sharing it with your spiritual director or someone else with whom you have worked throughout the process.

 

WHAT NEXT?
After much prayer and reflection, you may come to a point of asking “What do I do now?” If you believe God may be calling you to consecrated life, there are some things you can do to help clarify your call.

  • Continue to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through a life of prayer.
  • Become involved in parish activities and ministries.
  • Speak to a vocation director or sister who can answer some of the questions you may have.
  • Visit web sites and do other reading that will answer the questions, fears or doubts that are very real and normal.
  • Visit religious communities and spend time with sisters in prayer, community and ministry.
  • Engage a spiritual director who can help you walk the path of discernment.

In the end, after prayer and discernment, if you truly believe God is calling you to this way of life, try it. A very important thing to remember is that you do not make a lifetime commitment the day you enter a community. Many years of formation and life with the community help you and the community to determine if this is really the life to which God is calling you.

 
   
 


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