7 Stages of Discernment - The Third Stage
These 7 Stages of Discernment are taken and modified for discerning religious life from the book To Save a Thousand Souls by Fr. Brett A. Brannen.
Stage 3: Assessment Period
A woman in stage 3 realizes that this attraction to religious life will not go away, even though she has tried to avoid it. She is now making a more serious effort to grow in her faith and prayer life. She spends time in Eucharistic adoration, attends daily Mass when possible, and goes to Confession regularly. She might find a spiritual director because she realizes she needs help in discerning. Her love for God is maturing and she begins to understand the joy of laying down her life for Jesus and his Church. Her desire to serve others is growing, and she experiences joy in serving.
In this stage she begins to assess different fears: the fear of loneliness, of separation from family and friends, fear of the unknown, of not being holy enough, fear of letting go of the things of the world. With the help of her spiritual director she begins to assess her qualities to see if she has the capacity to become a consecrated woman. Although she is discreet she begins to tell persons about her discernment. She may go on discernment retreats.
The primary emotion is still fear, though there is a growing love and trust in God. Though she may still hope that God is not calling her to religious life, she begins to also see she could be happy and fulfilled as a sister. For the first time, she feels a small measure of excitement that God may be calling her to be a bride of Christ.