I want to enter but I’m over 40- what should I do?
It is rare that an exception is made to our age limit for entrance due to the time it takes for formation, and the nature of living out our life and apostolate. There are several communities which do accept belated vocations, (search ReligiousLife.com), or you also have the option of living as a consecrated virgin, or as part of a hermit community.
I feel the call, but it’s not time yet. What can I do to prepare myself to live religious life?
Here are some things you can do: 1)Prayer- have a daily personal prayer time, reading the Scriptures, pray the Rosary or another private devotion. Be sure to ask the Lord, “What plan do you have for my life?”
2)Frequent the Sacraments-reconciliation (at least monthly) and Mass (daily if possible) are a great aid in receiving the graces you need to stay close to the Lord.
3)Find a spiritual director- either a priest/confessor, or a trained lay person or religious Sister or Brother. Meeting to discuss your aspirations and hearts deepest desires is so helpful as a means to grow.
4)Find the healing you need-If you know there are areas that you need to deal with in order to find healing-spiritually or emotionally- this is the time. There are several solid ministries which have developed retreats and seminars where you can find the healing you need in order to enter into religious life with freedom and stability. Here’s two to start:
1) JPII healing center (Tallahassee, FL)
http://jpiihealingcenter.org/ (see also Healing the Whole Person retreat:http://jpiihealingcenter.org/index.php/events)
Heart of the Father Ministries (Neal and Janet Lozano)
I have a chronic health condition- will this prevent me from entering?
Having sound physical, mental and emotional health is crucial for religious life, since we live an intense schedule of prayer, community life, and an active apostolate. In our poverty, we cannot provide financially for medical bills. Most chronic conditions requiring on-going medical care and monitoring would prevent you from entering our religious community. There are other options for living a consecrated life for those with chronic health conditions, such as living as a consecrated virgin.
Do you have times to visit?
We have Come and See retreats scheduled 3 times during the year, usually during Spring Break, Summer, and November. If these opportunities don’t work, we’re open to finding another time where you can come on your own.
Can I apply right now?
The discernment process takes time. It’s good to be in contact with the vocations directress for her to get to know you, and to visit at least once or twice before deciding to apply. The application process includes a thorough application, autobiography, reports from several doctors, 5 references, and Interview visit week at Prayer Town. It’s essential that you have a spiritual director to walk with you as you embark on this critical time of discernment.