And the discerning never ends


#1

I have been in the discernment mode for a vocation in the church for many years now. After countless rejections and not being qualified for almost any vocation, i.e. married, religious, secular institutes. I finally decided to start my own group of consecrated women, The Oblate Sisters of Mary Magdalene. I had been associated to Good Shepherds as a vowed Companion, but they were too liberal for my tastes and not even a secular institute (which on its face would sound like the perfect fit) considered a woman who already had children and had been married could live the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. All this to say I feel quite defeated much of the time.

I have a Yahoo! group for members and the horarium is posted each day. I have stuck to my prayer life, strive to live the vows everyday (we have Rosary bracelets to remind us to pray 5 decades of the Rosary each day) and desperately try to keep in touch with the others. I am even in the process of putting on a Rescued & Adopted Pet Show to Celebrate Life, which will benefit no-kill pet shelters, an advocacy organization for parents of special needs children and the pro-life Pregnancy Decision Health Center here in Central Ohio. It's quite an undertaking, but I am committed to call attention to every single life's importance. We will have participation & support from the Dave Thomas Adoption Foundation through Franklin County Children Services. I am excited for it.

Still, I have to admit, I have, very often, felt the hint of the feeling I had when I was younger, that I am just not good enough to be considered a consecrated lay woman. I obviously will never marry again. I am past my child rearing years and don't know if I will ever be a grandmother. I have been rejected by every religious group for which I appear to qualify. Then, there is the scrutiny I have endured by local clergy & religious. I have been forced to look up to them as they look down their noses at me. This doesn't make me feel overwhelmingly sad, as one might think, but I am getting tired. I really question if God has anything special in mind for me at all. I'm not trying to be pathetic, but honest.

There... now that it's off my chest, does anyone else identify with my Catch-22? Anything helpful is welcome.


#2

The answer is so easy, yet so incredibly difficult. Pope John Paul VI coined the phrase: Lay Contemporary. We are people who live the religious life whilst living in the world. We attend daily mass, pray our rosary, make sacrifices for souls--all unbeknownst to anyone. Our prayer lives are completely hidden--only God sees. This vocation is more difficult than being in a religious order because we have all the temptations of the world, and no support except for Jesus, Himself. Mary said in Fatima: The lay people will carry the Church. Welcome to the club!


#3

[quote="irisfromohio, post:1, topic:221987"]
I had been associated to Good Shepherds as a vowed Companion, but they were too liberal for my tastes and not even a secular institute (which on its face would sound like the perfect fit) considered a woman who already had children and had been married could live the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. /QUOTE]

Hello! It's my first time to hear the Vowed Companions. Is it associated with the Religious of the Good Shepherd?

I remember the Institute of the Holy Family. You may look at their "Vocations" pager here: vocations-holyfamily.com/join.html

Oops, just read.. you're starting a group of consecrated women. .are you refering to a group of religious sisters, or are the Oblates a "secular institute"?

Prayers for you!

[/quote]


#4

[quote="CharlesMichael, post:3, topic:221987"]

Hello! It's my first time to hear the Vowed Companions. Is it associated with the Religious of the Good Shepherd?

I remember the Institute of the Holy Family. You may look at their "Vocations" pager here: vocations-holyfamily.com/join.html

Oops, just read.. you're starting a group of consecrated women. .are you refering to a group of religious sisters, or are the Oblates a "secular institute"?

Prayers for you!

[/quote]

Companions of Jesus the Good Shepherd are associated with RGS & CGS. They were the vision of the late Sr. Rose Virginie Warrick RGS, to replace the Magdalens as the third expression of the charism of St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, their foundress. There was some controversy, as some provinces wanted another lay association and only have women take a vow of zeal. But, the heart of this group of consecrated seculars want to make the four vows, same as the sisters. They are one of the congregations who are experiencing the visitation of American religious. They are very left of center & liberal. I finally realized that my vocation wasn't there & that I needed a more formal, traditional way of life. Similarly, I am not called to life through the Institute of the Holy Family..

The Oblates are modeled after secular institutes, prayerfully will be graced with that recognition in the future. At this time, we are living the life, praying a special intention for the Sacramental Vocation of Marriage, because that is a vocation that does suffer in our current time. We believe that we know, maybe better than most, the value of that sacrament. Many of us would probably be mothers & grandmothers, as we are targeting delayed and/or second vocations for women who were married & are widowed or had an annulment. We all have a vested interest in its success. We do need your prayers.

In the meantime, I had a meeting today with a friend who has been divorced, seeking to remarry & go through the annulment process. All of the questions I have asked myself in recent days, am I truly called or retreating to consecrated life as a cover for my lack of success finding companionship with the opposite sex. She talked about what she has dealt with in the "dating" venue. She has always been someone who inspires me in my faith & prayer life. She has made it clear that she doesn't have a vocation with "vita consecrata". While her experiences are not all negative like mine, it was revealed to me that I am not willing to kiss any more frogs, that I DO deserve a man in my life. But no one any less than Jesus would serve me rightfully. I am called to consecration in the vows of the evangelical counsels:thumbsup:

Please pray for me and for the OSMM:)


#5

[quote="irisfromohio, post:1, topic:221987"]

There... now that it's off my chest, does anyone else identify with my Catch-22? Anything helpful is welcome.

[/quote]

Perhaps it is in the trying that you are fulfilling God's will. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta tells us that we are not called to succeed, but to remain faithful to the work to which God has called us.

Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting in his whole life, and I am sure he was often tempted to give up and take on the life of a menial labourer - but he did not - and today, he is considered the greatest artist who ever lived.

I feel sure that God sees in you a great contemplative - even though the world won't know of it, in this life time. Keep on working, and don't give up - even if it becomes clear that you cannot succeed in the way that the world considers "success."


#6

You are in my prayers. It is not easy to live a religious vocation in the world as I'm coming to realize. I can only encourage you to embrace the cross you have been given. It is made particularly to fit your shoulders but you will only be able to carry it if you allow Him to help you.

JMJDTF+
~Betsy

Totus tuus Maria! Let's see what the good God wills.


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.