Vocations FAQs

Me? A Benedictine nun? How do I know if I have a vocation?

A vocation is a calling, a tugging at the heart to give oneself to God that is so strong and all encompassing that it precludes the beautiful possibilities of marriage and family.  A vocation to the religious life is to a particular community.

Jesus Christ becomes so real that one feels one has to at least try the religious life so that one “knows.”  Never let someone else — by their objections — decide for you.

The “knowing” part comes through a process of discernment that includes prayer, contacting and visiting communities, and guidance from a spiritual director (priest, religious or lay person).

Through the discernment process you come to discover where you feel at “home” — that place where you can best serve God and be a joyful presence.

What is our Benedictine way of life?

Prayer and Work.

Our ministry is our prayer and work lived here in the monastery.  Benedictine spirituality has a strong emphasis on the liturgy through the praise of God living out the full round of the liturgical season.  For us this translates into chanting The Liturgy of the Hours in choir six times each day with the highpoint of the daily schedule being the celebration of the daily Eucharist.

This way of life has been so beautifully summarized in the words of Paul VI:  If the prayer of the Divine Office becomes genuine personal prayer, the relation between the liturgy and the whole Christian life also becomes clearer.  The whole life of the faithful, hour by hour during day and night, is a kind of “public service”, in which the faithful give themselves over to the ministry of love toward God and neighbor, identifying themselves with the action of Christ, who by His life and self-offering sanctified the life of all mankind…(Laudis Canticum  # 4)

Our love for God and others finds its expression in the work that we do caring for each other and all aspects of the monastery and retreat house environment as well as our care and concern for our guests and retreatants.

What vows do you make?

As Benedictine nuns we profess solemn vows of stability, obedience and conversion to a monastic manner of life (also known as conversatio morum — the evangelical vows of poverty and chastity are understood as part of this particular vow). 

The vow of stability means that we enter and live our lives searching for God within this particular household of God, this time, within this communityof nuns.  Practically speaking it means, “bloom where you are planted.”

Listen, O my son, to the precepts of thy master, and incline the ear of thy heart (Prologue, Rule of St. Benedict).  With these words, Benedict captures the essence of obedience.  As we see from the Prologue of the Rule, obedience helps us to listen to what God is asking of us in our daily life both through the superior and our fellow Sisters under the guidance of the Rule of St. Benedict. 

Conversion to a monastic manner of life calls us to an ongoing deepening of our life in Christ each day. 

What is our daily schedule?

We begin our day by praising God with the Office of Vigils at 5:25 (breakfast follows).  Lauds is at 6:30 followed by the celebration of the Eucharist at 7:00.  After a short period of thanksgiving after Mass we pray Terce.  Until 9:00am we have time of lectio divina until 9:00 after which we have our first work period of the day. 

Sext/None is prayed at 11:45 followed by our midday meal.  During our noon and evening meals we normally have table reading so that our souls are spiritually nourished in a communal way just as our bodies are nourished physically in a common way.  Our second work period begins at 2:00 p.m., Sisters are free to rest, read, walk, spend time in personal prayer or rest. 

Vespers are chanted at 5:00 followed by our evening meal that includes table reading.  We gather for a time of recreation together in the evening and complete our day with Compline at 7:30.  The time remaining after Compline may be used for reading, personal prayer, etc.

Is it true that monastic life is boring?

We are always curious who started that piece of fiction!  We suspect it was someone who had an incredible imagination that ran wild and who never once visited a monastery.  (In fact, many of us are guilty of praying fervently for a dull, boring day!)

Although the daily schedule looks similar or even the same, the specifics of what happens each day can vary widely. 

How do you become a nun?

As part of the discernment process, a candidate does her three month live-in experience with the community.  If both the community and the individual think that the person may be called, the woman enters the community and becomes a postulant for a year.

Again after mutual discernment, the postulant enters the novitiate for two years and receives the habit.  Again after mutual discernment, the novice asks to make triennial vows. 

God willing, the mutual discernment after this phase leads to the profession of solemn vows.

Why do you wear the traditional habit?

The habit first and foremost is a sign to ourselves of the life we have vowed to God and indicates our beautiful long monastic tradition.  The habit is also a God-pointer — it points beyond us to God who created and loves us.

What is your age limit to visit? Enter?

Single, Catholic women ages 16-38 are welcome to visit our community in order to get to know our community and be helped in their discernment process.

We accept candidates ages 20-40 who have completed high school education and who have either worked or furthered their education.

What qualities do you look for in a candidate?

Person who loves God, practicing Catholic, can live and work with others, has the physical and psychological strength to live in community and to participate in the daily work — and a good sense of humor.

How do I schedule a visit?

Contact our vocation director, Sister Maria Johanna, at 724-834-3060 Ext. 137 or email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  You are invited to attend a Come and See Weekend, to pray and work with us whenever it is convenient for you — or both!

Do you have to be Catholic to enter?

Yes, we are a Roman Catholic community of Benedictine Nuns.

Are you cloistered?

We are a small, contemplative monastic community.  The lifestyle we have been called to and have chosen is based on praying The Liturgy of the Hours together, common meals, and common recreation.