A Special Calling
Similar to priests, God also calls women to form a closer bond with Him and serve His Church. A calling to become a Catholic nun or sister – collectively known as “women religious” – can take many forms and change over time. Women religious take vows of chastity, obedience and poverty when they commit their lives to serving God. Is God calling you to life as a consecrated woman? Do you:
- Think often about the idea of serving God in a more committed way, living as a consecrated person among other like-minded women?
- Recognize that this call – once a small seed of an internal whisper – is starting to grow, and you go from doubt to excitement?
- Hear God’s voice speaking to your heart when you pray?
- Have a feeling of peace and happiness come over you when you consider this special vocation?
- Find confirmation or reassurance from a close friend or spiritual confidant who affirms what you have been quietly thinking or feeling?
Pray often, talk with your pastor, reach out to the diocese’s vocations promoter, read up on consecrated life and the various religious communities that exist, and contact communities that interest you. Many offer “come and see” days or retreats that are good opportunities to learn more and meet others who have already accepted God’s call to religious life.
The goal of discernment is to take time to listen to God to understand more clearly His path for you. During discernment, it is important to set aside time and space to pray and be with Jesus to try to determine the next step. This might be a good time to speak to a trusted priest or member of the religious order you are interested in, to ask questions and explore further. No matter how God is calling you, you are not alone in this journey – vocation counselors, members of the clergy and others are here to help guide you along the way.
Not sure where to start? Duc In Altum (“Put out into the deep”) is a five-day vocation discernment camp at Belmont Abbey College that helps attendees discern God’s will for their lives. This summer camp and retreat is designed exclusively for young women who are aged 15 to 19.