DISCERNING WOMEN

Have you felt a deep stirring, a tug, a whispering in your heart that you feel drawn by God to explore consecrated life but you are not sure where to start? A woman who enters consecrated life chooses to deepen her baptismal commitment by taking vows which emphasize the values of prayer, loving service, and simple living. The resources here are to help a discerning woman discover the next steps in her journey. May God bless you as you search for His holy will.

Forms of Consecrated Life:

The different forms of consecrated life are Religious life (Cloistered, Monastic, Apostolic), Consecrated virgins, and members of Secular Institutes. Consecrated means “set apart.” Those called to consecrated life are “set apart” by God for this particular way of life which “expresses the deepest nature of the Christian vocation and the yearning of the Church as the Bride for union with her sole Spouse.” In this “we see the hand of God who, in his Spirit, calls certain individuals to follow Christ more closely, to translate the Gospel into a particular way of life, to read the signs for the times with the eyes of faith and to respond creatively to the needs of the Church” (Pope Francis, Letter to all Consecrated People).

Institutes of Religious Life

Members of Religious Institutes publicly profess the evangelical counsels of obedience, poverty, and consecrated virginity and live the common life according to the rule and constitution of their order which may take the form of apostolic, cloistered, or monastic life.

Apostolic Community

Apostolic or “active” communities focus on ministry to the Church and to the world. Living a common life, they are “in” the world but not “of” it through their active ministerial witness to Gospel values. In the area of work or ministry this can be in education, youth ministry, parish ministry, social work, communication, healthcare, homeless and hungry, and women ministry, etc. Apostolic communities maintain a balance between the contemplative and active life. All are committed to the spread of the Gospel each in a manner shaped by the charism of the congregation.

Cloistered Community

Cloistered life is focused on contemplative prayer. There is a strong sense of physical separation through silence, solitude, and strict enclosure. Their ministry is prayer for the Church and for the world, and an in-house work by which the community supports itself.

Monastic Community

Monastic communities focus on a common life and common prayer. Each monastery has an autonomous government, a cloistered area of the house, and hold silence and solitude as important values. Monastic communities take a 4th vow of stability, i.e., they remain at the same house for their lifetime.
(Information from: https://adw.org/vocations/consecrated-life/)

Colorado Springs Diocese - Women's Religious/Consecrated Life Contacts:

Benet Hill Monastery
https://benethillmonastery.org
Contact: Mary Colleen Schwarz, OSB 719-633-0655
smarycolleen@benethillmonastary.org

Salesian Sisters
www.salesiansisterswest.org/vocations/become-one-of-us
Contact: Sr. Jeanette Palasota, FMA, 210-317-1341
vocationsfma@gmail.com

The Sisters of St. Francis Perpetual Adoration
stfrancis.org

Denver Diocese - Women's Religious/Consecrated Life Contacts:

Denver Diocese Communities/Orders
https://archden.org/religious_order/?type=women

Consecrated Virgin

The Consecration of a Virgin is one of the oldest sacramentals in the Church. Through this sacramental, the virgin, after renewing her resolve of perpetual virginity to God, is set aside as a sacred person who belongs only to Christ. She is a consecrated person, with her bishop as her guide. Supporting herself by earning her own living, the consecrated virgin is not obliged to take on any particular work or apostolate.  Usually, consecrated virgins in the United States volunteer their time to their local parish, diocese, or Church-sponsored association.  Some volunteer their time also in civic responsibilities. (Info from: https://consecratedvirgins.org)

Secular Institutes

We are lay persons or clergy who live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the world and for the world. We commit ourselves to a specific spirituality and life style together with other members of our institutes through a sacred bond accepted by the Church. The exterior circumstances of our lives vary – some live alone or with their family, others live in a common house with other institute members. Some are known as belonging to consecrated life and others are anonymous. (Information from: https://secularinstitutes.org)

Third/Secular Orders

Married or single Catholic women and men from all walks of life are able to join secular orders, as are diocesan priests and deacons. Like their religious counterparts, seculars (also called "tertiaries") undergo a period of formation according to the processes established by their orders, after which they become professed members. Profession for seculars means they promise to live according to the rules of their orders.

 

Colorado Springs Diocese Secular Orders:

Discalced Carmelite Seculars
Teresian Carmel and the Little Way Community
http://ocdscos.net/

Order of Carmel - Morning Star Lay Carmelite Community #610
www.laycarmcolorado.org/morning-star

Saint Francis DeSales - Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order
http://francisdesalesofs.org/

The Sisters of St. Francis Perpetual Adoration - Secular Franciscan Order
http://stfrancis.org/become-a-franciscan/companion-relationship/