What is a vocation? How do I know if I have one?

“If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matt 19:21)

In this episode of the Gospel, Jesus teaches that a vocation consists in a call from God and a person’s loving response to that call – “Come, follow Me.” The desire for perfection – “If thou wilt be perfect” –and the willingness to renounce possessions and certain human goods – go, sell what thou hast” – characterise the dispositions requisite to pursue a vocation to the consecrated life.

Fr. Chevignard, OP, mentions two fundamental effects of this call in a soul which can help in discerning one’s path: 1st, “a person’s profound or underlying will”: 2nd, a person’s natural, supernatural, physical and spiritual aptitudes. One’s “underlying will” refers to her most fundamental desires and to the “love which is most expressive” of herself. Desires and love need not be felt in a sentimental way;  a firm will of offering of oneself to serve God in the consecrated life is often sufficient in this domain. Concerning suitable aptitudes, in addition to the list below, a young lady needs to possess the stable desire to practice selfless renunciation.

The chief aim of every religious, regardless of what institute he or she may belong to, is the attainment of personal holiness, of union with God in charity. Fundamentally, the religious life is a school of love – a preferential love of God above all other possible loves. Many orders use the same general means to reach this end, namely, the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. However, each order has a specific end, and therefore, in addition to the three vows, there will be a specific means of reaching this end. Our Constitutions tell us that: The special end for which the Dominican Order has been brought into being by the Providence of God, within the […] Church is the salvation of souls by the ministry of teaching and preaching.

“The Dominican soul,” writes Fr Phillipon, OP, “is a soul of light,” drawn to the contemplation of the mysteries and truths of our holy Catholic Faith, in order to preach and teach these truths to others. The Dominican Order has been described by Pope Honorius III as “pugiles fidei et vera mundi lumina”champions of the Faith and true lights of the world.  Thus, a Dominican dedicates her life not only to prayer, especially to the Church’s prayer of the Divine Office, and contemplation, but also to study and teaching. Other qualities that Fr Phillipon sets forth as characteristic of the Dominican soul are silence, contemplation, apostolic work, fidelity to the Church, Marian devotion, and joy.

What are we looking for in Candidates?

– single, Catholic women between the ages of 18-29

– a desire to give oneself entirely to Jesus Christ

– an attraction to prayer and the things of God

– zeal for the salvation of souls

– ability to live in community and in solitude

– love of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Our Lady.

– fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and regular participation in her sacramental life (Holy Mass and Confession). Converts must have been Catholic for at least 3 years before entrance.

– Secondary / High School education, at least. In New Zealand, a teacher must obtain Teaching Qualifications according to the New Zealand requirements. Hence, a BA, BS, or Education degree are highly recommended, though not indispensable.

– willingness to learn and a joyful, generous spirit

– good physical and psychological (mental) health.

-good sense of humour