Visiting a community of sisters can be a helpful step in discerning your vocation. Throughout the year we offer various opportunities for young women who desire to learn more about Pauline religious life. Ranging from short visits, retreats, to live-in experiences, these “come and see” opportunities are held in our various communities in the USA and Canada, often at our Novitiate House in Boston. (Check out our upcoming events here.)
What to expect:
- A deeper understanding of Pauline life and Eucharistic prayer
- A taste of our spirituality and the urgency we feel to proclaim the centrality of Jesus Christ in our world
- An experience of living in community and collaborating with others
- An opportunity to learn more about Pauline religious life through classes and conversations with the sisters
- Personal accompaniment by a sister who is prepared to help you in your discernment of your life’s call
“Live-in” experiences can include:
- A chance to meet the sisters, postulants, or novices
- Meeting other young women like yourself who are discerning a religious vocation
- Daily Eucharistic Liturgy
- Conferences on religious life and the Pauline charism
- Opportunities to share in our Pauline prayer and spirituality: Eucharistic adoration, meditation on the Word of God, community and personal prayer
- A one-on-one conversation with a sister about your vocational discernment
- An experience of the mission of the Daughters of St. Paul
- A silent day of retreat (during longer experiences)
When you visit
There are many ways to get to know various congregations, but a visit can be a significant step forward in your discernment. What’s most important is to keep bringing one’s experience to the Lord, always seeking the Lord’s direction, before, during, and after your visit. Praying with the community and participating in the community’s mission (during a longer visit) can really help you to understand Pauline life and whether Jesus might be calling you to it.
3 discernment tips for a first visit
These tips helped me when I first visited the Daughters of St. Paul.
- Take in as much as you can. Ask questions when invited to, and try to be open when you answer questions. The sisters want to get to know you as much as you want to get to know them. Try to notice how you feel throughout your visit. What draws you in? Do you feel at home?
- Don’t look for the “easy” fit, but for the “deep fit.” It’s not just that someone can picture themselves in this particular community, doing what the members of this community do. Rather, it’s in discovering that in this community or this congregation, God is calling us closer to himself, to be more fully alive, to give our all.
- Remember to keep bringing your experiences to the Lord throughout your visit. You might receive a quick answer, but don't look for one. Many times, the first visit doesn't mean "you know," even when someone eventually discerns to enter. Instead, look for ways that you resonate with the way the sisters live. That will help you as you continue to discern.
by Sr. Marie Paul Curley, FSP