Discerning my vocation
How do I know? This is perhaps the most frequently asked question of young people as they discern their vocation in life! It is not easy to give a clear “recipe” in this regard. The process of discernment requires a lot of prayer and serious consideration. At the same time, a clear knowledge of a given vocation or a community can be a great help in the discernment process. There are many different communities of consecrated life within the Church, and each one has a unique focus, mission and charism to which the members are totally dedicated. For example, in Mother Teresa’s community, the Missionaries of Charity, one must have a deep love for the poor and a life of poverty. What is our focus as Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary?
Basic requirements that correspond to our way of life and mission:
- A sound religious disposition, with readiness to give one’s life in generous service to the Church through Schoenstatt.
- Sufficient physical, spiritual and psychological health to meet the demands of our style of life and mission.
- The ability to live happily in community and to contribute to its spirit and life in a positive way.
- Our community normally accepts candidates between 18 and 27 years of age. Exceptions, however, can be made on an individual basis.
- Applicants must have completed high school.
Besides these basic requirements, we can look more deeply at the essence and mission of our vocation as Sisters of Mary.
A Marian Spirit
We are a Marian community—this is our charism, and it is essential to our mission! As Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, we have a deep love for Mary and a longing to embody her features in our life and being. When Christ came into our world 2000 years ago, he chose to come through Mary. Therefore we want to be images of Mary so that Christ can come into our world anew and renew it with his love and life. Our founder composed a beautiful prayer that inspires us:
Let us be O Queen like you, more and more your clear reflection. Strong and noble, childlike, true, spreading peace and joy, protection. In us go through this dark world, Christ’s bright banner be unfurled.
A Spirit of Generous Love
Our founder’s longing was that we strive to imitate Our Lady. In his own words, he encouraged us to be “always Mary” in our thoughts, words and actions, at each moment of the day. Especially at the hour of the Annunciation, Mary embodied a free, love-filled and generous “yes” to God’s wish and will. It is this spirit of generous love that we wish to embody in our daily lives, at work, at prayer, in our apostolate or in the community. This generous love should be the fundamental attitude of a Sister of Mary, her way of “being Mary” for the world.
An Apostolic Spirit
Our Schoenstatt world and mission is the heart of our existence as we were founded to share the responsibility to be the ‘soul’ of the Schoenstatt Movement. Many young women who enter our community have already belonged to one of the different branches of Schoenstatt, but others get to know us through friends, studies, professions, written material etc.
Those who enter soon discover a great love for our Mother Thrice Admirable and her mission to renew the world in Christ! Through our covenant of love with her, we give our all for the mission of our founder, who was God’s instrument in bringing the message of Schoenstatt to the Church and world at a decisive time in history.
As Sister M. Emilie, one of our founding sisters, wrote: “We may not be indifferent and simply disregard the present-day needs of our world. The more clearly we grasp the situation, the greater our longing will be to contribute what we possibly can to a ‘holy springtime of God’.”
A Community Spirit
Our mission is so vast and great that we can never hope to fulfil it without the grace of God and our Mother Thrice Admirable (MTA), but we can also not fulfil it without each other! It is important for anyone who enters our community to have a certain ability to live with others. Some people prefer to live alone and be totally independent, but a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary must be willing to live and work together with others in a family-like way. This is naturally a tremendous gift. It provides us as consecrated women with an experience of a family, with the support, strength, and education that a family offers. As consecrated women, we are called to give a great deal, but we also receive a great deal through our community life.
For every Sister of Mary and each young woman who considers belonging to our community, willingness and openness to strive for these family-like qualities is most important. Naturally it takes a lifetime of striving to embody them fully!
When considering your calling, do some of the qualities mentioned above resonate in your soul? How would you answer the following questions?
- Do you have a deep love for Mary?
- Do you feel drawn to a life of generous love?
- Are you attracted to Schoenstatt, its mission, the Mother Thrice Admirable, the shrine, the family-like community of Schoenstatt or anything else?
- Would you be able to live in a community?