In his hymn, The Anthem, Tom Conry writes: "We are called, we are chosen, we are Christ for one another…" These words summarize the meaning of "vocation" for us. God calls each one of us by name to live a certain vocation: marriage, single life, priesthood or religious (sister, brother or priest). Our vocation is the way we order our life to use our talents to serve others.
The call to religious life enables a person to be "Christ for one another" is a specific way: vowed life in a religious community with a particular spirituality, e.g. Franciscan, Dominican, Benedictine. In the Roman Catholic Church, each religious community has its own charism, a particular grace of the Holy Spirit to be used for the good of the whole church. The Charism of the FMSJs is centred on Franciscan spirituality which calls us to "live the Gospel" through vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Alice Ingham, our Foundress, responded to the needs of her day by serving the poor in her neighbourhood in Rochdale, England. Eventually, through meeting Bishop Vaughan and through the guidance of her Franciscan spiritual director, Fr. Gomair, she responded to God’s call and went to Mill Hill, London where the Congregation was officially founded. Because of her courage and desire to follow God's will, her vision expanded, and the early sisters added missionary work, the Catholic Children’s Rescue Society and domestic work in the Mill Hill Seminaries to their original vision.
How do you know if you have a vocation to the religious life? First, pray for guidance. Then seek out someone to discuss your desires with, e.g. a trusted friend, a priest or sister, or a spiritual director. Most dioceses have a vocation promotion office where you are able to get information about various religious congregations, if you don't already know some sisters. Through visiting these Congregations, daily prayer and retreats, you will be able to discern if religious life might be your vocation.