Imagine traveling to a new city for the first time. You can read travel guides and search out the best online reviews, but nothing is better than talking with a local – someone who has lived there and knows all the hidden gems!
This is what a vocation director does – she guides you along the way, but she also wants you to experience it for yourself. It is your journey. She is here to help you discover who God is calling you to be and where God is calling you to.
A Listening Heart
The most important thing a vocation director does is listen. Your vocation journey is about your relationship with God and responding to God’s call, as much as it is about any particular community. Whether you are currently working, volunteering, or going to school consider how you recognize God’s presence each day. Are there moments when you feel really connected to God? What are the things that bring you great joy? Do you sense a desire for God in your life-
Is it God’s nudging or is it coming from you? Does God ever seem absent? At times do you feel anxious, lost, confused or dissatisfied? Pay attention to all of this as you reflect on these feelings with your vocation director.
A Guiding Hand
Vocation directors have a lot of wisdom to share! They will give you insight on ways to pray, answer difficult questions, work through feelings and experiences, provide tips for choosing a community, and recommend other factors to consider. As you continue exploring, you may encounter fears, resistance, hesitation, and have many questions (that’s all part of the process). A vocation director is there to listen, suggest ways to pray throughout the process, and help you determine the best next steps. She will help you to understand if you are called to religious life or not.
Every vocation director is different. Some like to meet in person, others connect regularly over the phone. Some people will check in with their Vocation Director via Facebook, Skype, or Google Hangout. What is most important is that you find ways to stay connected throughout your discernment process. A dedicated vocation director will wish to develop your interests with you slowly over time to assure that you have all the information and knowledge you need to make good decisions.
Will I feel pressured to join a community?
Often women want to know whether they will be pressured into joining a particular community once they begin talking to a vocation director. The role of the vocation director is to accompany women discerning religious life. Vocation Directors are not there to recruit or pressure you, nor would they wish to. As a matter of fact, being pressured by anyone is considered a canonical (ordered by church law) impediment to entrance/admittance. Your sense of freedom is most important! What’s important is first helping you understand if you are called to religious life or not, and if you are, then where there is a best fit for you. To understand this, you want to be able to explore religious life with her – free to discuss various options available, to live out your life. Whether it’s as a religious sister or nun, or not, is the question to discern.