How Do I Start Discerning?

Become a Sister Request Prayer Volunteer Donate

How Do I Start Discerning?

I think God may be calling me, now what?


As you embark on this journey, know that you are loved by God and that you are in good company with others who are discerning God’s call in their life.  God continues to call men and women to the priesthood and to religious life. Check out these Statistics on Recent Vocations to Religious Life for some demographics of newer entrants.

To help you get started with your discernment about where God is calling you, we encourage you to become familiar with some basic components of the discernment process. Here we highlight the importance of prayer, knowing yourself, seeking information and insight, imagining making a choice, and taking a leap of faith in the discernment process.

See also Ways to Discern Your Vocation for more information about the discernment process.

What Are My Next Steps?

Put Your Life in God’s Hands
  • Pray

    • Deepen your relationship with God through prayer.
    • Ask God for guidance and listen with an open heart.
    • How does God speak to you?
    • How do you experience God’s call? through others? nature? silence? prayer? dreams? music?
    • Journal about your prayer experiences. Writing about your experiences helps you to organize and explore your thoughts more fully.
    • Consider praying in the ways noted below:


    “Prayer is the voice of desire.”
    (St. Thomas Aquinas)
  • Know Yourself

    The first step to understanding your call to a vocation is to know yourself – and this takes time!

    Examine your own gifts, hopes, dreams, challenges, fears, and personality.

    God speaks to us through our humanity – through who we are and what we care about.

    Each of us is created with a unique personality and have a personal history, both of which are part of our call.

    • What are your values and goals?
    • What is important to you?
    • How do you see God acting in your life?
    • How do your conversations about your call make you feel?


    “O Lord, You search me and you know me, you understand my desires from afar.” (Psalm 139)
  • Seek Information & Insight

    Seek Information & Insights


    “Seek and you shall find.” (Matthew 7:7)


  • Imagine Making a Choice

    Making Choices
    As you pray and seek to understand how God is calling you, we encourage you to:

    • Spend time visualizing what your life might look like in the next five or ten years.
    • Imagine yourself as a religious Sister in community and ministry.
    • Visualize your life as a single or married person.


    “Show me the path of truth, O Lord. Help me to walk in your ways.
    My heart is ready, O God; I will praise your name forever.”

    (Psalm 25:4-5)
  • Take a Leap of Faith

    Discernment is a process that leads to action.
    Don’t just think about it – DO IT!

    Choose what you feel is God’s will for you and give God a chance to make your life all that it can be.

    You don’t need to be 100 percent certain to take the next step. Think about how you chose your college or your career path – you didn’t stop because you were unsure. Follow your heart – it will help you to make the best choice, the choice that leads you to become the person God knows you can be.

    There is not always a quick answer … discernment calls for patience. Take time to pay attention to the Spirit’s movement within you. Sometimes it helps to make a list of the pros and cons before making a decision.

    You may need to ask some practical questions before you can make a decision, such as:

    • Have I met the requirements to join this congregation? If not, am I willing to work toward meeting these requirements?
    • Are my beliefs and values consistent with those of this congregation?
    • When I picture myself living out this decision, do I feel at peace?


    “It is only through shadows that one comes to know the light.”
    (Saint Catherine of Siena)