Vocation Resources for Those in Discernment
If you are discerning a vocation to religious life, you can come to know the Lord’s will for you more easily by spending time in prayer and seeking out daily mass often. Try www.masstimes.org to help you find the schedule of masses close to your school or work. Mass in a quiet, out of the way chapel allows us to pause from our busy activities and to have the sacramental intimacy with Jesus in the Eucharist which is needed in order to hear what God is trying to say to us. This website also can show you where Confessions and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament are available. Spending time in silence before Our Lord in the Eucharist is one of the most important parts of the the discernment experience. Servidoras and women religious throughout the Church can attest that it was there that He clarified, strengthened, and confirmed the plans He had for them.
The Blessed Virgin Mary: A Companion in Discernment
Many people in discernment ask for help from Our Lady. She gives us the perfect model of docility to the will of God at the Annunciation in her fiat (“let it be done”). She can teach us how to be trusting, open and generous with God. The Holy Rosary, the recitation of the Angelus, and even the Total Consecration according to the method of St. Louis Marie Gringion de Montfort are all ways of inviting her to be our mother, our model, and our intercessor. Our Religious Family has a particularly strong Marian spirituality which is most clearly manifested in our Fourth Vow of Marian Consecration (after those of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience). This vow follows the method and teaching of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort taught in the True Devotion and known as the Total Consecration. We also recognize Our Lady of Lujan as a true Mother of Our Vocations, since she is a particular intercessor for all those who are called to be part of our Religious Family.
Spiritual reading is a practice of deepening the spiritual life through prayerful reading. The Bible has a unique precedence over any other book because reading the Gospels offers an important encounter with Christ for any Christian, but especially one in discernment. Other books can also help to answer questions, instruct or inspire. These can include reflections about Christ (His Passion, His Incarnation, etc.), classic advice and guidance for the life of prayer, writings of the saints, or even the lives of saints. Make a little time in the day to commit to quiet reading. See a list of recommended spiritual reading compiled by our founder, Fr. Carlos Buela.
There are also many homilies and books (PDF format) in Spanish and English available on-line from our founder which may be of interest. Here are two in English about religious life:
Church Documents about Consecrated Life
Read about consecrated life in important Church documents:
Encyclical of Pope Pius XII, Sacra Virginitas (1954)
Decree of the Second Vatican Council, Perfectae Caritatis (1965)
Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, Redemptionis Donum (1984)
Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, Vita Consecrata (1996)
Make a Visit: “Come and See”
God calls souls to the consecrated life through specific congregations. The Holy Spirit has inspired many religious families, many particular charisms and institutes in the Church to fulfill His plan of salvation for certain souls through the vocation to consecrated life. This means that if you are discerning the call to religious life it will not be abstract forever. At a certain point, visiting sisters to see their lives can be a helpful step in discernment. A community’s charism and spirituality is most manifest in the liturgy, apostolate, and fraternal charity between sisters.
See the date of the next up-coming “Come and See” Retreat, or contact our Vocations Director for a registration form and more details.
Since we also receive visitors at other times, our Vocations Director can be contacted to schedule an initial visit or to ask your questions about discernment with our community:
Mother Mary Mother of Faith O’Connor, SSVM
1714 Crain Highway
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Links to More Vocation Websites
USCCB’s recent website “For Your Vocation” helps men and women in discernment, as well as families and youth ministers who wish to pray for and support vocations to the priesthood and religious life (English / Spanish)
Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) is a canonically approved organization founded in 1992, to promote religious life in the United States. Its statutes were definitively approved by the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on October 26, 1995.
Composed of major superiors of women religious with communities in the United States (see complete list of Member Communities), the group is dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church and Patroness of the Americas. Members of the Council wish to serve the Church and to foster the progress and welfare of religious life in the United States.