Catholic Vocation Information
May I trust you with all my heart,
You love and accept me unconditionally and desire only what is best for me
Guide me to know that desire and help me to fulfill my vocation in life.
Help me to know with conviction that path in life
You call me to so that I may say YES freely and joyfully and follow you wherever you lead me.
Our Lady of Bon Secours pray for me!
What is God calling you to do with your life? What is your deepest desire? How can you best serve others? What will bring you fulfillment?
What I am is God’s gift to me. What I become is my gift to God.
Those words bring to mind how we are all called in unique ways to live our lives, to serve Christ and one another. Discovering just what our spiritual and lifes calling is, and which paths we are to take is both exciting and challenging. As we talk about religious life in this section some of the terms we use may be unfamiliar to you.
Click here for a glossary of terms used in this section.
How do I begin the spiritual journey that God’s calling me to?
When you feel ready, a visit is a great way to explore religious life and to get to know us personally.
A consistent prayer life is crucial to discernment. You must take time to listen to what God has to say. To know what lies in your heart. Without prayer the journey is pointless.
CLICK HERE to hear Sister Pat Dowling, CBS, Vocation Director discuss discernment and religious life on the Busted Halo Radio Show.
Candidate: A candidate is a woman who is in the initial stages of (formation) becoming a member of a religious congregation.
Celibate Chastity: All baptized persons are called to be chaste, caring, and responsible in their love for each other. A woman chooses not to marry or have sexual relations when she makes the vow of celibacy as a way to share her love in service of others and to witness to God’s Kingdom. Vowed women commit to loving in a single hearted way. She is supported by prayer, community and friends.
Charism: a gift of the Holy Spirit, given either to an individual or to a community, to be used in service of others. It is a unique experience of grace given to the foundress as a way of living the Gospel in a particular way. It attracts others, forming a spiritual kinship of grace, and the members live such a way that it forms the heart, identity, and mission of the congregation.
Community: a group of women bound by common interest, who live together and are rooted in their charism and spirituality while living in solidarity with the people they serve.
Congregation: women called to religious life as members of a particular congregation, such as the Sisters of Bon Secours. The congregation is gifted with a particular charism, such as compassion, healing and liberation. Members profess the vows of celibate chastity, poverty, and obedience, live a community life and commit themselves to prayer and service according to the mission of the congregation.
Consecrated Life: is a particular lifestyle, a call from God, to model one’s life on Jesus by living as He did in poverty, celibacy, and obedience, and dedicating oneself to God for service to God’s people.
Contemplation: is the prayerful awareness of the presence of God in the depths of oneself, in others, and in the world. It is the ability to see, with eyes of faith, all things in God.
Discernment: a prayerful process used to discover God’s desire for us in the particular circumstances in our lives. It’s a way of listening to the voice of God in our experiences, in the scripture, and in the Church. We sort through movements of our hearts and make the best choices among alternatives. Vocation discernment is a mutual process done in dialog with others.
Evangelical Counsels: means Gospel. It is a way of life based on the Gospel by practicing the virtues of poverty, chastity, and obedience. All Christians are called to practice these Gospel virtues. It’s understood as these three vows as professed by those who choose to live a consecrated life.
Formation: The process of education and spiritual development that takes place during the early years after entering a religious congregation.
Novice: a woman received into the life of a religious congregation. The time of initial formation, called the novitiate, is a time of intense spiritual formation. The novice has the opportunity to grow in an understanding of her vocation, both to the vowed life and to the congregation. The novice is introduced more fully to prayer, study of scripture, liturgy, the Church, the history and theology of vowed life and the history and charism of Bon Secours. The novitiate is two years.
Obedience: in Latin it means “to listen.” All Christians are called to be attentive to the Holy Spirit indicating God’s Will in their lives. This vow is a means of creating a mutual dialog among the members for the sake of advancing its mission. Through this dialog, members cooperate with the leadership of the congregation to determine God’s will.
Participation in the Church’s Mission: by virtue of our baptismal commitment all Christians are called to affect the world by living Gospel values as members of society. A shared life in Christ and the support we give and receive through our exercise of the church’s various ministries help us to become instruments of peace, justice, healing, and love. And, we fulfill our mission as Church in the world. All are called to be signs of God’s reign in the various ways we participate individually and together in our society. When the Gospel message is not accepted by those around us, we are called to be counter-cultural.
Poverty: All Christians are called to use created things with care and with respect for the God who has given us our Earth and its resources. Material goods are meant to be used for the welfare of all and should not be acquired in a self-centered way while depriving others. Those living a consecrated life make a vow or a sacred promise of poverty as a commitment to hold the virtue of poverty individually and corporately. They serve the needs of the materially and spiritually poor. In the simplicity of their lives, religious and secular institute members witness to a mindfulness of those who go without.
Religious Profession: is the making public vows of celibate chastity, poverty, and obedience. By profession the members of a religious congregation are consecrated to God and are incorporated into the congregation. Upon completion of candidacy, novitiate and temporary profession, religious make final profession. Temporary profession is part of the initial formation process and ordinarily lasts between three and nine years according to the Constitution of the congregation.
Sister: A sister is a woman who is a member of a religious congregation, such as the Sister of Bon Secours.
Vocation: Every person is created by God and called to live in a relationship by loving God, self, others, and all creation. Through Baptism and Confirmation, all are called to follow Jesus. This call leads people to one of four paths in life: Single life, marriage, consecrated life, or priesthood. Christians live out the call to holiness and service by means of one of these vocations.
Vow: A vow is a free, deliberate, and solemn public promise that is made to God in the Church.
Spiritual directors are trained sisters, clergy or lay people who assist you in hearing what God is calling you to. They meet with you one on one, and aid you in finding ways to become more open to the call of the Holy Spirit.
They begin a session with prayer and explore with you those spiritual thoughts, reflections, and experiences you have, helping you to discern what this may be telling you about your personal relationship with God.
Though the experience is often transformative, the aim of spiritual direction is to help people become more aware of God’s presence in their lives and to be open to their own potential and growth.
Purpose: To continue to grow in an understanding and awareness of God’s work in/with me.
Expectation: To take one hour each week to review and respond to the following, response kept in a journal to be shared.
- What is happening/has happened this past week?
- Where is it leading —toward God or away from God?
- What was the high point of this week?
- What was the difficult point of this week?
Areas to reflect on and respond with above questions to:
- Prayer — Personal, Communal, Spiritual Reading, Examen
- Apostolic Experiences
- Community – relationships
- Affectivity – feelings, awareness of/in touch with/acceptance of
- Regularity of life – rhythm – helps/interruptions
Without Reflection I can so easily live on the surface and let things happen. Do I want this?
Christ has a dream of who/what I will be. Do I want this dream to be fulfilled?
He will only reveal this dream to me through prayer, community, others, events, classes, apostolic activity, etc. Do I want this dream revealed to me?
Have I experienced myself this week as God’s gift?
Have I experienced myself as lovable?
Have I been able to laugh with and at myself this week?
Have I been gentle or severe with myself this week? How does God deal with me?
In experiencing my humanness/my brokenness/my healing this week can I say to God THANKS!?
We are the Sisters of Bon Secours, an international Congregation of vowed women religious who bring the Good News of compassion, healing and liberation and its message of joyous hope to people. Our mission to bring ‘good help to those’ in need through our ministries spans 180 years.
Today, more than ever, men and women long for meaning in life, peace and joy. Underneath this desire is a longing for God. As Sisters of Bon Secours we transform these longings into service in order to make our world more whole.
Perhaps you desire more in life and experience a feeling that something is missing. Or even wonder, “Is God calling me to something more?” Perhaps God is calling you to service in a particular way that would allow you to give your whole self in ministry. This can be exciting.
I help women exploring a life option as a sister sort out their feelings to understand how God is calling them in life. Taking that fist step to contact someone about this can be scary. Relax, God gives us graces to respond to his invitation.
We would love to share our hopes and dreams with you! Hoping to hear from you soon.
With prayers and best wishes,
Sr. Pat Dowling, CBS
Sisters of Bon Secours Vocation Director
We welcome you to inquire about our life. Email me at email@example.com. I can share more about us.
1525 Marriottsville Rd., Marriottsville, MD 21104 • 1-877-742-0277