Rejoice: Letter to all consecrated people from the magisterium of Pope Francis

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Keep Watch: A letter to consecrated men and women journeying in the footsteps of God

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Letter to all Consecrated People: Apostolic Letter on the occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life

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Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life

O God, throughout the ages you have called women and men
to pursue lives of perfect charity through the evangelical counsels
of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

During this Year of Consecrated Life, we give you thanks
for these courageous witnesses of Faith and models of inspiration.
Their pursuit of holy lives teaches us to make a more perfect offering of ourselves to you. 

Continue to enrich your Church by calling forth sons and daughters who,
having found the pearl of great price,
treasure the Kingdom of Heaven above all things.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

From the USCCB website


Prayer for discerners

LORD of the Harvest, 

BLESS young people with the gift of courage to respond to your call.
Open their hearts to great ideals, to great things.
INSPIRE all of your disciples to mutual love and giving—
for vocations blossom in the 
good soil of faithful people.

INSTILL those in religious life, parish 
ministries, and families with the confidence 
and grace to invite others to embrace 
the bold and noble path of a life 
consecrated to you.

UNITE us to Jesus through prayer and sacrament,
so that we may cooperate 
with you in building your reign of mercy 
and truth, of justice and peace. Amen.

— Pope Francis

Adapted from the Message on the 51st World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Taken from Vocation Network 




The National Office for Vocation has released logos for the Year of Consecrated Life

The English version is available to download here and the Welsh version here.

The logo is also available in greyscale and black - if you would like either of these versions please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Vatican Logo for the Year of Consecrated Life

A dove supports on one wing a polyhedral globe, and while resting on the water, it safeguards with the other wing three stars that arise from the water.

The Logo for the Year of Consecrated Life expresses through symbols the fundamental values of consecrated life. In it we recognize the “unceasing work of the Holy Spirit, who in every age shows forth the richness of the practice of the evangelical counsels through a multiplicity of charisms. In this way too he makes ever present in the Church and in the world, in time and space, the mystery of Christ” (VC 5).

In the lines that outline the form of the dove one can intuit the word ‘Peace’ in Arabic: this is a reminder that consecrated life is called to be the model for universal reconciliation in Christ.

Click to read more about the symbols on the logo.



Female - Apostolic orders


Sisters of St Andrew         

Little Sisters of the Assumption

Oblates of the Assumption   

Religious of the Assumption

Canonesses of St Augustine

Canonesses of St Augustine (Congregation of Our Lady)

Blessed Sacrament Sisters  

Bridgettines (Order of the Most Holy Saviour of St Bridget)

Brigidines (Congregation of St Brigid)

Carmelite Missionaries

Carmelites Sisters of Corpus Christi

Cenacle Sisters (Our Lady of the Cenacle)

Daughters of Divine Charity

Religious Sisters of Charity          

Sisters of Charity of St Jeanne Antide

Sisters of Charity of Nevers

Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Evron

Sisters of Charity of St Paul the Apostle

Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul

Sisters of Christ

Sisters of the Christian Retreat

Sisters of St Clare

Missionary Sisters of St Columban

Comboni Missionary Sisters

Daughters of the Cross of Liege

Sisters of the Holy Cross

Sisters of the Cross and Passion

Daughters of Divine Love

Dominican Sisters of the English Congregation 

Congregation of The Dominican Sisters of Newcastle Natal

Dominican Sisters of St Joseph

Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Faithful Companions of Jesus

Franciscans of St Mary of the Angels

Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception

Franciscan Missionaries Sisters of St Joseph

Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Littlehampton  

Franciscan Missionaries of Mary

Franciscan Sisters Minoress

Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal

Grace and Compassion Benedictines

Society of the Holy Child Jesus

Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus

Holy Family of Bordeaux

Holy Family Sisters (St Emilie)

Holy Family Sisters of the Needy

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth

Daughters of the Holy Spirit

Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Spirit

Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre

Helpers of the Holy Souls

Immaculate Heart of Mary Mother of Christ

Religious of Mary Immaculate

Congregation of Jesus

Infant Jesus Sisters

Daughters of Jesus

Little Sisters of Jesus

Sisters of St John of God

Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy

Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition

Sisters of St Joseph of Lyons

Sisters of St Joseph  

Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny

Sisters of St Joseph of Peace

Insitute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters)

Sisters of St Louis

Marist Sisters  

Daughters of the Heart of Mary

Daughters of Mary and Joseph

Little Company of Mary

Order of the Company of Mary Our Lady

Medical Mission Sisters

Medical Missionaries of Mary

Sisters of St Mary of Namur 

Society of Sisters of Marie Reparatrice

Mater Ecclesiae

Institute of Our Lady of Mercy

Sisters of Mercy

Sisters of Mercy of the Union of Great Britain

Congregation of the Sisters of Nazareth

Sisters of Notre Dame (de Namur) 

School Sisters Notre Dame  

Congregation of Our Lady of Fidelity

Congregation of Our Lady of the Missions

Sisters of Our Lady of Reconciliation

Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary

Congregation of Our Lady of Sion 

Pallotine Missionary Sisters

Sisters of St Paul of Chartres

Missionary Sisters of St Peter Claver

Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ

Little Sisters of the Poor

Poor Servants of the Mother of God

Presentation Sisters (Union)

Sisters of Providence of Ruille-sur-Loir

Religious of La Retraite

Society of the Sacred Heart

Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 

Sisters Hospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (Beziers)  

Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary  

Salesian Sisters - Daughters of Mary Help of Christians

Servite Sisters (Servants of Mary)

Union of the Sisters of Mercy     

Ursulines of Jesus

Ursulines, Union of Irish

Ursulines (Roman Union of The Order of St Ursula)

Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (White Sisters)

Daughters of Wisdom


Female enclosed communities

Benedictines (Colwich)

Benedictines (Minster)

Benedictines (Ryde)

Benedictines (Stanbrook)

Benedictines Olivetan Congregation (Turvey)

Benedictines (Tyburn, London)

Benedictines (Holy Trinity Monastery, Herefordshire)

Carmelites (Birkenhead)

Carmelites (Dolgellau, Gwynedd)

Carmelites (Liverpool) 

Carmelites (Notting Hill, London)

Carmelites (Preston)  

Carmelites (Quidenham, Norwich) 

Carmelites (Ware, Herefordshire)

Carmelites (Wolverhampton)

Carmelites (York) 

Cistercian Nuns

Cistercians Bernardines (Hyning, Brownshill)

Poor Clares (Arkley)   

Poor Clares (Much Birch)

Poor Clares (Arundel)

Poor Clares (Lynton) 

Poor Clare Colettine  

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate (Lanherne)

Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary

Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Benedictine sisters, of the Ordinariate)     


Male orders of brothers    

Alexian Brothers

Christian Brothers

Brothers of Christian Instruction/De La Mennais Brothers

De La Salle Brothers 

Hospitallier order of St John of God

Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd

Missionaries of Charity Brothers

Presentation Brothers

Brothers of the Sacred Heart

Xaverian Brothers


Male clerical orders and mixed orders (of priests and brothers)

Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers)

Society of African Missions 

Assumptionists (Augustinians of the Assumption)


Augustinian Recollects

Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament

Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception

Order of Carmelites

Order of  Carmelites Discalced

Claretian Missionaries

Columban Missionaries

Comboni Missionaries - Verona Fathers

Consolata Missionary Fathers

Sons of Divine Providence

Society of the Divine Word

Order of Preachers (Dominicans)

Order of Friars Minor

Franciscan Capuchins

Franciscan Friars Minor Conventual

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

Fransalians (Missionaries of St Francis de Sales)

Congregation of the Holy Ghost (Spiritans)

Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

Congregation of Josephites

Marian Fathers

Marist Fathers (Society of Mary)

Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Mill Hill Missionaries

Missionaries of La Salette 

Missionary Society of St Paul

Montfort Missionaries (Company of Mary)

Society of St Paul


Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Picpus Fathers)

Redemptorists (Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer)

Rosminians (Institute of Charity)

Sacred Heart Fathers   

Sacred Heart Fathers and Brothers (Betharram)

Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Salesians of Don Bosco

Salvatorians (Society of the Divine Saviour)

Scalabrini Fathers

Servites (Friar Servants of Mary)

Society of Christ

Community of St. Jean

St Patrick's Missionary Society (Kiltegan Fathers)

Vincentians (Congregation of the Mission)

Vocationist Fathers


Male monastic communities

Benedictines (Ampleforth)

Benedictines (Belmont)

Benedictines (Buckfast)

Benedictines (Douai)

Benedictines (Downside)

Benedictines (Ealing)

Benedictines (Farnborough)

Benedictines (Prinknash)

Benedictines (Quarr)

Benedictines (Ramsgate/Chilworth)

Benedictines (Worth)

Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists) - Mount St Bernards Abbey  

Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists) - Caldey Abbey

Canons Regular of Premontre (Norbertines)

Societies of Apostolic Life & New Ecclesial Communities


Society of Our Lady of the Trinity

The Spiritual Family The Work

Verbum Dei

Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri

Priestly Fraternity of St Peter

The Institute of Christ the King  

Community of Our Lady of Walsingham

Other links

Called Today (Religious life website for 10-16 year olds)

National Office for Vocation

Conference of Religious (England & Wales)

Conference of Religious (Scotland)

Conference of Religious (Ireland)  

Diocesan Priesthood (England and Wales)

Diocesan Priesthood (Scotland)

Diocesan Priesthood (Ireland)

National Conference of Secular Institutes

Anglican Religious Communities

Compass Discernment Programme

Vision Vocation Network  

Catholic Gap Year (many opportunites with organisations run by religious orders)

Invocation (Discernment Festival)

Vocation resources for schools  Please note that the initial password is password and the username is staff. There are also a range of teaching resources specifically about religious life on this website

The National Office for Vocation, the Bishops Conference and the religious congregations present in England and Wales are extremely grateful to the Vocations Initiative of the Catenian Association who have generously funded the design and development of this website. 





All those living consecrated lives in Middlesbrough Diocese invite you to join them for two days of celebration at St Mary's Cathedral, Middlesbrough, on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th September. All welcome! For more details please click here.







The Diocese of Westminster is marking the Year of Consecrated Life by dedicating all of their monthly Vocations Discernment Group meetings for young adults to reflections and discussions with members of different religious congregations. It promises to be an inspiring journey across the diverse and rich landscape of consecrated life, celebrating its continuing relevance and fertility for the world.

For more information click here

Click to see information about other events for discerners


Pope Francis announced that 2015 will be a year dedicated to the promotion of consecrated life, and is asking the church's religious sisters, brothers and priests to "wake up the world" with their testimony of faith, holiness and hope.

Events for discerners for the Year of Consecrated Life

Film: Consecrated Life - Religious Men and Women tell their Story

Vatican events for the Year of Consecrated Life

Logos for the Year of Consecrated Life

Pope Francis' letters for the Year of Consecrated Life

Prayers for the Year of Consecrated Life


In 1997 Blessed Pope John Paul II instituted a ‘World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life’ on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Each year since then on February 2nd the Church has thanked God for the gift of the different forms of consecrated life, and prayed that our Church will continue to be enriched by the life and witness of consecrated men and women.

Suggestions of how to mark 2nd February or how to celebrate the gift of consecrated life to the Church at any time of the year

and student chaplaincies could

* Include a notice about the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life in the Sunday newsletter; the particular charism of any religious communities or consecrated people in the parish could also be highlighted

* Include a prayer for consecrated men and women and for more vocations to all forms of consecrated life in the prayers of intercession at mass

* Hold a holy hour for vocations to the consecrated life

* Student chaplaincies could invite local consecrated men and women to meet with students or organise a visit to a convent or monastery

Teachers could:

* Invite a local consecrated person to speak to a class or an assembly

* Join in the Church's celebrations by enjoying a film about inspiring religious

* Set a homework project where each student researches a religious community or a form of consecrated life of their choice

* Include prayers for consecrated men and women in the morning prayers or assembly

Consecrated people could:

* Invite people to refreshments and a talk about their life and particular charism

* Contact a local Catholic school and volunteer to speak to a class

* Ask their parish priest to put a notice about the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life in the newsletter

* Pray for discerners, particularly those attending the discernment events connected to the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life



* Blessed Pope John Paul II's message for the 1st World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

* Photocopiable PDFs of an order of service for a Holy Hour for Vocations to the Consecrated Life and an additional page giving a variety of hymns and prayers

* Link to teaching resources about religious life and to some recommended films: Molokia (PG); Of Gods and Men (15); Dead Man Walking (15)

* Link to information about the variety of forms of consecrated life

* Link to a Religious Life timeline, explaining the emergence of diverse religious institutes from the early Church up to present times

* Possible newsletter insert:

Sunday February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, is the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. On this day the Church thanks God for the gift of the different forms of consecrated life, and prays for an increase in vocations to the consecrated life, so that the life and witness of monks and nuns, religious brothers and sisters, members of secular institutes, hermits and consecrated virgins will continue to enrich our Church.
For more information:

* Possible prayers of intercession:

We pray for those who are consecrated to God by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. May they always reveal the love of Christ to those they encounter and continue to enrich our world by their dedicated lives of prayer. Lord hear us....

We pray for all those who are discerning their vocation in life, particularly those whom the Lord is calling to consecrated life. May they be given the wisdom to hear God's call and the courage to respond generously. Lord hear us...  

Read about the 'Six convents/monasteries in a day' which took place in London on Feb 1st 2014

Read about events which took place in 2013 for the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life here


The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul are an International Society of Apostolic Life.  St Vincent said “The Daughters of Charity are not nuns, but Sisters who come and go like seculars” their life is:

Given to God...   In Community...  For the service of Christ in persons who are poor...

The Company was founded in seventeenth century France by St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac.  The spirit of the Daughters of Charity consists of three virtues:  Humility...Simplicity...Charity.  Faithful to this spirit, we make every effort to be available and ready to respond creatively and courageously to the call of the Church and the urgent needs of people living in poverty.

A day in the life of a Daughter of Charity living in the local community of St Vincent’s Centre, Central London is inspired by love.  Every day the God of surprises guides us towards people who are carrying the hardships and poverties of our times. 

Our day begins with personal prayer, reflection and contemplation, seeking to know His will and presenting to Him the life and needs of those who are living in poverty.  Morning and evening Liturgy of the Hours brings us together for the prayer of the people of God and celebration of the Eucharist, which is the centre of our life and mission and an indispensable meeting each day with Christ.  We are fortunate to be within close proximity of Westminster Cathedral parish, and on special Feast Days celebrate the Eucharist in our Chapel.

Community is our primary place of belonging we live together, supporting each other in our common mission of service.

Our service of Christ to those who live in poverty is our fundamental call to live in community; the services provided from St Vincent’s Centre since 1863 have changed through the years, in response to the signs of the times.  The local community are involved in various ministries in the wider community, Vincentian Care Plus began its service 6 years ago from this house, responding to the needs of older people living in their own homes in Westminster.  The sisters support the work of The Passage, a Day Centre for people who are homeless and often out of hours and weekends receive many requests from individuals and families seeking refuge who are estranged from their families and their homelands for one reason or another and have found themselves alone and on the streets.  We listen to their needs and assist if we can or we guide them towards other agencies that can support them further.      

Hospitality has always been a feature of this house and deals on a daily basis with a variety of enquiries

  • People in need of accommodation...
  • Advice...both practical and emotional
  • A listening ear...
  • People in desperate need of prayers for themselves and/or friends and family...
  • Deliveries of food and clothing for the homeless...

Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you” and where they are we, The Daughters of Charity also will be.


The aim of this page is to show a variety of professional short videos about contemporary religious life in the UK which could be used in schools and catechesis.
They are particularly appropriate for pupils in Key Stage 3 and older. 

More videos are available on the UKReligiousLife YouTube channel and the UKReligiousLife Vimeo channel

Poor Clares - Enclosed Franciscan Sisters (Nuns) in Arundel

Cistercian monks (Mount St Bernard's Abbey, Leicestershire)


 Sr Cathy describes active religious life


Friar Maximilian describes vocation (Franciscan Conventual Friar)


This video is part of the Life in Christ series produced by the Southwark Catholic Youth Service. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information on how to order the full DVD.

Mother Dolores Hart OSB (Enclosed Benedictine nun)
The following 1/2 hour documentary about Mother Dolores Hart OSB has been very popular with Key Stage 4 pupils.

Click to see a lesson plan (with worksheet) about Mother Dolores and why people enter enclosed convents (using a 1/4hour video clip)

To view more videos visit our You-Tube channel
Press subscribe on the You-Tube channel page to be notified when a new video is uploaded.


A Quick Guide for Intrepid Explorers, Scared Survivors and Those Who Don't Know
by the Colletine Poor Clare community at Ty Mam Duw, North Wales


Please bring:
- the willingness to learn
- to hope
- to trust
- and to live on God's promises

Good will is more essential than ability.

Please do not wait until you are a Saint before you try. Canonisation is a life-project. If you are willing to be open to the Lord, his power will work in you.

The Lord makes his choice in his time. It makes no difference whether you are 17 or 70. When he calls; jump!

Do not let well-meaning people put you off. Very likely, when they fell in love they did not ask your advice. When the Lord looked lovingly at the rich young man, that look lingered on his face. Those who have met God's invitation will be able recognise its reflection in you. Religious life is not a career, it is an adventure in love.

Please do not bring:
- six suitcases of anything

- your entire wardrobe
- every letter you have ever received
- a year's supply of household goods
- your mobile phone, iPod or laptop
- an absolute resentment of any authority but your own
- a 2 metre statue of Buddha or a 4 metre statue of the Sacred Heart
- an intolerable prejudice against any other race, nation or culture
- invincible self-regard
- or your scuba diving suit! 

It is easier to fly travelling light.

You cannot help bringing your past.

If we say we have no sin we are lying. 1 John 1:5-10

The Lord is tenderness and compassion, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Exodus 34:6-9

It does not matter what you might have had to repent of, your community, who happen to be human, is willing to forgive your past - and your future. If your community cannot forgive, it is a fundamentally unsound investment.

Remember: every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future!

You are my witnesses. Luke 24: 44-49

Be prepared to stand up and be counted.
Ask and it shall be given you; information, direction, discernment, survival kit, support, encouragement and challenges.
Be prepared to change and change often.
Be prepared be called by a new name.
Be prepared to wear things that mark you out conspicuously as God's property. 

You might be content with, or at least accustomed to yourself as an egg, but if you hatch there will be an uncomfortable era of uglyducklingness before you make the front line of Swan Lake. Be open to the gift of loving appreciation.

It is not that we love God, but that he loves us. 1 John 4:10

He wants to give himself to us, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. But before that takes place, his seed has to fall into our ground and die; then it can bear fruit - a hundredfold. 

Pray at all times. Luke 11:1-13, 22:39-46. 

Prayer is learning to listen, to respond and to perceive the actions of the one who loves you. 

Come, if you want prayer with your whole heart.

It does not matter if you think you do not know how to start. It can be taught and it can be learned. 

Looking and listening is the beginning of prayer, but you won't see anything if you don't open your eyes, and you won't hear if you don't take your fingers out of your ears.

Prayer is the highest relationship with God and others. Sharing a life of prayer is the ultimate gift. It is becoming part of the instrument of peace in the hand of God.

Prayer can make you the best friend of someone you have never met. It can make a life spent doing time-consuming and not immediately successful things, pass like a gracious dream. It can make even struggling with your own and other people's sinful humanness like living in the antechamber of heaven.

This is the biggest thing that happens to anyone.

I have called you friends. John 15:15

You are going to live in a community. You are going to live in a family of people with whom you have nothing in common but God and the nose in the centre of your face. Do not try to love all people as your brothers and sisters; if you had any, your relationship may well have been atrocious: Love one another, the Lord says, as I have loved you. John 15:12. In this way you will heal the sins of a shattered and broken world. 

Loving those whom God has selected for you as your religious family is the first prayer.

In this world people make relationships and destroy them. They move on, they get another job, another partner, another divorce. Now, if your relationships break down you will learn how to repair them instead of running away from them.

Do not lay up treasures on earth. Matthew 6:16

Sell what you have and give it to the poor. Mark 10:17-19

Take nothing for your journey. Eat what is set before you and proclaim the Good News. Luke 10:5-9

You are the salt of the earth:
salt prevents good things from rotting,
it makes bland things taste interesting,
bleaches out stains,
dissolves easily,
imparts buoyancy,
appropriately applied, it filters smoke out of the atmosphere
- and you can be all these things!  

You will not make heaven on less than the ten commandments. This life is not for minimalists who just want to do enough to be saved; it is for lovers who want to do as much as they possibly can.

You made need a whole new set of manners and you will at least need what you've got tuned to a new frequency. Nicely veiled malice and covert vindictiveness are unacceptable. Ridicule, contempt and all the other little techniques for cutting your neighbour down to size are out. You have to want to weave your life on forgiveness; your friends need it and you absolutely demand it. This is not optional.

No community will let you get away with part-time religious life. Live for others. Go out and meet trouble half way. Go the extra mile.

Calculated revenge is the most destructive of all reactions. Leave it outside the door.

Seek the kingdom first, and every thing you need and hope for will be given to you.

Build your life on the rock of God's Word; read him, pray him, sing him, stand on him, eat him, adore him, wrap your heart around him and nothing will knock you down.

This is what poverty, obedience and chastity work out as. If this sounds like the Sermon on the Mount - it is. Read Matthew 5:1-7:29 and look up the other references in this handbook, too. 

The Lord is with you. Luke 1:28-35

Religious life, married life and the single secular state are vocations. Shoemaking, bookmaking, matchmaking, teaching and professional boxing are jobs.

The things required to make a good wife, single person and nun are exactly the same. Choosing to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly is just as necessary in religious life as in married and single life. 

The same qualities of generosity, courtesy, chaste-mindedness, self-forgetfulness and creative energy come off equally well in all three, just as selfishness, greed, manipulation and arrogance are equally trying.

There are no special extras that nuns need and mums don't. What mums and nuns both need is a specific directive from God. A vocation. A call. An invitation to that line of action with which he wishes to privilege them. The choice is his. Many are called but few are chosen.

This does not mean that the Lord hauls in the old fishing net and, after inspecting the catch, arbitrarily throws the majority back into the sea.

He gives his vocation to the many, just as he gives his Body and Blood for the many. All but the incorrigibly bone-hearted get called - of those called a few get chosen for something else. The called are no worse off than the chosen. The many are called to the Good News. The chosen are selected from them for the purpose the Lord has in mind. Potential nuns frequently look and sound like everyone else. But they have been endowed - a fact possibly hidden even from themselves - with a heart big enough to take on God's plan for them.

The door is open.

By reading this you have conceded that God has something to say to you.

The next step is walking - on water.

When the two disciples asked our Lord where he lived he said: 

Come and seeJohn 1:35-43.

Practically speaking -
you have to be free to act,
and you must be doing so from good motives.
This is your bit. 

The third step does not depend on you: it is finding a community that will discern the Lord's call and his choice in your life and is willing to accept you and give you a try.





Some footnotes - always read the footnotes!

On getting nipped in the bud

You may find Priests, Religious and even Bishops who will advise you that religious life, or the style of it to which you feel called, is a waste of time. Respect such people and thank them, but do not take their advice.

For scared survivors

You may have tried religious life and it has not worked. Look first at yourself and the human social and personal luggage you took with you. Discern what you have learned from the experience. You can make resounding failure a state-of-the-art learning tool.

We are grateful to the Colletine Poor Clare community at Ty Mam Duw, North Wales for their permission to use text and images from their booklet  'How to be a Nun'.
Click here to view their website


Religious make vows which help them to be free to follow Christ with an undivided heart

Just as Jesus remained celibate, open to loving all whom he encountered, religious do not get married or have sexual or exclusive relationships. This helps them to be available to others and to grow in freedom of heart. It also witnesses to the all-sustaining love of God; Pope Benedict XVI describes how celibacy cannot mean “remaining empty in love, but rather must mean allowing oneself to be overcome by a passion for God.”

By their vow of poverty religious promise to share their time, talents and resources, both within their community, and with those who are in need. Like the early Christians who “placed all things in common” (Acts 2:44), any money earned or gift given to a religious belongs to their religious community, which provides them with all that they need to live a simple and modest life-style.

The Gospels frequently describe Jesus seeking solitude to be alone with his heavenly Father. In prayer he received knowledge of the Father’s will and the strength to follow it. By their vow of obedience religious imitate Jesus’ obedience to his Father, believing that God’s will is manifested through their religious superiors. This includes decisions about what ministry or service they will be entrusted with. However, religious obedience is not a one-way relationship of submission but one where each one is called to pray about decisions that need to be made and to share the fruit of this prayer with those who will make the final decisions. Religious obedience requires availability and detachment from purely personal desires.

Other vows
While all forms of religious life are marked by the public profession of vows which will include poverty, celibacy and obedience (which are named differently in some monastic congregations), some religious also take other vows. These include stability, to remain in the same monastery and vows which mark the particular charism of the religious congregation, such as the Jesuit vow to undertake any mission the Pope requests of them.

The process of entering religious life
In most religious congregations ‘temporary’ vows will be taken at the end of the noviciate (a time of training in religious life). A religious can be in temporary vows for between three and nine years before final or solemn vows are made for life. The long process before life-long vows are made guarantees that both the person making this solemn commitment and the religious congregation receiving them have thoroughly discerned if it is truly God’s will.



Pope Francis' letters for the Year of Consecrated Life (2015) 

Click here to access links to all three letters 



Weblinks to Documents

Pope John Paul IIVita Consecrata: On the consecrated life and its mission in the Church and the world (1996)

Pope Francis - Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2014

Catechism of the Catholic Church - Section on Christ's Faithful - Hierarchy, Laity, Consecrated life (numbers 871-945)

In Verbo Tuo: New Vocations for a New Europe (Final Document of the Congress on Vocations to the Priesthood and to Consecrated Life in Europe - 1997)


Discernment Websites

Survey to 'match' you with religious congregations:

Dedicated to those on the discerning journey

Catholic Vocation Discernment 


CTS Booklets on discernment


Click on the images above for more information about each booklet

Fr. Stephen Wang's How to discover your vocation (CTS booklet, 2009) Available to read online via this webpage 


One of the first things that anyone discerning a vocation to religious life will become aware of is the great variety of forms of religious life. The main distinction is between monks and nuns who live in an enclosed convent or monastery and religious who work outside the cloister, for example in education, health-care or evangelization.

There are hundreds of different religious orders or congregations, each of which contributes a particular gift to the life of the Church. Some are rooted in the great spiritual traditions, such as Carmelites or Benedictines; others are based upon a particular ministry, such as Dominican preaching or the Missionaries of Charity’s care for the poorest of the poor.

The Second Vatican Council described how the Church presents different aspects of Christ through the variety of religious congregations: “Christ in contemplation on the mountain, in His proclamation of the kingdom of God to the multitudes, in His healing of the sick and maimed, in His work of converting sinners to a better life, in His solicitude for youth and His goodness to all people”.

Click to access a list of links to the websites of religious orders and monasteries in England and Wales
Click to a link to download a religious life timeline explaining the emergence of different religious charisms throughout the Church's history

Religious Orders


The Religious Vocations Project has created a number of resources for teachers. These were originally distributed as a pair of compact discs, but are now available here for download.

CD 1 - Cover ArtworkDisc 1. Vocation & Call – Ways of Loving

A Powerpoint presentation, which explores the different ways of love –vocations – that God calls us to in life. Supported with accompanying musical tracks (in .wma format) and teachers notes and resources (in .pdf format). Please click here to download the zipped contents of the CDFile size: 26MB. Requires a fast broadband (DSL) connection.

CD 2 - Cover ArtworkDisc 2. Consecrated Religious Life: A Particular Way of Loving

A Powerpoint presentation, which focuses on one particular form of vocation, Consecrated Religious Life. Supported not only by accompanying musical tracks, teachers notes and resources, but also by video clips (in .wmv format). Please click here to download the zipped contents of the CDFile size: 89MB. Requires a fast broadband (DSL) connection.

Jewel case insertJewel Case Inserts and CD Labels

If you would like to print out the original CD Jewel Case Inserts and CD Labels for these compact discs, then please click here to download them as a zip file.

Advisory notes

  • Use the Powerpoint presentations with the accompanying resource material rather than on their own.
  • Do not try to use all the resource material in every lesson.
  • The material has been designed so that it is possible to use sections of it for different purposes, e.g. collective worship, group prayer, lessons with a particular focus.
  • It is essential that the teacher previews the material when planning for its use. It is not appropriate to use the material without thorough preparation.

  • Called Today: Website for 10-16 year olds

Key stage 3: Interactive worksheet to accompany and teachers' notes

Key stage 3 or 4: Assembly on St Josephine Bakhita: Powerpoint and teachers' notes

  • Teaching resources on religious life from Vocation Sunday 2012

Key stage 2: Fr Damien

Key stages 3 or 4: Mother Delores Hart

  • Resources about vocations to religious life available online

Religious Vocations Project - Downloadable CD of resources for teaching about religious life

Video resources - Several professionally made short videos about different religious orders, particularly suitable for Key Stage 3 pupils and older.

  • Resources about vocation available online

Ooberfuse's 'Call my name', was released in support of the National Vocations Framework. It can be listened to online, and is part of their album 'Seventh Wave'.

It is suitable for use in secondary schools and sixth-form colleges, for assemblies or as part of a class activity on vocation/God's personal call.  Please note that the initial password is password and the username is staff. 


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