General ConceptThe House of Discernment provides adult Catholic women who feel they may be called to a religious vocation the opportunity to live in community with other women who are open to discerning God’s will for their life. The House gives women an opportunity to live in a place dedicated to assisting and journeying with them as they navigate God’s will. Regardless of the decisions made and the paths ultimately followed, lives are transformed by prioritizing the Interior Life and deepening personal relationships with Christ.
Gratia Plena “Rule of Life”:
Daily Prayer – Morning, Evening, Night Prayer (in common) Mass – Residents are encouraged to attend Mass daily (if possible) Holy Hour / Meditation / Mental Prayer
Weekly Activities in Common Mass & Holy Hour Formation (one evening/week) Recreation (one evening/week)
Monthly (on her own) Reconciliation Spiritual Direction Day-long Self-Guided Retreat
Programming:Programs are structured to help residents with their personal discernment in seeking God’s will and discovering one’s vocation. Programs place an emphasis on having a good understanding of many of the aspects of consecrated life, allowing the individual to freely pursue their God given vocation. Resources and contacts are made available to provide greater exposure to a wide range of possible religious vocation opportunities, as well as to the vocation of Christian marriage. Residents share a meal in common twice weekly; one in formation and one in recreation. Residents share in the planning and preparation of these meals.
Household Expectations:Each is expected to contribute to the daily life of the house, share household responsibilities, as well as pay their own personal living expenses including monthly rent, groceries, insurance and transportation. Gratia Plena is a tobacco free environment. Residents are also expected to volunteer to assist with some form of ministry service at a local parish or within the Catholic community. A Director lives in-residence to help serve the community, manage operations and coordinate programming. Once admitted to Gratia Plena each resident will be given a non-resident “liaison” who is a member of Gratia Plena. The purpose of the liaison is to provide support and an independent sounding board for the woman during her residency.
The outcome of discernment will be different for every resident and Gratia Plena has no predetermined “goal” for residents. It is possible, and even probable, that some residents will come to understand that God is calling them to Christian marriage. However, during her stay at Gratia Plena each resident is asked to observe a “dating fast” in order to minimize distractions for herself and her fellow discerners. To further safeguard the integrity of this resident based ministry (and the spiritual welfare of all), individual male guests are not allowed in the house when only one resident is present. As a courtesy to the entire household ALL guests are expected to leave no later than 10PM on Sundays thru Thursdays and 11PM on Fridays & Saturdays (unless prior arrangements have been made to accommodate out of town visitors overnight).
Length of Stay:The period of time currently being considered for resident discerners to live in the house would be a minimum of 3 months up to 18 months. After 9 months of residency, quarterly meetings will be conducted between the resident, the Director and the resident’s liaison to discuss the resident’s status and anticipated next steps. Extensions beyond 18 months will be considered on a case by case basis. If at any point, the resident discerns that she is not called to religious life, she will be assisted in developing a plan to relocate away from Gratia Plena.
Failure to abide by house rules and the resident move-in agreement will result in disciplinary action up to and including immediate eviction.