The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita have a list on their website of the top ten misconceptions about discernment and religious life that was one of the most perceptive and at the same time the most obvious set of points I have ever read. They likened the discernment process that a young women goes through before marrying to the discernment process a young woman goes through before choosing a community.
For example, #1: You are called to a particular Community
If you are called to Religious Life, you are called to a particular Community. When a young woman feels called to marriage, she doesn’t say, “I am called to get married. Any man will do, as long as I follow my vocation. I’ll marry the first one I meet.” Just as in marriage God has a plan for your partner, He has a plan for the right Community for you.
Example #9: How do you choose from so many Communities?
Some young women say, “But there are SOOO many religious Communities out there. I give up before I even start because I don’t know where to start.” Well, there are a lot more men in the world than religious communities. Why hasn’t this stopped women from getting married? Because it only takes ONE man, the RIGHT one. When you meet him, you stop looking. Take it one at a time and trust God to lead the right one to you, or to place him in front of you. The same applies to Convents.
All of the examples cited on this Top Ten list are equally perceptive and instructive. It really takes the mystery out of the discernment process when you liken it to choosing a spouse. If God is calling you to religious life, then He will lead you to that right community where your vocation can blossom and be fruitful.
The IHM Sisters are an IRL Affiliate Community with a Carmelite spirituality and an emphasis on Eucharistic and Marian devotion. The sisters engage in the works of Catholic education on all levels, including spiritual retreats. In union with Mary, the sisters pray for the Church, especially for the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of priests.