Vocations: A Call to Follow Christ
A vocations candidate helps keep up the household with Sister Bernadette.The call to follow Christ in a monastic life of solitude and prayer, while very unique to each individual, is yet a fully normal and not unexpected development for those called to live in intimacy with the Lord. Each call is to a particular place, a particular community and a particular form of life. Each call requires careful discernment, which takes place over a period of time. Anyone attracted to the Hermitage’s way of life should first contact us, either by mail or phone, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. After initiating contact, a woman should make plans to visit us, first for a few days, and then again for a few weeks, if possible. If God seems to be calling the individual, she can return first as an aspirant (or observer) living and working with us inside our enclosure for a period of at least three months. This time can be extended to as much as twelve months, depending on the background and aptitude of the individual.
If this continues to seem like an authentic call from the Lord, the woman leaves for a short space of time, while formally requesting to enter as a postulant. Postulancy will last from six to twelve months. At the end of the period of postulancy comes novitiate. This is the intensive period of a person’s formation into monastic and contemplative life. This is the time of deeply learning the ways of prayer and lectio, the history and traditions of monasticism and Scripture, and the meaning of real interior conversion and self-renunciation. It is a time of greater silence and withdrawal, a time of true preparation for the ongoing life of daily conversion and prayer which monastic life demands.
After novitiate, the new monastic professes her vows for a period of three years. At this time she becomes more and more integrated into the community, taking responsibility for various tasks and becoming more deeply involved in the ongoing running of the household. This period may also be extended for up to three more years, at either the individual’s or community’s request. Finally the monastic is accepted to final profession, becoming a full member of the community, with all its accompanying privileges, and all its responsibilities.
“…she should live in the novitiate, where the novices study, eat and sleep. A senior chosen for her skill in winning souls, should be appointed to look after them with careful attention. The concern must be whether the novice truly seeks God…” RB 58:5-6.
The process is lengthy by design. It gives both community and individual plenty of time to know each other, plenty of time to adapt, to change and grow – and plenty of time, if necessary, to realize that this may not be the call. We can assure you however, that if this is indeed your call, the Lord will confirm it in ‘many and various’ ways, and you will indeed be filled with ‘the joy of His presence’ as you pursue your daily life here at the Hermitage. Indeed, as St. Benedict promised, “as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.” RB Prol: 49.
Please email the Sisters if you would like information on vocations.