Vocation Letters

Vocation Letters: Contemplative? Active?

The following is a letter to a fictional young woman discerning a Dominican monastic vocation.  It is the first in a series which will accompany her discernment and formation.  The name of the Novice Mistress is also fictional: “Magistra” is Latin for “lady teacher.”

Ave + Maria

Dear Melanie,

Prayerful Advent greetings from Marbury!  We received your letter expressing interest in our community, and sharing about your family and your own discernment.  May Our Lord be praised for what He is working in your heart!  Yes, it may be possible to arrange a discernment visit.  Would you be able to come over your Christmas break from college?  Please let us know.

In answer to your question about discerning the contemplative life, it seems to be a common misconception that “extroverts should be active, introverts should be contemplative.”  However our community history does not bear that out.  We have had outgoing, “extroverted” Sisters as well as more withdrawn, “introverted” types.  God calls people of all temperaments to live for Him in the contemplative life.  The question in discerning a vocation to a particular religious community involves two elements: first, the desire to be consecrated to God through a life of obedience in that particular charism; second, qualities suitable for the life (such as good health, appropriate maturity, etc.).  The Dominican contemplative life calls for an interior solitude with God, which might be seen as “introverted,”  along with an intense community life of prayer, work, recreation, everything—which is more on the “extroverted” side.  So really a balance is best.

We have included some of our vocation literature with this letter.  Let us know if you have any other questions!  We will keep you in our prayers as we enter this last period of Advent. The great “O” antiphons begin today in anticipation of Our Lord’s birth. We hope you have a blessed Christmas.

In Our Lady,

Sister Mary Magistra

Also see: Vocations, Vocation Contact Form.