Discernment Evening: An Intimate Inquiry of the Heart

Joyful Discerners

Joyful Discerners

Wednesday evening at St. Jane House in North Minneapolis, marked the first of three discernment workshops, entitled, “Following the Spirit,” that the Visitation Sisters are facilitating for young adults. Convened in the lay member retreat space were 23 people hailing from various parts of our globe,  all currently residing in the Twin Cities area. Vis Companions Brian Mogren and Melissa Borgmann were present to participate in and help capture the richness of the evening.


“Your wisdom overwhelms, Lord: too much to understand!” – Psalm 139

The evening session opened with Sr. Joanna, VHM, leading our group of 23 discerners in a communal prayer; all were invited to collaboratively participate in reading Psalm 139:

"What kinds of things are you discerning?"

"What kinds of things are you discerning?"

You search me, Lord and know me.
Wherever I sit or stand,
You read my inmost thoughts;
Whenever I walk or rest,
You know where I have been.
Before a words slips from my tongue,
Lord, you know what I will say.
You close in on me,
Pressing your hand upon me.
All this overwhelms me–
Too  much to understand!

What IS discernment?

What IS discernment?

Where can I hide from you?
How can I escape your presence?
I scale the heavens you are there!
I plunge to the depths you are there!
If I fly toward dawn,
Or settle across the sea,
Even there you take hold of me,
Your right hand directs me.
Psalm 139: vs. 1-12

Following the psalm, everyone was invited to move through introductions, locating themselves inside this larger topic of “discernment,” sharing any current life circumstances, and posing their own respective questions or thoughts, grounding their spiritual decision-making.  Some of the questions surfaced include:

"Where is God's voice in this, and where is mine?"

"Where is God's voice in this, and where is mine?"

“What is Discernment?”

“How do I pursue certain things, goals, dreams?”

“What do I let go of?”

“What is my role in this city?”

“What relationships am I called to build — or  let go of?”

“Where is God’s voice in this and where is mine?”

One member of the room, Cody, offered this statement, paraphrasing a quote he’d read on the wall of the St. Jane house bathroom:

“Be who you are, and be great at it!”

Knowing the Visitation co-founder, St. Francis de Sales’ words: “Be who you are and be that well,” I smiled hearing this translation. Cody’s updated version of one of the Vis Sister’s mantras is an aspiration for all who are contemplating their life journeys, their identities, and purposes here on the planet!


As this discernment series unfolds, we invite your prayers for the participants. Perhaps you find yourself keenly drawn to such prayerful decision making? Maybe compassionate inquiry –  regarding your own purpose and path – speaks to your current life circumstances? Know the Sisters will welcome you into fuller participation. Come and join us!


The next Following the Spirit” discernment evening workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 24, from 7-9pm. The topic will be “Discerning with a Salesian Heart” lead by Sr. Mary Virginia, VHM.  To join us, contact Sr. Joanna  at VMonastery@aol.com, or call: 612.521.6113.

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  1. […] a week at St. Jane House! On the heels of Wednesday’s rich and rewarding first discernment workshop held at the Visitation Sister’s lay retreat house, follows another workshop of sorts, […]

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