The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

'How do I know if God is calling me to a religious vocation? What do I do next?'

Published: July 11, 2009   
Daughters of Charity in Arkansas gather in March following their annual vow renewal.

"A religious vocation is a mystery, especially when those being called are unaware of why God is calling them to a different way of life. When I talk with someone considering religious life, the first question I ask, is how long have you felt this call? If their answer is, for several months or longer, it could very well be more than a fascination. At this time I would suggest they start exploring different communities to see if they feel called to a particular religious order. I would encourage them to take their time, but most importantly I would encourage them to spend time in prayer and make visits to the Blessed Sacrament. As time passes, God will open the door and reveal where he is calling you.

"It's very helpful to acquire a spiritual director that can help in your discernment. This can be a priest, sister or anyone you respect and would be a good listener. You should also talk with your pastor or contact the vocation director in your diocese. But most importantly, the biggest help to you will be prayer."

-- Brother Francis Kirchner, OSB, Subiaco Abbey, Subiaco

"I might have a religious calling but I am not sure so what should I do? Pray! Start searching so that clarity can come for you. Make contacts with communities, check the Web. Listen to what others are saying to you. Be attentive to your heart and listen deeply. Take time to sort out the information you are just beginning to gather. Allow God's grace to work in you. Often in sifting out such a life choice we can be nervous and unsure, and this is a very normal and usual response or feeling to have.

"What should I do if I think I have a calling to be a sister? Start by communicating with people you trust. Find a spiritual director. Ask your pastor and parish to remember you in prayer. Begin visiting communities. Make contact with vocation directors. Make some vocation visits and discernment retreats. Remember that the discernment for making life choices takes time. Be gentle with yourself."

-- Sister Kimberly Rose Prohaska, OSB, St. Scholastica Monastery, Fort Smith

"This is the Lord's call so at some point you have to sense that. You have to be open to that. It's not just a career choice. It's a vocation. You have to pay attention to those stirrings. Also, if there is a great love for the Church and the Lord. If they experience that and it is there, they have to pay attention to it and take the next step.

"The important thing is to take the next step in the process so you can open up and discern what God is calling you to do. You have to spend time in prayer and you have got to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I think that is vital for diocesan priests.

You also need to participate in peer ministry. It is important you are involved in your CYM in your parish, even if you are going to a Catholic high school. It is important to go to things that develop your spiritual life, to awaken to the living presence of the Lord inside you.

"The next step is talking to your pastor. You need to let someone know about it. The parish priest understands the call."

-- Msgr. Scott Friend, Diocese of Little Rock

"If you feel drawn to a deeper relationship with God and would like to use your life to serve God and make a difference in this world, you may want to consider service as a Daughter of Charity. The feeling that God is calling you to a life in religious community may surface while praying, reading the Bible or in the people around you. Maybe it's a growing desire to respond to God's love by serving him through serving others.

However you feel this call, listen carefully -- God may be calling you. As Daughters of Charity, we live together in community, serving persons who are poor. Our ministries take us out into the world, serving in diversely different areas.

"If you would like to further investigate the possibility of becoming a Daughter of Charity, you could start by checking our Web site, Then get to know the sisters. We will be able to answer your questions and share with you what becoming a Daughter of Charity has meant in our lives. You can also read the personal stories from some of our sisters on our Web site."

-- Daughters of Charity of Arkansas

"You will know if God is calling you to the religious life if -- when you listen with 'the ears of your heart' -- you 'hear' God's call to go and find out more about religious life and his 'tug' at your heart won't stay away. When you feel that call strongly enough, speak with your parish priest, parent, vocation director or trusted member of your parish about your call. The one you speak with would be able to help you find out information to assist you in contacting a religious house for a visit to learn more about the different types of religious life."

-- Sister M. Thérèse Johnson, OSB, Holy Angels Convent, Jonesboro

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