“A vocation is an experience of Love so deep and so powerful that the person called senses the need to respond by unconditionally dedicating her life to God.”
(Blessed John Paul II, Vita Consecrata)
The vocation to our Augustinian cloistered contemplative life is a beautiful gift of the mercy of God.
It is a gift, which is not for us alone, but for the whole Church and world as we say YES to God.
It is an interior grace of God which calls forth from us a free response in love.
How do you know if God is blessing you with this grace and calling you to live a consecrated life of prayer within community? Your answer to the following questions may help to further clarify if God may be calling you to the religious life.
Are you sensing in your heart a desire to follow Jesus more closely?
Does the thought come to mind repeatedly over time?
Do you have a desire to give yourself totally to God; to live wholly for him in the vowed life; and to follow Jesus in his work of redemption?
Do you recognize prayer as a means of service to the Church and the world?
Do you find yourself drawn to a life of loving communion with God and do you wish to live this life with other women who share the same desire?
Do you find yourself making more time for prayer, for Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation in your life? Are you comfortable with prayaerful times of silence and solitude?
Are the activities and possessions of your life holding less meaning and value for you? Are you drawn to grow in charity, compassion, and humility?
If your heart resonates with many of the above questions we encourage you to think deeply about the possibility of a call to the contemplative religious life.
BASIC GUIDELINES FOR ONGOING DISCERNMENT AND ADMISSION TO OUR COMMUNITY:
Above all, you must desire to seek and serve God’s will in all things.
You need to:
Be between 18-35 years of age, (if you are between the ages of 36 – 40 there may be special consideration depending upon circumstances);
be a practicing Catholic for at least two years;
single (if divorced, having already obtained an annulment), have no children; are free of financial responsibilities;
have good physical and mental health;
be at ease and able to live well with others, and with women of varying ages;
be able to follow directions, keep commitments, sacrifice and be self-disciplined.
STAGES OF FORMATION:
CANDIDACY: A period of time that allows for serious reflection on the possibility of a vocation to our community. It is a time that includes initial contact, ongoing communication and visits to the monastery. The duration of Candidacy depends upon many factors: your age, schooling, work and/or other commitments.
POSTULANCY: During this 1 – 2 year timeframe you will participate in the daily life of our community. Reading and studies will focus on the essentials of living the Christian life and an introduction to the Rule and Constitutions. One of the most important elements during this time is your effort to grow in self-knowledge and your relationship with God.
NOVITIATE: The purpose of the novitiate is two-fold: t o continue growth in self-knowledge and relationship with God and to prepare for First Vows. This is facilitated by deeper study and reflection on the Rule and Constitutions; Church documents on religious life, especially with a concentration on the evangelical counsel of poverty, chastity and obedience. The novitiate last two years.
SIMPLE PROFESSION: You make public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for a period of one year. These vows are renewed annually for a minimum of three years, and may be extended up to 6 years. At this time you are incorporated as a member of our monastery, deepening your commitment to the Lord.
SOLEMN PROFESSION: With solemn vows you give yourself totally to God for the rest of your life, promising to live the life and spirit of the Rule and Constitutions of the Augustinian Nuns of contemplative life.
A FINAL CONSIDERATION:
This time of discernment is a sacred place in your life. The MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do during this time is pray. If you aren’t giving God time in prayer now, you won’t do it in the monastery either!
Attend daily Mass when possible, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, turn to Our Lady and seek her aid, pray the rosary, do spiritual reading.
Listen to your heart, and do not be afraid to step out in TRUST by contacting communities and visiting the one or two you especially find yourself drawn to.
We are united with you in prayer and the love of Jesus. May your heart always find its peace and rest in him!
God love you!