Jesus went up into the hills,
and summoned those he wanted.
So they came to him
and he appointed twelve;
they were to be his companions
and to be sent out …
Mark 3: 13-14
It all begins with a call. The basic meaning of a vocation is not defined by any specific role or function but is something far greater, something written on a vast canvas. It is pure gift, with God as its author and life as its subject. This call is not first and foremost to a particular role in life but more…it is a call to seek the face of God, a call to holiness and the fullness of life itself. This is the endpoint of the biblical quest: to see the face of God and live.
It is for this that we are called, all of us as part of the human family, and surely all of us as part of the church.
Entering a missionary congregation requires a willingness to be sent.
“A Missionary Sister should always be convinced
that God knows best where she can do most for his Glory”.
(from the writings of Mother Paula Emunds, Co-foundress)
Signs That God Is Calling You To Be A Missionary Sisters Of The Precious Blood
- A desire and free decision to commit oneself to the life and service of Jesus
- A yearning for a prayer life lived in community
- A spirit of joyfulness and friendliness
- An ongoing development of faith and hope
- An openness to personal growth and ability to be flexible
- A deep concern for the needs of Church and world and a desire to be part of the evangelization process (to “go-global”)
- Ability and willingness to live in an international and multicultural community
- A desire to balance prayer and work (Benedictine spirit of “Ora et Labora”)
- A readiness for mission ( to be sent where needed)
For further enquiries and information in the USA please contact:
Precious Blood Convent
1094 Welsh Road,
Reading, PA 19607-9363
For further enquiries and information in Canada please contact:
St. Bernard’s Convent
685 Finch Ave
If you believe that God is calling you to a commitment in Religious life, an initial conversation with the Vocation Director is arranged to explore the event(s) in life which have led to this discernment.
In the conversation there is a sharing of one’s biographical background (family, education, life and work experiences).
An agreement is made to meet regularly and to find an experienced spiritual director.
There is an introduction to the vocational discernment process and program.
The mission and charism of Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood is outlined and explained.
Vocational Discernment Program
- An individual and/or group discernment program can be arranged on a regular basis.
- A live-in weekend experience with the community preferably on the “Come and See” weekends and a participation in community feasts and celebrations is encouraged.
- “Come and See” retreat days are offered to interested young adult women three times a year
Sr. Gabriel Mary CPS
St. Bernard’s Convent
685 Finch Avenue West
HOW DO YOU HEAR God’s call in your lives?
How do you understand what you hear?
These questions have been asked throughout the ages and continue to be asked by all who seek to discern God’s presence and call in their lives. If you look at scripture, you find several examples of people struggling to understand God’s call to them.
YOU ARE LIKELY to hear God’s call several times before you realize who is calling. Your task is to listen, to listen well, and, once you’ve heard God’s voice, to follow it.
Consider the story of the call of Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-10). Samuel was a young boy serving in the temple when he heard a voice calling his name. He assumed this voice was that of the priest, Eli. Eventually, Eli realized that Samuel was hearing God’s voice calling to him and instructed him to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Samuel needed Eli to tell him that the voice he heard was God’s. He didn’t recognize God’s voice on his own.
Or consider the story of Andrew and the other disciple when they were with John the Baptist. John sees Jesus walking by and points out, “Behold the Lamb of God.” With that the two disciples of John follow after Jesus and become his disciples (John 1:35-40). They needed John the Baptist to point out Jesus to them. Then, they could follow and respond.
When you seek to discover God’s call in your lives you enter a time of discernment. The dictionary defines to discern as: to separate, to sort out, to sift through. Discernment, then, is a time of sifting and sorting. Religious discernment is also a time to see with the eyes of your heart so that you can choose life in God. It is a time when you allow yourselves to be open to God’s will, and it is an opportunity to allow your hearts to guide your mind more than just trusting your own reasoning.
What do you hear?
While discernment has many parts, four basic steps are necessary at the time of discovering one’s vocation. The first is a call to become aware. You are called to listen to God, to yourselves, and to those around you.
If you are to listen to God, then prayer is essential. You need to take time to be in conversation with God, to ask God for help and guidance. You have only to look to the life of Jesus to see the prominent place of prayer in discernment. As you read the gospels you find that before every major decision Jesus went off alone to pray. He did this prior to choosing the 12 apostles, and he spent much time in prayer as he prepared for his Passion and death.
While you need time alone, you also can find God’s voice in the voices of those around you. Your call is not for you alone. While you may grow personally and your relationship with God may develop as a result of your call, your vocation is always a call for others, a call to be of service to others, a call to pray for others.
“Do not be afraid of Christ!
He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. …
Open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.”
Pope Benedict XVI
Discerning a call to religious life is a two-way street. It calls for mutual discernment-on the part of the individual as well as the community. Just as with marriage, entering a religious community involves two parties, and both are called to be open and honest in order to discern if God is calling someone to join this particular community or not.
While discernment requires that you spend time alone in prayer and conversation with God, you also need other people to help you sort out the fruits of your prayer, to help show you the way to follow God’s call. As members of the body of Christ, you need one another to uncover your talents and abilities. You need the other members of the body to assist you on your journey and, at times, to show you the way. We are all members of a community, a family of faith. Your discernment in life, therefore, leads you naturally into that community, not away from it. God uses those around you to lead you, to guide you, to spur you into action.
Discernment takes a lot of energy. Listening is not easy! Like Samuel, you are likely to hear God’s call several times before you realize who is calling. But, with the help of your friends, your families, and your communities of faith, you can find where God’s call is leading you. Your task is to listen, to listen well, and, once you’ve heard God’s voice, to follow it as did the disciples of John-following Jesus who asks each of you, “What are you seeking?”
Suggested reflective questions during discernment process
1. BECOME AWARE
Questions to ask yourself: Has anyone ever suggested that I might want to consider being a brother, a sister, or a priest? Has someone invited me to be active in ministry? Has anyone recognized gifts and talents in me and called them forth? Do I acknowledge that these voices could be the voice of God leading me toward my vocation in life? How do I sift through all of it? How do I discern God’s voice in the midst of the cacophony around me? What do I hear? To whom am I listening? How much time do I spend in prayer? Have I asked God for assistance as I strive to listen for my vocation in life? What do others have to say to me, about me?
2. GATHER INFORMATION AND INVESTIGATE THE MANY AVAILABLE OPTIONS
Questions to ask yourself: What are my gifts? Where am I best suited to serve? What motives are driving me in my choices? Where am I resisting God’s invitation?
3. CHOOSE WHAT YOU UNDERSTAND TO BE GOD’S WILL
Questions to ask yourself: What is the most loving choice I can make? What is the choice that will help me be most fully myself?
4. LOOK FOR CONFIRMATION OF YOUR CHOICE
Questions to ask yourself: What happens within me? Is there peace, even in the midst of some doubts? What happens when I share my choice with other people? Do others say, “Oh, I can see you as . . . .”? How do I understand negative responses that occur within me? How do I interpret negative responses that I receive from family members or from friends? How do I listen to these guides? Do I seek to find God’s voice in the voices of those who know me and who love me? Do I take any criticism or concern as an opportunity to examine my motivations and find myself strengthened rather than weakened in my resolve?