Here are some questions Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Sister Carmen Marie Diaz prepared as a self-help jump start to personal discernment before their recent presentation at Roncalli High School, Manitowoc, WI. They may prove to also be a helpful to you.
Questions to ask yourself if you think you might have a religious vocation
- Have you found yourself thinking a lot about religious life lately?
- Do you have a caring heart, compassion for helping those in need?
- Is your relationship with God just as important as your relationship with your friends?
- Are you level-headed, a critical thinker, adventurous, flexible, and willing to learn from failures as well as successes?
- Are you attracted to spiritual things (service to others, spending time in prayer, reading about the Saints or reading the Bible, talking to others about God, etc.)
- Level of commitment-one year; two year or a lifetime?
- Serving God necessitates a joyful and humble spirit. Are you both?
- Over 18, healthy spiritually, physically and psychologically?
How do I know for sure?
You don’t need to know for sure if you have a calling to the religious life in order to have a genuine vocation. If there is a something inside of you that wants more then why not explore this wanting to know more about God, or be closer to God and see where it takes you. The best way to find out is to visit communities in person and check in with your diocese vocations office.
The following are a few points that one might follow during the discernment process.
Meet with a spiritual director, a person experienced in helping others determine where the Lord is leading them in their lives.
Try to meet others who have walked this path, particularly a Vocation Director whose specific work is helping others discern if they have a Religious vocation.
Talk to those who know you. You might be surprised by their honest feedback.
Take action. Religious communities welcome discerning guests to stay with them. Make arrangements to visit certain communities for a short period of time (perhaps 4-6 days). Be prepared to join in prayer, work, spending time in relaxing and laughing.
Cultivate spiritual practices. Go to confession, Eucharistic Adoration and Mass often.
Spend some time in prayer or spiritual reading. Before going to bed, spend time in prayer and make an examination of conscience for your actions for the day.
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