Two stories on discernment to Religious Life
Sister Walburga is a Benedictine Nun at Minster Abbey, Kent
During my discernment to Religious Life I became very aware that the call isn’t in abstract form. It is us ourselves, with our unique strengths and weaknesses, gifts and talents that God calls. It is who we are.
I initially explored Apostolic Religious Life, wanting to be a missionary or to continue serving others in the social care field. However through my discernment, with the help of others to accompany me and as I grew in self-awareness, the sense of call became clearer. I began to wonder if my call was to a contemplative community.
When I took my First Vows I took a new name as part of taking on the monastic life. So I have acquired a wonderful Patron, Saint Walburga! Of course I am still the same person God has called by name. Or I should say I am growing into the person He has called me to be.
I have now been in the monastery over 10 years. As Benedictines our call is to a specific community and I am very happy that God called me by name to be a nun here at Minster Abbey.
Kim Thérèse is Discerning a Vocation to Religious Life
I was asked to write a piece on discernment and being ‘Called by Name’, so here is my story so far. For me, I experienced an attraction to the Religious Life since the age of 15, but it was only as time passed that I went through a “YES-NO-YES” pattern from discovery and enthusiasm for learning about the life, to doubts and trials, to a final surrendering of myself to God’s will and plan for me. I realised that although the attraction was there, there was also a pull, an almost reluctance to take the step of making a commitment to a congregation to try and test my vocation. However, I could not shake the thought of consecrating myself totally to God in this way, and I knew I could not be at peace until I at least gave it a try.
I often say to people, “When you know, you’ll know” because for me, I found a perfect stillness in my heart, a peace and a strong sense of homecoming with a particular congregation, and I just knew that was the charism and place I had to “try” Religious Life or else I could never be at peace.
On this journey with God, this adventure, I found two things – firstly, that one’s vocation is never for oneself, and secondly, that no matter what your family and friends’ reaction may be, the best thing you can do is keep your gaze on Jesus and confide in your spiritual director and the congregation’s vocation director.