The Year of Consecrated Life
Pope Francis has set aside November 30, 2014 through February 2, 2016 as the Year of Consecrated Life. Our Archbishop has set the objectives for this celebration in our Archdiocese: to increase the visibility of religious life/consecrated life, to express appreciation, to highlight the joy experienced in this vocational choice, and to educate on the importance of on religious life/consecrated life to the Church. As one means of learning more about religious life/consecrated life, our website will periodically have an educational component in the form of a question and answer. It is our hope that you will not only read the entries but discuss them your family, friends, co-workers. And perhaps share stories about the influence of consecrated women and men in your life.
What is consecrated life?
Consecrated life is a gift given by Christ who chooses a person individually to respond to His great love in a special relationship. He asks that person to leave some aspects of the world to put themselves at the service of their brothers and sisters. Consecrated life is a vocation just as marriage and diocesan priesthood are. Both men and women can choose to consecrate their lives to Christ as a way to seek an intimate relationship with Him. Those in consecrated life generally join a religious order. There are scores of religious orders - some founded centuries ago by saints, and some founded more recently to fulfill a particular need. Consecrated life is most often shared in a community which is united to live out their common mission together. An exception to this (joining a religious order and living in community) is The Consecrated Virgin Living in the World.
How do I know if God is calling me to consecrated life?
Listen to your heart.
Is something deep inside you inviting you to something more in life?
Listen to the many ways God speaks to you--not in a voice "out loud," but in the inner reaches of your mind and heart, in nature, in the events of your life.
Do you experience a deep yearning to make God the center of your life?
Listen to the voices of those around you.
Do others see qualities in you that might indicate a call to be about the work of building God's kingdom here on earth as a woman or man religious?
The process of listening to your own heart, to God and to the voices of others is called discernment. Discernment is a process of reflection, prayer, conversation and openness. Discernment takes time and energy. But it is through this process that we discover who we are and what God wants us to be.
(There is an Online Discernment Retreat available for women ages 20 - 40. For more information: email Cathy Bauer, OSB at email@example.com; text @ 859-468-6040 or phone @ 859-331-6324).
More information on Consecrated Life will be posted periodically, so check back often!