The Application Process: An Important Part of Discernment

Brother David Henley, Glenmary vocation director

December 2013

"Then the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.'"—Lk 1:30

During this past summer and fall, a number of men from across the United States took the opportunity to participate in our weekend Come & See retreats, to get to know Glenmary, and experience life in the missions. Currently they and others are discerning whether they are called to take the next step by applying to enter Glenmary's formation program.

As the Church begins the Advent season and the new liturgical year, the Glenmary Vocation Office begins preparing for the 2014 school year. August 2014 may seem like a long way off, but for those who are preparing to enter into the formation program for the coming year, now is the time to start the application process. During the process, the applicant gets to know Glenmary and himself better.

Already this fall, Ricardo Rivera from Michoacán, Mexico, who spent October on an extended mission placement, has completed his application and has been accepted by both Glenmary and Divine Word College. He will begin attending classes in January 2014. I will be traveling to Mexico during December to meet with him as he prepares to travel to the United States. And while there I will interview a number of other prospects.

In January, Father Dan Dorsey and I will travel to Nairobi, Kenya, where we will hold a Come & See retreat for six men from Kenya and Uganda who are discerning their vocation as Glenmary missioners. After the retreat and interviews, a selected number of men will be invited to continue in the application process.

The Glenmary application is not the same as a job application, but the comparison can be made. The major difference is that in addition to filling out the actual application form, an applicant needs to gather and submit certain documents: baptismal and confirmation records, transcripts from all secondary schools and colleges attended, and references from his pastor and others.

Another section of the application requires the applicant to write a spiritual autobiography. Some elements of the individual's life that are included in an autobiography are his spiritual journey and discernment. He is also asked to reflect on how he has seen God working in his life. He will also include information about his family background, the places he has lived, his volunteer experiences, his work experiences, his hobbies, and organizations to which he has belonged. It is important for him to also include how he sees himself living out the promises of poverty, chastity, obedience and prayer. Writing an autobiography actually helps a person clarify where he is being called.

For a man living in the United States, the application process includes scheduling a time to travel to Glenmary's Headquarters in Cincinnati for interviews with the vocation director and other members of the admissions committee. Physical and psychological exams are also scheduled during the same visit. For those applicants living in other countries, the physical and psychological exams are done in their own countries.

The application process is an important part of discernment. It is a prayerful process in which an applicant walks with a member of Glenmary's vocation team. It is not the same as filling out a form and taking it back to an employer the next day.

During Advent, pray about whether now is the time for you to take the next step. Allow the comforting words of the angel Gabriel to Mary—"Do not be afraid"—to encourage you to be open to wherever God is calling you.

"Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.'"—Lk 1:38


If you would like more information about Glenmary Home Missioners or would like to speak with someone about following your call or about the doubts you may be experiencing, you can call 513-881-7494, contact us via our Web site, send an e-mail, or get in touch through Facebook.

Read previous columns by Brother David on the Glenmary Web site.