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Year of Consecrated Life: Events for discerners

More events will be added to this page in due course

COMPASS EVENTS (IN VARIOUS LOCATIONS)

 

 

EVENTS FOR DISCERNERS IN THE DIOCESE OF LEEDS

For more info contact Mgr Paul Grogan: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

EVENTS FOR DISCERNERS IN THE DIOCESE OF WESTMINSTER

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.
They begin on Friday 24th October with Fr Matt Blake, a Discalced Carmelite, speaking on St Teresa of Avila, and a month later, on Friday 28th November, Fr Gianni Notarianni, an Augustinian, speaking on St Augustine. Both will reflect on why they have personally been inspired by the saint of their own congregation and what they feel the saint and their congregation have to offer the Church and those discerning their vocation today. 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

 

Year of Consecrated Life

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.

Vatican plans for the Year of Consecrated Life

The Year of Consecrated Life will officially begin on 30th November 2014, the first Sunday of Advent, having been preceded by a prayer vigil on Saturday 29th November. The Year will finish on February 2nd 2016, the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. During these 14 months celebrations and diverse meetings will take place with the objective of highlighting the various dimensions of consecrated life. 

From 22nd - 24th January 2015, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an ecumenical meeting will welcome consecrated people from other Churches and ecclesiastical communities. 

From 8th - 11th April 2015 there will be a meeting for those responsible for formation for consecrated life, to deepen understanding of the criteria which lead to a spirituality of communion.

From 23rd - 26th September there will be special events for young consecrated people. 

Finally, from 24th January to 2nd February, there will be a World Week of Consecrated Life in Unity. This will include a theological symposium on consecrated life and specific meetings on monastic life, secular institutes and the Order of Consecrated Virgins.

Information taken from Vatican Radio 

Logo for England and Wales 

The National Office for Vocation has released a logo for the Year of Consecrated Life (featured above). You can download it 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.

Plans to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life in England & Wales

Events across the country

  • HERTFORDSHIRE
    A day for religious entitled 'Celebrating Religious Life' will be led by the Right Reverand Malcom McMahon, Archbishop of Liverpool, on Saturday 31st January 2015 at the Niland Conference Centre, Bushey Heath. Click here for more information.

  • LEEDS
    Leeds Diocese has a series of events planned for discerners, from October 2013 to June 2015. Click here for more information.

  • LIVERPOOL
    On Sunday November 23rd at 3pm the official launch of the Year for Consecrated Life will take place in Liverpool Cathedral, with evening prayer with Archbishop Malcolm. Click for more details. 
    On
    Friday February 6th and Saturday February 7th there will be events in Liverpool Cathedral to celebrate consecrated life.
     
  • LONDON
    The diocese of Westminster is marking the Year of Consecrated Life by dedicating all the monthly Vocations Discernment Group meetings for young adults to reflections and discussions with members of different religious congregations. Click here for more details. 

  • NEWCASTLE
    Bishop Seamus will celebrate mass in St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle, on 
    November 21st at 12.05pm to open the Year of Consecrated Life. This will be the
    beginning of a series of events to be arranged during the course of the year.

Nun-run / Monastery Marathon

  • Young adults are invited to learn more about the various forms of consecrated life by taking part in a "nun-run / "monastery-marathon" in their locality on Saturday 31st January 2015 the Saturday before the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life (2nd February)

As soon as more details are available they will be posted on this website.
If you have any other ideas how to celebrate this special year, please get in touch.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Pope Francis' letter for the Year of Consecrated Life

 Order a copy from CTS 

 

 

 

  

 


Video: Announcement of the Year of Consecrated Life

 

World Day of Prayer for 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


Parishes
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

 

Resources

* 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 www.ukvocation.org/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: www.ukreligiouslife.org/resources/world-day-of-prayer-for-consecrated-life

* 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
 

A day in the life of a Daughter of Charity

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.

Videos about religious orders

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. 


Poor Clares - Enclosed Franciscan Sisters (Nuns) in Arundel


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

 

A Carmelite nun describes vocation

 

Friar Maximilian describes vocation (Franciscan Conventual Friar)

 

 

 Sr Cathy describes active religious life


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 www.youtube.com/ukreligiouslife
Press subscribe on the You-Tube channel page to be notified when a new video is uploaded.

vocation

vocation

How to be a Nun

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 Vows

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

Celibacy
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.”

Poverty
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.

Obedience
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.

Recommended reading for discerners

For the Year of Consecrated Life (2015)

 

Letter to Consecrated People on the Occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life from the Magisterium of Pope Francis

Click image opposite to order from CTS

 

 



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: www.vocationnetwork.org/match

Dedicated to those on the discerning journey www.discerninghearts.com

Catholic Vocation Discernment www.pathsoflove.com 

 

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 

About Religious Orders

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

Religious Vocation Project

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.

Teaching Resources

Called Today: A new website for 10-16 year olds


 

Teaching resources on religious life from Vocation Sunday 2013

Key stage 3: Interactive worksheet to accompany www.calledtoday.com 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 has recently released 'Call my name', supporting the National Vocations Framework. It can be listened to online, and is part of their album 'Seventh Wave' which was released in August 2012.
 

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.

www.vocationcurriculum.org  Please note that the initial password is password and the username is staff. 

External Resources

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Glossary

Apostolic

Active religious communities whose mission includes ministry in the community, such as social work, education or evangelisation

Brother

A man who commits himself to Christ by the three vows (poverty, celibacy and obedience) within a religious order but is not ordained as a priest. Some religious who are ordained as priests prefer to be called 'brother'.

Candidate

A term used in varied ways by different religious orders. It can be interchangable with postulant (see below) or in some religious orders is the name for those in the stage before postulancy.

Charism

The particular focus and spirit of a religious community, for example “to bring God’s love to the poor".

 
Celibacy

A commitment to not getting married or having sexual or exclusive relationships. Click to access this website's page on the vows.

Chastity

        Living relationships with integrity and honesty. Religious live the call to all Christians to chastity through celibacy (see above).

Cloistered

Contemplative communities that limit their contact with the outside world.

Community

Groups of religious who live together in the same house. Communities can vary in size. The general name for a collection of communities is usually a Province or Region.

Congregation

Refers to a distinct religious family, such as the Sisters of Mercy, Dominicans, Jesuits, etc. The word order is used in the same way as congregation.

Consecrated

Given entirely to God through the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience.

Convent

Refers to a house where a community of religious sisters live together.

Discernment

A process of praying and reflecting on God’s call, important for decision making. Click to access this website's page on discernment.

Formation

The process of education and spiritual development that takes place throughout the life of a member of a religious order. In the early months and years of joining, this is referred to as initial formation, which continues until making final vows, a process which can take 5 to 11 years. In later years it is known as ongoing formation.

Friar

A friar is a male religious who commits to a community spread across a wide geographical area and will typically move around, spending time in different religious houses. This is different from a monk (see below) who commits to a particular community in a given place. Friars include Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians and Carmelites.

Ministry

Every religious will refer to their ministry, which is his or her work, usually more than just a job. The choice of ministry will emerge from an individual’s sense of the charism of his or her order, the individual’s gifts and aptitudes and the order’s needs.

Monastery

A place where monastic religious live together, including their chapel

Monk

A male religious who makes a commitment to live in a particular monastery. Monastic orders include Benedictines, Cistercians and Carthusians.

Novice

A person who is in the stage of preparation and training before making religious vows. The time of noviciate usually lasts between a year and two years.

Nun

A woman who lives within a cloistered religious community and is dedicated to prayer for the needs of the world.

Obedience

vow of obedience is a response to do God’s will as revealed through events and the requests of those in authority. Click to access this website's page on the vows.

Order

See congregation (above)

Postulant

A person who is in the inital stage of entry into religious life. In many religious congregations been replaced by candidate (see above). It denotes anywhere between six months and two years preparation before entrance as a novice (see above). It is a time when the individual and the religious order discerns whether this is the way of life to which he or she is being called.

Poverty

The vow of poverty is the choice to live simply and share one’s goods, time and gifts, particularly with the poor or marginalised. Religious hold money and property in common with one another. Click to access this website's page on the vows.

Profession

Refers to the taking of public vows in a religious order. The vows in first profession are generally taken for a period of 3 to 6 years and then, in final or solemn profession, for life.

Provincial

The person responsible for the administration of a religious order in a particular country or region. He or she is usually assisted by a team of people, often known as a council. The person with overall responsibility for a congregation all over the world is often referred to as the Congregational Leader or the Superior General.

Sister

A woman who has made public vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience within a religious order. 

 
Temporary professed

Religious who have made first vows but have yet to make their final commitment to a congregation. The period of temporary profession can be between three and nine years, depending on the religious order and individual circumstances. At the end of this period a person may ask to make final vows, (also known as final profession or solemn profession), by which they make a commitment for life to the order.

Vocation

A call from God to follow Him in a special way to respond to His love. For more information visit www.ukvocation.org

Vows

Religious take three vows or solemn promises of povertyobedience and celibacy. Click to access this website's page on the vows.

Resources

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It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using 'Content here, content here', making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for 'lorem ipsum' will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

Abbreviations

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using 'Content here, content here', making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for 'lorem ipsum' will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

Religious Orders

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using 'Content here, content here', making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for 'lorem ipsum' will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

Discernment

Discerning a call to religious life
God is continuing to call people to religious life. If you are unmarried, have no dependants, are free of serious debt and have sufficient physical and mental health to be able to enter into this way of life, the Church invites you to consider living out your discipleship of Christ in religious life. Very few people who enter religious life have a clear, undoubted sense of ‘call’ from God, most go through a process of discernment, which involves a prayerful consideration of how they can best express their love of God.

Here are a few indicators that you may be being called to religious life
- You feel drawn to spend more time in prayer
- You have a desire to dedicate your life entirely to Christ
- You are inspired by religious you know or have read about
- You feel drawn to the work of a particular religious order, for example as a missionary or in caring for those on the margins of society
- Those whose spiritual advice you trust suggest that you might be suited to religious life


Discerners at Invocation Festival

Discernment groups
Many people find that taking part in a structured discernment group is an important help as they discern their vocation in life.
Compass discernment groups are particularly for people aged 20-35 who are discerning a call to religious life. The Compass website
Samuel groups in the UK. These are for young adults who are wondering what God is calling them to do with their life. More information about Samuel Groups

Invocation is an annual weekend vocations festival Invocation 2012 website

A day in the life of...

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using 'Content here, content here', making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for 'lorem ipsum' will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

Religious Life

People entering religious life today have the same basic motivation as the hundreds of thousands of religious men and women who have lived this life throughout the history of the Church. Religious life has undergone great changes in recent decades but the call remains the same: to follow Christ as closely as possible and to do so according to the way of life of a particular religious order.
 
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. Click to read more about different religious orders


Religious make vows which help them to be free to follow Christ with an undivided heart. The three vows that most religious make are of life-long celibacy, poverty and obedience. These are also known as the ‘evangelical counsels’. Click to read more about religious vows

Religious usually live in a community, where they support each other, in prayer, in ministry and in providing for the daily needs of each one. Within religious communities joys, sorrows and the challenges of life are shared. Just like life in a family, community life has its struggles, but in seeking to live charitably with one another, people of different ages, backgrounds and temperaments witness to Christian communion and to the fact that the love of Christ is stronger than anything which may divide them.

Each religious congregation is a public witness to one particular way of following Christ. Some religious wear a distinctive clothing or habit which speaks of their dedication as a religious, others express their solidarity with those among whom they live and work by wearing ordinary clothes, often with a cross or distinctive symbol of their religious congregation.    

Religious Life

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Called Today

Called Today - a new religious life website for 10-16 year olds.

Contact Information

This website is administered by the National Office for Vocation, an office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

 

Please contact our Religious Life Promoter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by post to:  National  Office  for Vocation, 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX.