Common Questions & Resources
How do I know if I am called to religious life?
Although only you can discern whether you are called to religious life, there are several steps you can take when you begin to feel as though you might be called. The first is to pray about it and to spend time listening for God's response. The second is to talk to someone you trust. It can be a spiritual director, a vocation director--most of them are willing to spend time talking to you, regardless of your interest in their community--or a good friend. It may help to visit a few religious communities, as well.
What are the stages of formation for the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago?
The Inquiry Stage is an informal period of time in which you meet with the Vocation Minister and visit the community to see if you are interested in religious life and might be called to this community. During the Affiliation Stage you meet regularly with the Vocation Minister to discern whether you are called to life in this community. During Postulancy you live as part of the community in order to further discern your call. The Novitiate is a year-long period of contemplation, prayer, and study. The years following Temporary Profession are a time to enter more deeply into the experience of monastic vowed commitment and to develop a rhythm of prayer, community, and ministry. Final Profession begins your life-long commitment to seek God according to the Gospel and the Rule of Benedict with the members of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago.
How long does it take to become a Benedictine Sister of Chicago?
It make take as short as six and a half years or as long as twelve years to move from inquiry to final profession. Some stages, such as novitiate have a canonically defined term, while others, such as inquiry or affiliation, are more flexible.
Are there age limits?
Although not every community has the same age limits, the policy of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago is to accept as candidates women who are between the ages of 21 and 50.
What vows do the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago take?
The Benedictine vows, stipulated in the Rule of Benedict, are stability, obedience, and fidelity to the monastic way of life. We do not take the familiar vows of chastity or poverty, although those are considered to be part of fidelity to the monastic way of life.
Do you wear a habit?
Although some of the sisters who were given a habit when they entered continue to wear a veil, women who enter currently are not given a habit and do not wear either habit or veil. The sign of our religious commitment is the Benedictine ring we receive at final vows.
What is the ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago?
The main ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago is community life as a monastic community. Many of us also work outside of the monastery at various ministries, including working in the fields of parish ministry, spirituality, education, and counseling.
What do you do in your spare time?
We spend our spare time the same ways many other people do: some sisters play games or watch movies, others exercise. We spend time socializing with each other and with friends and family outside of the monastery, as well.
Please note, the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago will not be recruiting or accepting new members at this time. However, we will continue to assist anyone discerning ministry in the church in any way possible.
Listen...with the ear of your heart.
-Rule of Benedict, Prologue
Our Vocation Blog
Upcoming Discernment Retreats at the Monastery
Websites focused on Vocations
Websites focused on Benedictines
Books or Articles on Discernment
Digging In: Being an Archaeologist and a Nun by Sister Belinda Monahan, OSB, for A Nun's Life website. Sister Belinda talks about how the call to religious life may arrive later in life after you've begun a career.
God's Voice Within: The Ignatian Way to Discover God's Will by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ and James Martin, SJ (Loyola Press, Chicago; 2010)
Catholics on Call: Discerning a Life of Service in the Church, edited by Robin Ryan, CP (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN; 2010)
Following God's Call: Scripture Meditations for Vocation Discernment by Judette A, Gallares, RC (Claretian Publications, Quezon City, Philippines; 1990)
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco; 1999)
Books on the Benedictine Tradition
The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages by Joan Chittister, OSB (Crossroads, NY; 1992)
Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today by Joan Chittister, OSB (HarperCollins, San Francisco; 1990)
A Good Life: Benedict's Guide to Everyday Joy by Robert Benson (Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA; 2004)
St. Benedict's Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living by Jane Tomaine (Morehouse, Harrisburg, PA; 2005), St. Benedict's Toolbox Annex