Description and requirements
Religious Institutes seek women who are called by God, who are called to their particular charism and who can contribute to the life and mission of the community.
2. General basic requirements to enter a community
These are the basic requirements for women entering most Women’s Congregations— Each Religious institute can have variations and more specific entry criteria depending on their mission and traditions:
- A citizen or legal resident in the country where you would enter
- Generally between the ages of 18 and 45
- Having received the sacraments of initiation in the Roman Catholic Church
- In good canonical standing in the Roman Catholic Church
- Single and willing to live a celibate lifestyle
- Capable and willing to make a lifetime commitment
- Generally in good physical and psychological health
- Having a successful employment record or be engaged in higher education
- Free from serious financial debts and obligations
- Successfully passing a criminal background check
If you want to explore a call to religious life we recommend that you contact one of the communities on our website for more information about their particular Spirit and Charism. (See the Contact us section)
For more information about religious life we recommend you look at these websites:
3. How to begin
You can begin a process of discernment by following these simple steps*:
- Pray! Make a conscious choice to be aware of God’s presence. God is bombarding us with blessings and presence everywhere and at all times, but we are often unaware. Relax… Open up… Give God some quality time. Try to spend a minimum of 20 minutes per day listening to God in prayer.
- Get a notebook. Start writing down what you experience. When did you first notice this call? What comments, encouragement, or invitation have others given you? Are there any particular events that started you thinking about a vocation to religious life? Any Scripture texts that struck you to the core?
- Remember. Recall your personal faith history. Where have you been? When did you first experience God? How has your image of God changed since you were a child?
- Talk to someone you can trust. Talk to one person you can trust and who can be objective with you about how you feel. It would help if that person knows and understands religious life.
- Start looking around. Slowly start looking around at Sisters you have known. Pick up your local Catholics newspaper, magazine, or directory to notice ads for vocation events, retreats and other activities. Some people begin writing to a Sister or a vocation guidance person. Find some vocation literature and review it occasionally.
- Get involved. Get involved in some form of service or parish ministry, such as teaching a Religious education class, serving as lector, minister of the Eucharist, visiting the elderly, or feeding the homeless are just a few examples.
- Enlist the support of prayerful people. Ask people to pray for you. You don’t have to specify an intention. You could suggest that you are trying to discover God’s will for your life or that you are trying to make a decision. Consider asking for prayer from your family, close friends, a prayer group at the parish, a rosary group or cloistered contemplative women. Call them on the phone and ask!
- Pay Attention! Notice and pay attention to what is life-giving or energizing for you. Where’s the passion? What is the attraction? When you find an incident, relationship, or Scripture that catches your attention write it in your notebook. There are all pointers and clues.
*Adapted from Vocation Anonymous: A handbook for adults discerning priesthood and Religious life by Sister Kathleen Bryant, RSC c. 1196 NCCV. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: National Religious Vocation Conference