New Mentorship Program Helps Those Discerning Religious Life
March 5, 2020
STEUBENVILLE, OHIO—Vocations Outreach, a student-led initiative at Franciscan University of Steubenville, recently announced a new mentorship program to assist young men and women discerning consecrated religious life.
“Discernment can be a difficult and confusing journey, especially if you don’t have anyone to guide you through the process,” said Cassidy Roderick, founder and team director of Vocations Outreach. “The Church so badly needs religious vocations, and to foster them, we have to be able to provide discerning young adults with the tangible resources they need.”
Intended for men and women considering joining a religious community, discerners in the Vocations Outreach mentorship program will receive online formation by watching workshops and completing tasks designed to help them grow in their spiritual lives and deepen their understanding of consecrated religious life. Workshops will feature talks from a variety of presenters, including religious from four different orders. Topics include: Theology of Religious Life, Monastic Practices, Obstacles to Discernment, Listening to the Holy Spirit, Overcoming Spiritual Discouragement, Personal Vocation, Lectio Divina and more.
Each discerner will be connected with a professed religious who will act as a mentor as they go through the formation program. Mentors will provide feedback on written tasks and will engage in long-distance, one-on-one communication throughout the program.
Roderick noted that it is important for young discerners to relate directly with those in religious life.
“Religious life isn’t like marriage or even the diocesan priesthood—many people don’t grow up seeing that vocation actively lived out. In order for people to discern religious life, they need to know what it is, and the best way to help them understand that is through relationships with those already in religious life,” she said.
In addition, discerners will be paired with another program participant to whom they will talk with throughout the program. This is meant to give participants a spiritual, supportive friend who is on a similar level as them and to foster a sense of community.
Vocations Outreach uses content produced by the Franciscan University Catechetical Institute, with the online formation workshops hosted on the Catechetical Institute’s online learning management system:
This six-month-long program is free of cost. Vocations Outreach is currently accepting applications. Applicants must be at least 15 years old and actively discerning consecrated religious life.
To learn more or apply, please visit
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