- I’ve never thought of being a sister, but I want to give myself an opportunity to be exposed to an experience of religious life, just in case God is calling me to this way of life. What should I do?
I appreciate your openness to God’s call, no matter how it will turn out. God calls each person differently. One way to explore this is to listen to vocation stories of some sisters on our website (https://oppeace.org/become-a-sister/vocation-stories/). Then, be courageous and contact one of our vocation ministers who can help you to clarify/discern your call. At the same time, ask God to help you be open to all possible pathways.
The Dominican Sisters of Peace offer various opportunities for you to discern your call and to get familiar with religious life. You and your friends (single women) can join us for:
- “Come and See” Discernment weekend retreat to share, pray, and learn more about your personal call and the sisters’ lives and missions. “Come and See” is offered twice a year. The up-coming Come and See will be September 7 – 9, 2018, at our Motherhouse in St. Catharine, KY.
- Mission Immersion Experience involves spending a few days or up to a week with the Dominican Sisters of Peace and other women in discernment in one of our convents. You will have the opportunity to pray and work with us, and also to experience what it’s like to live in a religious community.
- Mini Live-In Experience are arranged individually and range from a few days to two weeks living with sisters in community. You will join in our day-to-day life of prayer, ministry, and community life. You can learn more about it here: (https://oppeace.org/get-involved/discernment-opportunities/)
- Do you have a place for people like me who just want to live with sisters a few months to experience religious life?
For a more extended experience, the Dominican Sisters of peace operate a house of welcome in New Heaven, CT. Women may apply to spend a semester or two with us to discern and explore their calling, while pursuing their studies or continuing to work in their current job. without making a commitment to join our congregation. Contact our vocation ministers (call or text) to discuss this possibility. If the New Haven location isn’t convenient for you, we have other locations where we may be able to arrange for this experience on an individual basis.
- You have said previously that Religious Life is blessed and fulfilling, and may be how God is calling you to become the best person you can be. Can you tell me more about your congregation’s formation program?
A great question! First, you must be deeply aware that the call to Religious Life is a call that grows out of the love between you and God. The more open and flexible you are, the more God can work in you through community, and the more you will be fulfilled and accept who you are and work for God’s mission on the earth.
During the discernment process, before you apply to enter the congregation as a Candidate, the vocation ministers will meet with you monthly to explore various themes of discernment and prayer. You will be invited to some of the different events listed above. You will also be invited to visit our sisters located in various parts of the country. This discernment process will help you deepen your call and help both you and the community determine if this congregation is the best fit for you. It is a mutual discernment.
Once you enter a religious congregation, a formation director will journey with you. We treat new members as mature adults, therefore, you will live with different groups of sisters to learn more about community life while working, studying or doing some volunteer works. You will also be exposed to different ways of prayer, engage more in congregational missions, such as promoting peace and justice, and learn how to reflect and develop your gifts while accepting your limitations and areas of growth. All of this will help you grow spiritually and intellectually, be competent and yet compassionate, build your sense of belonging, and inspire you to respond freely to this call. For more information about this process, go to https://oppeace.org/become-a-sister/how-do-i-know/
I believe that Religious Life is a blessing and a fulfilling life because through service, prayer, study and community, you will grow and flourish in various dimensions beyond your imagination. Thus, instead of doubt, focus your energy to build trust in this call, yourself and trust in God who will unfold a future full of hope for you.