In 1964 at age 21, I joined a Discalced Carmelite Convent. I loved the life and felt this was the right place God wanted me to be. Looking back I see myself as too immature at the time and was too shy to talk with anyone regarding the reasons I thought I should leave, and realize now that it probably could have been worked out if I had talked with the Mother Superior openly. I am beyond the age now where I could go back.
The years after I was there Vatican II changes began and I was lost in a world where there seemed to no longer be reverence at Mass, Our Lady was shunted to the back of the bus, the Eucharist was put to the side and it appeared to me that the Holy Sacrifice had turned from God-centered to Socializing-centered. At that point I no longer practiced my faith. I always prayed and tried to center my life and actions on Our Lord. At one point I thought I had found a church that allowed the Latin Rite and communion on the tongue, but it turned out to be bogus and the priest was one of those caught molesting an altar boy. The church closed and there were no more in the area that offered the mass of adoration and the Latin vernacular.
So I tried to live a God centered life in spite of all this but always missed the Church and the Sacraments.
I twist of fate (really a jolt from God I am sure) in the last few months has led me to ache for the religious life again. There is now a church in the area where holy Mass is offered in the traditional form and I have returned and am so happy to be able to worship God in a reverential manner and to receive Holy Communion again.
The ache is still here though, particularly for the Carmelite life I did not live. I am offering up the sorrow to Our Lord, and have received a lot of comforting from Him.
I have gotten through a lot of the grief and know it is His will that my life has been as it is, but I began to wonder about those who have left the religious life and may be going through anything similar to what I am experiencing. Maybe someone would like to join this thread and know they aren’t alone. May God love you and keep you close and heal your wounds.