Is God calling me to the Religious Life?
Do you want to give yourself to God? Do you want to serve God's creation? Are you feeling drawn to a life of prayer? Does the idea of living with other people who are following the same commitment appeal to you? Are you wanting to do something more to express your Christian commitment?
If any of these thoughts have occurred to you, then it is possible that you have a vocation to the Religious Life.
Women considering the possibility of a call to be a Sister usually visit one of our houses to see the life at first hand and to get to know the community.
There is no formal entry qualification; every kind of talent and experience can be used in the religious life.
The first step is to become an aspirant, visiting and living alongside the community, usually at the Mother House. Admission as a postulant follows and after a minimum of three months the candidate may apply for Clothing (receiving the habit) as a novice.
After a further period of training and discernment she takes the three vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience in the ceremony of First Profession as a Sister.
Some communities invite enquirers to live and work along side them as part of the exploration process. We now have openings for Alongsiders at St Oswald's Pastoral Centre, and also at the Priory. It is not necessary to be an enquirer into Religious Life to take part in this scheme. If you have finished university, or are between jobs, or perhaps have recently retired, and wish to spend some time in prayerful discerment for your future path, then living alongside a community can be helpful in this.
The Profession Ceremony is both a solemn occasion and a joyous celebration. At First Profession, the Order's Spiritual Advisor usually receives the vows of the Novice. At Life Profession, it is the Visitor, or another Bishop, who receives the Sister's vows.
Two quotes from Archbishop Rowan Williams' address "Monks and Mission", given at Monte Cassino in 2012:
"The discipline of worship, sanctifying the entire day, teaches that the world in all its variety can be given meaning and that our final destiny is simply to be held in the delight of God’s presence."
"The root of the monastic life is the plain sense of a calling into intimacy with God through life lived with brothers and sisters, nothing more, nothing less."