Discerning Religious Life – by Mother Clare Matthiass, CFR


A comprehensive guide to help women discern Religious Life with clarity, confidence, and joy. Foreword by Cardinal Dolan.

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When she was Vocation Director for the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, Mother Clare Matthiass worked with hundreds of young women who felt called to religious life. Discerning Religious Life distills her wisdom into clear advice, especially for women who are struggling to discover their vocations.

Filled with humorous anecdotes and poignant stories of her 20 years as a sister, Discerning Religious Life is easy to read, and contains rock-solid guidance based on the wisdom of the saints. The entire point of the book, as Mother Clare says, “is to move from discernment to decision.”

Featured on EWTN Bookmark and Life on the Rock.The book forms the basis for Avow Discernment Groups

200pp – Foreword by Cardinal Timothy Dolan



Praise for the BookChaptersAvow

Praise for Discerning Religious Life

“Whether you are just beginning to think about a vocation to religious life or have been wrestling with it for years, you will find great wisdom in this book.”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Archbishop of New York

“I absolutely loved this book! Sister Clare captures so much of what young women should know when discerning a religious vocation. Truly a work inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
Sr. Peter Marie, O.P. 
Vocation Director of the Nashville Dominicans 

“A real compass to guide women… I highly recommend the practical steps in chapter seven, and how to deal with fears in chapter six. Entrust your vocation to Our Lady, and the rest will fall into place.
Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

“I cannot recommend this book highly enough! If you are a woman in the throes of discernment, let Sister Clare put your fears to rest. These anointed words will gently point you toward the Father’s will.”
Fr. Brett Brannen 
Author of To Save a Thousand Souls

“What a gift! This book is packed with practical and sound advice to take you step-by-step from the first stirring of a call to crossing the threshold of the convent, should that be your vocation. ”
Anne Brawley, Founder of Youth 2000

“The tools offered in Discerning Religious Life will help you not only to discover the will of God, but also give you the courage to respond with joy.”
Bishop Andrew Cozzens
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

“Sister Clare has blessed the Church with an insightful work filled with clear pastoral guidance. I’ll be giving this book to many young women!”
John Beaulieu, Steubenville Conferences

With wit and wisdom, Discerning Religious Life brings insight into the lives of religious sisters. Readers will discover what Sr. Clare discovered: the Church wants to rejoice with you in your vocation, whatever that may be!
Kelly Wahlquist
Founder of WINE: Women In the New Evangelization 

“My first thought was, “I wish I had read this when I was discerning my vocation!”  Countless women will benefit from reading this book. Sr. Clare provides beautiful examples, practical tools, and sound advice on how to discern a call to religious life.”
Sr. Megan Mary Thibodeau, SOLT
Superior, Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity

“I am so excited about this book! It’s a wonderful resource that will inspire and empower women to listen attentively to God’s will. We’ll definitely be using it in our ministry.”
Emily Savage
Founder of Fiat Ministries

“A great resource not only for discerning young women, but also for bishops, priests, teachers, and lay faithful who seek to understand more deeply the gift of religious life and to accompany others as they embrace this call.”
Mother Mary Clare, ACJ
Founder of the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus


Foreword by Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Chapter 1: The First Stirrings of a Call

Chapter 2: The Agony of Discernment

Chapter 3: Friendship with God

Chapter 4: Discerning With Our Lady

Chapter 5: A Foundation for Discernment

Chapter 6: Overcoming Fears

Chapter 7: The Six-Month Discernment Challenge

Chapter 8: The Contemplative Life

Chapter 9: What to Look for in a Religious Community

Chapter 10: A Day in the Life

Chapter 11: What a Community is Looking for in You

Chapter 12: Preparing for Entrance

Chapter 13: The Stages of Religious Life

Chapter 14: Real Advice, Tried and True

Chapter 15: Crossing the Threshold

Discerning Religious Life forms the basis of Avow Discernment Groups, which help young women discern their vocations.


Groups meet seven times per semester for 90 minutes and are led by a sister, priest, campus minister, or other capable leader.

Avow helps young Catholic women apply timeless spiritual principles to their own experience as they seek to discern the Father’s call. Well-framed discussions open women to their own God-given beauty and dignity and to the real possibility of religious life. Participants learn to listen to the Holy Spirit and take decisive steps to follow Jesus wherever He leads.

Additional information

Weight 0.5 lbs
Dimensions 7.5 × 5.75 × 0.5 in
Availability Now available in-store

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