Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I have a religious vocation?
You don’t and won’t until you try it.
It is a gift from the Holy Spirit and you cannot manufacture it,
moreover, we will have to be able to identify it too.
here are three simple questions you should ask yourself.
Am I free?
That is, is there anyone or anything putting material pressure on me to do this?
Do I have goodwill?
That is, am I willing to try and do God’s will whatever it might be, or am I too bound up with resentments, or the past, or the things I have owned or been to start any new way of life?
Am I able to do this?
God is never going to ask you to do something that is really impossible for you.
However, God has called people to sainthood in religious life who were crippled, blind, deaf, debtors, diabetics, divorcees, depressives, mothers - and careerists like St Mary Magdalen. So the answer to this is not an easy one. Be brave!
What are some of this basic requirements for acceptance into this community?
An open heart
Willingness to try to learn; teachability - it is a new way of life
Willingness to try and trust
Willingness to try accepting other people as they are - the way they will be trying to accept you.
A little patience, especially with yourself.
What is the best age to enter?
When God calls you!
What do the vows means?
Poor Clare Colettines take four vows obedience, poverty, chastity and enclosure,
Through the vow of poverty, Christ makes our hands empty enough to fill them with his gifts. Through the vow of chastity, He frees us for single-hearted devotion to our spouse the Holy Spirit and the loving service to our sisters. Through the vow of obedience, He helps us to live his word by giving it a human face.
Clare begged Pope Innocent III to grant them the special privilege that they should never have to possess or accept property from anyone, but should be allowed to live simply, without revenues, working for their living and relying on God to provide as a living witness to his trustworthiness; he has promised a hundredfold in return, Matthew 19:29, and he does give it!
The vow of enclosure, does this mean you never leave?
Enclosure is about family, it is about not running away. Many people (generally those who have had no experience of it) will tell you it is an environmental aid to prayer. It isn’t - you can pray anywhere. The community will see to it that you get adequate medical and dental attention, even if it means going out for it. But you are being trained to live on the front line of a battle for the soul of the Church and for the men and women of this world. This is not something you can take a holiday from. Poverty, chastity and obedience are in the Gospels (which is why they are called the evangelical counsels) but the scriptural passage for enclosure is not ‘come aside and rest’, or 'I have called you out of the world’, but, ‘when I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to myself’ John 12:32!
Can you see your family?
Yes, your family and friends may come to visit you in the parlour, in joining the community you do not lose your family - they are welcomed into our extended Franciscan family. But there is a difference. A big difference: you do not visit them. You will be here for them when life is hard for them and when they come to die. You will stay with the Lord in prayer before Him. You have humbly and lovingly heard the word of the Lord, when a would-be disciple said to him, “First let me go home to bury my father” Our Lord did not reply “Okay - suit yourself when you feel like following me”. He said, “Let the dead bury the dead - you come and follow me!” Luke 9:61
What do I do if I feel called to Religious life?
Pray, pray and pray some more! Then listen.
How do you know what spirituality God is calling you to?
It is not a matter of shopping around - the Lord proposes it. You ultimately know what spirituality and community you are called to because nothing else will suffice, you may well feel a sense of ‘coming home’ when you meet what is God’s gift to you. Look at your natural God given abilities, things you are natural drawn too, sometimes the Lord hides hints within who you are. Finding your vocation is like finding the person the Lord meant you to be all along. ‘I knit you together in your mother's womb.’ Psalm 139:13
I find that I am attracted to both religious life and marriage. Does the fact that I would love to be married and have a family mean that I don’t have a religious vocation?
No, this simply means that you are normal! Some of the same qualities needed to be a good wife and mother are needed to be a good religious. All disciples of Christ are called to love without limits, to give the gift of our very selves to others. Those called to religious life are called to live this in a more radical way, a way that would be impossible without the grace given by the Lord to carry it out.
What about the sacrifice of giving up the good things of the world?
The grace of a religious vocation is to respond to God’s call to leave all things to follow Christ (cf. Matthew 19:21). This entails sacrifice, but it is trivial compared with the sacrifices God made to love you! You will gain in the end infinitely more than you lose. St Clare said: it is a very good bargain to exchange the things of time for those of eternity!
How do the community support themselves?
We are poor people and we work - but work is subject to the fact that we spend seven hours a day in prayer. Clare says, let the sisters work diligently after the hour of Terce in a manner that does not extinguish prayer. It is part of our vocation to draw people to pray - so we do have groups in the public parts of the monastery for days of recollection and guests staying the guests quarters, we also do craft works to sell in our small Craft Room. ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.’ Ecclesiastes 9:10
Why do you change your name in religion?
As a sign of being ‘re-born’, set apart for Christ, of being called into a new existence with him. ‘I will give you a new name.’ Revelation 1:17
Can I choose my future religious name?
Essentially the Holy Spirit is the ‘Giver’ of the name. It will be the object of much discernment - but there is nothing to stop you dropping a hint!
Can I apply to enter, even if I am not a virgin?
Yes. Chastity is future, it is the life you are called to. ‘Behold I make all things new.’ Revelation 21:5
I am divorced; do I need a dispensation before I can apply to enter?
No. Ty Mam Duw has consulted the most expert canon lawyers on this.
You need to present proof that the marriage has ended. That is all. If you are still married you need the written consent of your husband. The Lord is the one who invites and he says, 'abide in my love', John 15:9.
I havn't done much praying and I don't think I'd be very good at it?
Prayer is love; and prayer can be learned. 'He shall teach you all things' John 14:26.
Good will and a loving willingness to try to rub along with others are the first things!