How Do I Know?
How do you know if God is calling you to join us?
Good question and there is no easy way to answer. Each person’s call and journey is unique, but you can be sure that God knows and calls each person by name. You may have met a Sister, or an Associate, whose witness to God as a Dominican literally set your heart on fire! Or you may have felt a seed planted in you that you can no longer ignore and you need to address it. You may have your own questions and curiosity, and have searched the internet, and discovered our website.
Most importantly, be sure to pray about it with an open heart and mind. It will help you to connect with someone who knows how to ask questions and guide you along the way. Talk with one of our vocation ministers. Ask more questions. Pray. Spend some time with us and listen to your heart.
There are a number of opportunities for you to get to know Dominican Sisters of Peace through weekend programs and other discernment opportunities.
Since the heart of any true vocation is a relationship with God, you may wish to reflect on some basic questions:
- Do you enjoy praying?
- Is community important to you?
- Are you eager to deepen your relationship with God, and relationship with others who share your curiosity about Dominican Life?
- Do you wish to make a difference with your life by being part of something larger than yourself?
- What gives you energy, and how might being Dominican tap into that energy?
Of course, you will want to review this process with a spiritual director, or Vocation Minister of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
The process of coming to a decision about your vocation is called discernment. These are some steps that are involved in this process:
- Prayerfully weigh the evidence that is leading you in this direction, and attend to your feelings as you list your reasons for or against the choice.
- Imagine yourself as having said “Yes” to this choice: how would it be, both now, and 10 years from now? Then do the same for an alternative choice.
- Make the decision.
- Offer this choice to God and ask for the peace and inner joy that will give you confirmation that you have made the right decision.
- Contact a Vocation minister.
Once you know – then what?
You can talk with members of our Ministry of Welcome team. These are Sisters whose role is to help you discern and they are happy to journey with you as you continue to get to know our community by living, praying, and ministering with us. Just as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) initiates people into the community of the Catholic Church, the Ministry of Welcome process will guide you as you continue to discern God’s movement in your life as you seek to see if religious life is a good fit for you. While the process is designed to be flexible and responsive to the needs of each woman, there are several phases intended to introduce you to Dominican life. If Dominican Life fits, then you may wish to apply to become a Candidate as you continue your discernment.
The Candidacy Period
The Candidacy period (six months to two years) is a time of welcoming you into our way of life and continuing discernment by you and the congregation. During this time, you will experience living with a local community. In addition, we have begun a residency program in New Haven, CT which offers pre-candidates an opportunity to live in a local community. Learn more.
The Novitiate (usually two years) gives you time to focus on your spirituality, the vows, and the mission of the congregation. Generally, the first year is spent at the Dominican Collaborative Novitiate in St. Louis, where you will have the opportunity to live and study with novices from other Dominican communities.
At the end of the Novitiate, your discernment with the congregation may lead you to make a temporary profession of vows. This time of Temporary Profession (three to six years) is a time of deepening your Dominican life and integrating all you have learned and experienced.
While Profession of Perpetual Vows concludes the Ministry of Welcome process, becoming Dominican remains a life-long adventure. We hope you’ll join us!
Still have questions? Talk with us. Remember Pope Francis said, “Do not be afraid to dream great things.”
A word from someone who is discerning herself
“Why am I discerning vowed religious life? Because I feel God’s call and have a desire to serve others. I find I can do this best by living in a community of Sisters who pray together. That charges me up, and then I can share the fruits of that with others. As a single woman, before I moved into community, it was really challenging to grow in faith and in my relationship with God. Going to centering prayer sessions, Lectio Divina, or to a small faith groups, etc., took a lot of travelling time that I could have directed to ministering to others or praying more deeply. In formation to become a Dominican Sister of Peace I find a happy correlation between need, receiving and giving.