photo by Nick Wilkes Photography
The call to Benedictine life ~
becoming a sister is a loving response to an invitation from God
If you are exploring life in a religious community, you surely have many questions. We are happy to offer you some information to reflect on below and to walk with you as you explore. Know that you have our support and prayers every step along the way.
Although it may not be loud and clear, God is always speaking to us—in real but subtle ways. God’s messages come to us through the events of our day and our responses. God also communicates in the voices of wisdom: words of Scripture, trusted friends, spiritual mentors or guides.
Perhaps you sense that God is calling you to live as a Benedictine sister. Although discernment is not a process of orderly steps, the suggestions below will give you some guidelines for your journey:
- Establish a consistent pattern of prayer. Listening daily to God develops your sensitivity to God’s leading and will help you respond.
- Reflect on your life’s experiences. What gives you joy? What attracts you and brings you energy? What helps you grow, feel more loving, serve more generously?
- Talk to people who know you well and receive their perspective about your desires. What friend, mentor or guide helps you to hear your own voice and desires most clearly? Consider engaging a trained spiritual director to explore those promptings with you.
- Gather information about our community and others. Pay attention to your responses as you read, think and pray about what you learn.
Above all, relax. Breathe deeply and know that you are safe in God’s loving hands. We are praying for you. We journey with many people who wrestle with these same questions. You do not discern alone: through prayer, conversation with others and reflection on your experiences, you will become more confident in recognizing God’s call for your life.
- Sign up for Benedictine Bridge, our e-newsletter.
- Read more about Benedictine life.
- Come for an informal visit, tour or personal retreat.
- Join us for prayer or Sunday Assembly.
- Meet with a spiritual guide at the monastery.
- Volunteer at Holy Wisdom Monastery.
- Come for an A Day Away Retreat or an Exploring Benedictine Community Retreat.
- Live with us for 6 months as a Benedictine Sojourner.
A monastery may seem a peaceful escape from the world but it is designed as a “school for the Lord’s service.” We are a community dedicated to learning daily how to cultivate a healthful, life-giving spirituality together. This requires a commitment to work with all the aspects of the human person: physical, emotional, spiritual. It is from this center that we reach out in service to others. Psychological and physical health are essential for this way of life.
We welcome single Christian women, between 25 and 50 years of age, without dependents, to explore with us. In order to love and serve God and one another and to be of service to others, celibacy is part of our life. Women seeking entrance into the community need to have lived a celibate life long enough to embrace this choice.
At the end of six months as a sojourner, you are free to:
- return to your daily life with the skills you have learned, or
- explore community life further at Holy Wisdom by beginning three months of discernment with the community.
- What is the purpose of my life?
- What way of life most allows me to grow in love and service (e.g. marriage, singleness or religious life as a sister)? Which of these is most genuinely life-giving and energizing for me? What makes me happy?
- With whom do I want to live and how will I express my love?
- How can I use my gifts and talents and whom do I want to serve? What kind of work do I want to do?
With discernment, if you decide to continue and the community agrees, you move into the novitiate.
Who is there with the love of true life and longing for days of real fulfillment?
If you should hear that call and answer “I,”
this is the answer you will receive from God:
“…I shall look on you with such love and my ears will be so alert to your prayer,
before you call on me, I shall say to you, Here I am.”
—St. Benedict’s Rule: A New Translation for Today, Patrick Barry, OSB
If you have questions, I would be happy to respond. Please call me, Sister Lynne Smith, at 608-831-9305, or send an email to email@example.com.