Summer house to open for women pondering vocations

| February 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Long Lake native and Benedictine College student Megan Healy has been discerning whether she is called to religious life since her early high school years.

She will have a place to go this summer for deeper discernment while working on a project with the Office of Vocations for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The vocations office will host its first women’s summer discernment house at the Bethany House in Minneapolis, where since 2017, women have spent nine months during the academic year discerning consecrated life.

Healy believes she has a call to religious life but hasn’t found an order yet. This summer, she hopes to find greater clarity in where the Lord is leading her amid hundreds of options for religious orders.

“I think it takes recognizing what are the desires placed in my heart, what is my spirituality, what are the charisms that God has given me and then which orders does that line up with,” Healy said.

Vocations Director Father David Blume asked Healy to lead the house, she said. Healy, a junior at the Atchison, Kansas-based Catholic college, knows Father Blume from attending other vocations events over the years. She also leads a women’s household with St. Paul’s Outreach, a Catholic campus ministry at Benedictine.

“As a leader in the house, I’ll just be journeying with these women, and together we will be growing in our friendships with each other and growing in our relationships with the Lord,” Healy said.

Titled “Home for the Summer,” the program will offer women ages 18-27 an opportunity to live in community for eight weeks and discern their vocation. They will attend daily Mass together at Holy Cross in Minneapolis next door and pray at an adoration chapel attached to the house.

“It is going to be an opportunity for women to live in community with one another as well as discern their vocation while they still are able to live in the world [and] have a normal summer job,” Healy said.

Father Blume said the summer house will resemble the Bethany House’s structure of prayer and community life. He recognized that some women who want to join the Bethany House during the school year can’t because they attend college outside of the Twin Cities.

“These are women who are in college for the most part, and they’re home for the summer,” Father Blume said. “They have an opportunity during the summer months to take some time and to seriously discern along with other women.”

They will share three communal meals per week, including one with guests from a religious order. They will participate in a book study on discerning religious life, visit a religious order and make a pilgrimage to the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

“I really hope that they just gain a deeper intimacy with Jesus and [keep] developing in their own interior lives and pursuit of holiness,” Healy said. “I also hope that it would bring them greater clarity as they continue to discern the Lord’s will for their life as well as deep sisterhood or just deep friendship among the women who are living at the house.”

They’ll go on recreational outings, too, she said.

“I think just being in the city, it’s a good opportunity to have fun together,” Healy said. “We can go on little adventures.”

Community life complements the discernment process, Father Blume said. “I think the biggest thing to know in discerning their vocation, [is] they’re not alone.”

Women can apply for the summer house through the vocations office website, 10000vocations.org. The program begins June 15 and ends Aug. 10. Participants are expected to hold a summer job and pay $500 for room and board. For women who have trouble paying, the Serra Club, a Catholic organization that supports vocations, will offer scholarships.

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