Frequently Asked Questions
Who runs the vocation houses?
The Vocation Discernment Houses are a ministry of the Confraternity of Penitents. The Confraternity is a worldwide, nonprofit, 501(c)3 private association of the faithful, commended by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend (IN, USA).
What oversight, qualifications, and training are in place for house parents?
The Confraternity Volunteer Coordinator and select Council members accept applications and interview candidates for house parents. Applicants must provide three references, one from a Catholic priest, and undergo a background check. Older applicants with life experience and a degree in some type of social work or caring profession are preferred.
Upon acceptance, house parents must sign a contract detailing their responsibilities and accepting CFP expectations for this position.
House parents meet weekly with the Confraternity Volunteer Coordinator who also meets bi-weekly and individually with house residents. Reports are evaluated by the CFP Volunteer Coordinator, CFP Minister General and CFP Council. Appropriate action is taken as needed.
House parents also attend periodic training sessions in personal relationships and informal faith sharing. More detailed theological questions are referred to the Spiritual Assistant for the Vocation Houses, who is a priest from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
Do I have to be discerning a Franciscan vocation to live in a Vocation House?
Not at all! The houses are operated by a Franciscan organization, but residents are encouraged to simply follow God's will, whatever it may be.
Can I have a job while staying in the house?
Yes! You will likely need a source of income to pay your fair share of household expenses, and for your own personal needs.
Can a Vocation House help me pay off debt to be able to enter religious life?
If you volunteer ten hours per week for the Confraternity of Penitents, you can stay at a Vocation House free of charge with all utilities paid. Any income could then help pay off debt.
Am I required to join in prayer and meal times?
If possible, please attend common prayer and meals at least twice a week to help you get to know your community.
Will all meals be provided?
You will be chiefly responsible for your own meals. However, some common meals will be provided using monthly house dues from each resident.
Do I have to live nearby in order to apply to the Vocation Houses?
Not at all! Former residents have come from all over the US. Applicants from other countries may apply, if they already have a VISA, International Passport, and Green Card.
Can I have a social life?
Yes. Friends and family are an important part of your discernment. However, please keep in mind that you will be part of a community here. Your time and responsibilities at the vocation house should be a priority.
Can I have a cell phone and computer?
Yes! However, sound must be confined as much as possible to your personal bedroom, especially during quiet hours.
Can I have guests at the house?
Visitors are allowed in common areas of the house outside of quiet hours. Overnight stays may be possible for family members or friends, if there is space available. The house parent has the final say if an overnight guest is allowed, and if the guest will be required to volunteer or offer a stipend for time spent at the house. Typical stipend for an overnight stay in guest quarters is $25 a night.
Can I have a pet?
Only if it's confined to a tank or cage. Roaming pets such as dogs and cats are not allowed. Annunciation Women's House has a dog, and the Confraternity of Penitents has several cats. You are welcome to play with and help care for them.
Do I have to participate in volunteer hours?
Your volunteer hours are mutually beneficial to you as a discerner, and to our ministry. Working in community is a fruitful way to discern, to discover new talents, and to build virtue. While you can elect not to participate in our volunteer ministry, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity. Volunteer hours may also alleviate the cost of your program service fees.