How to Discern an Ignatian Vocation

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  1. Freedom and love, not duress and fear, is the only acceptable pathway to becoming an Ignatian.
  2. Discernment is primarily about whether one has the bricks and mortar to build a priestly life: character, intelligence, will power, wise judgment, self-control, emotional stability, physical health.
  3. Before discerning whether or not you have an Ignatian vocation, you must first discover whether you have a priestly vocation and then secondly whether it is to diocesan or religious priesthood and thirdly whether to a contemplative or active order.
  4. No rushing the decision! Discernment to be an Ignatian will take several years: until Perpetual Profession.
  5. During this discernment, the Society of Ignatians will not allow any seminarian to hand over his financial resources to the Society.
  6. Seminarians will always have freedom to choose their confessor and spiritual director.
  7. A great means of discernment, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, will be given as St. Ignatius intended they be given: as a retreat whose aim is to reach a decision in utter freedom from any internal or external pressure, whether from superiors, retreat director, or one’s own emotions and passions.
  8. The 800-page volume, The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology by Tanquerey, a classic, comprehensive coverage of all the principles necessary for discernment in the light of Sacred Scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, will be a key reference manual that every seminarian will possess.
  9. Family and friends are regarded by Ignatians as support and strength for discernment. The Society will encourage Ignatian seminarians and priests to keep in communication with their families and friends.