Do I Have a Cistercian Vocation?
A vocation is a God-given gift. Positive signs of a Cistercian vocation include a single-hearted desire for God and a desire to dedicate one’s life to God with others. Cistercian life consists of a balance of contemplation, community, work and reading. A Cistercian grows through conversion of heart in friendship with God and community, humanity and all of creation.
No vocation is pursued from totally pure motives, but the dominant motive of the true monk or nun, according to St Benedict, is to ‘seek God’. Such a search is itself an indication of God’s grace. The Cistercian elders used to say that we would not be seeking God unless God had already been seeking us. We might feel like the least likely person to have a Cistercian vocation! Yet, ‘Human beings look at appearances, but God looks at the heart’. (1 Samuel 16:7)
The Spirit of God calls different kinds of people, at different stages of their journey, to monastic life. Someone who feels that God is calling her to the monastery would need:
- to be a practising Catholic with a sincere desire to seek God;
- an ability to live in community, balanced by a desire for solitude and silence;
- good physical health, psychological maturity and a sense of humour!
- some work experience after school or college;
- to be at least 21 years old. Our usual upper age limit is 40 years.
The process of discerning a Cistercian vocation includes some visits to the monastery, participating on a Monastic Experience Weekend and spending a longer period(s) living in the community during an Observership, before making an application to enter the monastery.
Initial formation consists of at least eight months’ postulancy; two years’ novitiate; and three years in temporary vows.
Through the vows of stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience, a sister renews and strengthens her consecration received in baptism, giving herself to Christ and committing herself in this particular community.
Get in touch
Please feel welcome to make contact without any obligation if you would like to find out more about Cistercian life here at Glencairn or to have a chat at any time about your vocation discernment. You may alternatively feel drawn to make contact to visit our Abbey guesthouse to simply spend some time with God at Glencairn Abbey.