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Discernment, Formation and Consecration


  • People exploring this call should be mature Christians, already committed to a life of prayer.

  • They can be women or men single, widowed or divorced.  Someone who is still bound by marriage vows is not free to take a vow of consecrated celibacy.

  • In the discernment phase, those who feel that God may be calling them to this way of life need to seriously and prayerfully consider the Guidelines in “Appendix VIII from the Religious Life Directory”, discuss it with their spiritual director and speak with others who have made this commitment.

  • Those wishing to proceed further will have a proper enquiry made of their life and circumstances.  The questionnaire in the Guidelines outlines the areas that will be covered.


  • The candidate should have a spiritual director who is familiar with this form of consecration

  • During this time, it is important for the candidate to receive instruction and guidance on the implications of living their life under the vow of consecrated celibacy.

  • A vocation to the single, consecrated life needs to be tested over a period of time before first vows are made.

  •  The vocation is rooted in God - it is about being rather than doing and also needs to be rooted in the Church by association with a parish, chaplaincy or Religious Community.

Formation papers

We have been in the process of producing some formation papers. The idea is that those enquiring about SCL, and in particular those who are not a tertiary or an oblate of a religious community, might have some basic papers to help shape their life for SCL. They are not designed to be the final word on any one topic, but are the sort of thing that an aspirant might use with a spiritual director to help form them on the way to first vows.

The possible list of papers could be quite long and so we have divided them into 2 groups. The core papers are those we think are most important to deal with first particularly before taking any vows, and the second group of papers are ones that could be discussed later. The core papers include:

a. Celibacy
b. SCL network
c. Guardian of the vow

Please contact us if you would like to receive e-copies of all or any of these.

An additional set of papers are being developed and the following are complete:

a. Eucharist b. Simplicity c. Obedience

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First vows may be received and renewed using a form of service that recognises the dignity, beauty and significance of the act of consecration.

 A ring and/or cross may be given as symbols of the covenant relationship being undertaken.

 Life vows may be made after a period of 1 – 3 years, with the support of those involved in the discernment process.

 The personal vow should be received by the Bishop who will keep a record and also inform the Advisory Council.

 The Bishop should ensure that the vowed person has an adequate network of spiritual support.

Personal encouragement and formal recognition by the Bishop can be an important factor in developing vocations to this lifestyle.