Asking questions is not only a normal part of the discernment and formation process, but we strongly encourage it! Below you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions women have when they’re discovering their vocation. As always, you are welcome to contact vocations@ascjus.org with any additional questions you may have.

How do I know that I have a vocation?

To start with, we recommend you ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel called to give more, to be more?
  • Does your relationship with God sustain you, enliven you, invigorate you in such a way that you want to share the Good News with others?
  • Does the idea of becoming a sister keep coming back time and again even though you thought you had moved on in your life and forgotten about it?
  • Does the idea of becoming a religious sister excite you and at the same time frighten you?
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What does “discerning” mean?

Discernment is a time of prayerful reflection on your life’s direction. It can take many avenues, some of which may include:

  • Praying and asking the Lord to show you the vocation for you 
  • Listening to God and responding to Him freely and generously
  • Frequently celebrating Mass and sacramental reconciliation
  • Serving through outreach in the community
  • Spiritual mentoring to help in the discernment process
  • Visiting of religious communities
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What are the different works of the congregation?

In keeping with the charism of our foundress, Blessed Clelia Merloni, our congregation serves the people of God in ministries of loving service: education, healthcare, social/pastoral service, and missionary activity.

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How can I tell my family and friends that I think God is calling me to be a sister?

Be open and honest about your life’s journey. Show your family and friends the life-giving aspects of the lifestyle you are discerning. Invite them to come with you to meet the sisters.

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What is the admission process?

For the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a young woman (between ages 18-35), after participation in discernment events, reflection with a spiritual director, and dialogue with the vocation director, may request application for the Pre-Postulate Program. Visit our Formation page for more information.

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How long is the formation process?

The Pre-Postulancy is for two weeks. Initial formation includes Postulancy (2 years), Novitiate (2 years), and a period of temporary vows (5 to 9 years).

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When and where does a person make first vows?

After the Novitiate, a woman makes first vows at the U.S. Provincial House.

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Where will I be living during formation?

During the Pre-Postulate, Postulate, and Novitiate, the candidate will live on the property of the U.S. Provincial House in Hamden, Connecticut. Ministry experiences may take place in other houses of the Province.

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What books can I read to help me with the discernment process?

We recommend reading Scripture and lives of the saints. Recommendations from your spiritual mentor are also good resources. For further recommendations, please contact vocations@ascjus.org.

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What happens in a regular day of a religious?

Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus begin their day as a community with prayer (Morning Prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours, meditation, and Eucharist). Sisters spend time in ministry throughout the day and gather in the evening for community prayer (Liturgy of the Hours, meditation, and rosary). After dinner and community time, the sisters end the day with night prayers. Prayer, community, and ministry form our day, following the advice of our foundress, Blessed Clelia Merloni: “Look for Christ’s presence in your everyday life, seeing His powerful, yet gentle hand guiding your every action."

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