You still have more questions than answers, but you begin to feel as though you may be called to live your life with this community and you want to explore this possibility.
The Affiliation stage is an informal period which allows you to get to know the community and yourself in greater depth. The Vocation Minister will arrange for one of the sisters to be your companion or mentor, to meet with you regularly during this time of affiliation. You will talk with her about your hopes and dreams, your work, your prayer, and your family and friends, and she will support you as you reflect on the place these have in your life. She will suggest scriptural passages for your consideration, introduce you to some of the elements of religious life, and perhaps answer some questions you may have. You will also spend time getting to know the community, by joining the sisters at prayers, at meals, and at recreation.
The Affiliation period is begun by mutual agreement with the Vocation Minister. You will receive a Benedictine medal as a symbol of your commitment to serious discernment with this community. Although the length of the affiliation stage is not set, it typically lasts about a year, at which point, you and your director will mutually discern whether you will continue to journey with the community. Before this decision is finalized, you will be asked to come for a two week live-in with the community, which will provide you with time to get to know the rhythms and routines of the community and to begin to build relationships with the sisters.