Exploring Life Narratives on Challenged Religious Vocation
A Phenomenological Study of One’s Discernment
Keywords:Religious calling, Discernment process, Apostolic work, Vocation
Vocation research has advocated that the current Catholic Church is facing issues regarding its decreasing numbers of religious missionaries, hindering their evangelical pursuits. The purpose of the study was to explore the reactive nature of differing approaches to targeted communities. The study applied a qualitative phenomenological method to the lived experiences of those involved. Three Christian brothers from the congregation of the Alliance of Two Hearts served as participants and engaged in face-to-face interviews. Findings revealed that six themes of discussion emerged from the interviews: calling as communication between God and religious brothers; the call of a religious vocation; resources for conversion efforts; discernment and nurturing in vocation; resilience in the face of troubled conversion; and the impact of vocation on the Christian lifestyle. Additionally, the recognition of one’s calling often involves a period of doubt or crisis of faith. To carry out missionary works, one must recognize the value of doubt in vocation, and how it may be utilized to strengthen one’s beliefs and efforts.
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