BFF Applying for Cloister...and I am grief-stricken

I have known that entering a cloistered order was my best friend’s goal for years, but it wasn’t until recently, when she expressed her desire to actually apply, that it hit me that she’ll be leaving me. I am grieving in a way I never have before.

Sure, she’s still got loans to take care of, but for some reason, I have a feeling that God is going to clear that impediment quickly. I would be surprised if it took more than two years for her to actually enter. And two years, to me, seems unimaginably short.

I know it’s her calling…I know it’s what she was made for. I don’t want to stand in her way. But she is a part of my every day–there is rarely a day that goes by that we don’t chat, text, or talk on the phone. She is my rock in so many ways, and is really the friend that has helped me most on the path to the Lord. I can’t bear the thought of life without her, and I am not even confident that I can stay on that path without her.

I was hoping to find more on the Internet that had coping mechanisms for the BFF, but I could find surprisingly little. So maybe I can get your input–anyone been here? What did you or your friends do to prepare for such a change?

Try seeing it from God’s point of view.
You are permitted to write. She is permitted to write back.
Think of all the blessings she will garner for you with her pious prayers. Spend these last months having fun and quiet times as well together. Make even more wonderful memories and don’t let her see your grief too much. She is about to become truly free. Don’t tie her down. It’s hard, and we will pray for you, and your precious friend. If you have a Spiritual Director, meet with them fro more insight into her decision and the impact it can have on your relationship.
God bless you.

God will not give you anything you can’t handle. Remember that Jesus is your eternal BFF and that He’s not going anywhere! To quote the Sound of Music:
“When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window!”

Cloisters are meant to keep the world out, not lock the inhabitants in.

You WILL be able to visit her and write to her. May I suggest that you read “In this House of Brede” by Rumer Godden? It’s about a cloistered order (Benedictines) and might help you.

You two might actually be closer after she enters the cloister.

Here is our site, which makes an attempt at explaining the life:

cloisters.tripod.com/

Blessings,
Cloisters

Thank you all for your replies and thoughts. I just got off the phone with my friend, who is currently taking a retreat with the order she wants to enter. I have no doubt this is the right thing for her, but I am having such a hard time coping with how much life is going to be different without her. We have talked almost every day for seven years–that is even more than I can say about my family during that same time period, and definitely more than I can say for any of my other friends. To switch to just writing letters, or the occasional phone call, or whatever her order allows (she didn’t know, but she said that she would find out at some point)…that will be an adjustment.

I may check out that book on the Benedictines so I can get a better sense of things. I just feel so uprooted right now…

I appreciate your prayers, I really do. I am doing my best to pray myself, though it is admittedly hard to trust that God is going to provide for me right now. Odd thing is, I have no doubt he will provide for her… Does that even make sense?

What is also hard is that I don’t know anyone who has gone through a similar thing, and I don’t really have a spiritual confidante outside of my friend entering that I can try to process this with. Anyone else I can think of who has entered from my social circles has been active/contemplative. So when trying to reach out to others, I have gotten a lot of, “But remember when Lauren entered the order…when she came back to visit it was like she never left!” It is hard to explain that, no, my friend is never actually coming back to visit. Not ever. I have tried talking about this with my parents, my counselor, my sister (who is a social worker so it’s kind of like talking to a counselor)…and each time have had to explain that yes, there are still orders where you enter and never leave again, and yes, I actually do think this is a good thing even if it makes me upset. The one source of support I am getting is my Spiritual Director, who actually directs both of us so he knows both of our stories. It just feels so much like I’m on my own in this, y’know?

I don’t know how to help, but you are so incredibly lucky to have such a precious friend :slight_smile:

Love her enough to leave her free in every way. It will be hard for her too. Help her. She cannot have the same relationships with anyone in the future; Let her go. Love her enough to do that. In your heart; no one can help you; this is for you now.

Just came back from visiting my cloistered nun aunt last week. I went with my mom and my 8 year old daughter. My daughter asked my aunt several questions, one of them was:

“Did you find it difficult to leave behind your friends and family”, My aunt replied, nestled in a beautiful story about her calling, that when you feel this calling and you are filled with God’s grace that it fills you so much there is no room for loneliness. She added that she always connected in her heart through prayer maybe even moreso than in person.

On the way home, my mother got angry recounting her own tears when my aunt entered the convent. Also recounting the impact on their parents (my grandmother and grandfather) who were grief stricken as well. With time this fades.

Having heard this, I thought that it is much more difficult for the ones left behind. Offer up your suffering, pray.

Even if she is a postulate in a cloistered order does not necessarily mean that she will take vows. In fact very few do nowadays.

As other people have stated, you can visit!

Good luck, keep praying!

More are staying than they did a number of years ago. In fact, the cloistered vocation has skyrocketed the last 20 plus-years.

Our Cloisterites have been praying for this case.

Blessings,
Cloisters

Not sure why you were grief stricken? To be chosen in this way is an honour and a blessing to all… makes me sad reading this for the lack of thankfulness. Angry at God?

My aunt entered the convent at 18 years old, my mother would have been 13 years old. To see your sister go away without her showing any sign of emotion that she )my mother) would be missed was hurtful to my mother. She missed her sister’s presence terribly and could not understand how her sister would not miss her, she felt unimportant in her sister’s life. So yes she was angry at** that part of it**. Her sister’s apparent dismissal from a 13 year old point of view!

In those days, almost 60 years ago, the order that my aunt entered restricted visitations, only at certain times were my grandparents allowed to see her. Even then, it was as though a confessional, no touching, small openings (this is no longer practiced/greatly modified) . This order practiced “suffering” (not sure if that is a technical term) meaning they inflicted pain upon themselves and offered their suffering(no longer practiced). They lived on what they could produce, in Canada that does not sustain you all year. It was known that they were underfed (this is no longer practiced). I could go on.

Yes as a parent, I would feel worried and saddened. To put it another way if my 18 year old son landed his dream job on a remote island with little to no ability to communicate, I would be happy for him and thankful for the job AND I would bawl my eyes out at the airport.

My family is very religious, they were not upset because she joined a religious order, they were concerned for her well being, they cried, they worried, they prayed, they missed her, they prayed! They brought food to feed the entire convent when allowed (Easter and Christmas), they prayed. Over time, things sorted themselves out.

My purpose in posting initially was to offer the OP some compassion and to let her know that she is not alone in feeling grief, sadness at her own loss of a best friend. Also to let her know that over time this fades and the focus can shift from your perceived personal loss to the awesomeness of the vow her friend is contemplating.

:confused: skyrocketing?

Not in my neck of the woods

I think you said you were in Canada. If that’s the case, there is still hope, as the first indigenous cloistered order in North America – the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood – are starting to get vocations, again. There aren’t as many cloisters in Canada as there are in the U.S.

I believe I read the statistic somewhere on the “cloisteredlife.com” website.

Blessings,
Cloisters

That is my aunt’s order soeurs Adoratrices du precieux sang. …she is in the monastery in St Hyacinthe Quebec, the mother ship so to speak…it is closing soon and they are relocating close by.

Let’s keep praying

Dulcinea, you hit the nail on the head, and I appreciate your insight. That is pretty much exactly what has been going on with me and my friend—and apparently her brother and her dad are really struggling, too. I am beginning to wonder if it IS harder for those of us who are left behind.

In our talks over the past couple weeks, it has definitely become clear that she has been preparing herself for this for years. She is detached, ready to do what she needs to do. On the other hand, I was just happy and grateful to have her in my life, enjoying the fact that I got to talk to her every day, not really thinking about the consequence when she should leave. Where I am torn up, she has already been mended. Where she was my rock, she already made the Lord her only rock and is unshaken. Where I want to cry to God for taking away my companion, she is ready to go and take the Lord as her companion. It’s tough, because I often feel that our friendship means so much more to me right now. I think on some more logical level, I realize this is not the case, but it’s so hard not to feel just cast aside!

We still don’t know when she’s entering, but things are slowly getting better for me. No doubt it will probably take me awhile to truly recover, and I think it will be a long time before someone enters my life and plays the same role that she has, but I am making the most of it. And I have reason to believe that the Lord is even using this to help me to embark upon my own adventure with Him, and repent of basically having turned my back on Him last year (many, many revelations over the past few weeks of how I did this without even realizing…). At the very least, I am finding myself going back to daily Mass and trying sincerely to open my heart up to Him, which is more than I can say for the last year and a half. So who knows where this will go? Either way, it has definitely been a time where I have had to learn to entrust the future to the Lord.

I want to thank everyone for the prayers–I can tell that they are helping. I think that I will be more grateful about the whole situation in time, but this will be a process…I think the best I can do right now is to try to remain open to accepting whatever grace I am offered.

I understand, at least on the intellectual level, that the cloistered life is a blessing for the Church and that this should be a happy time. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a struggle right now personally. Because of the dissonance between what I know and what I feel, on top of everything else, I feel guilty, as if there’s something wrong with me for grieving. I feel like it somehow makes me a bad Catholic, or lacking faith.

But perhaps I am guilty as charged. If I am honest, yes, I am angry at God a bit, but I think that’s the fear talking. I turned to my friend for a lot of support over the years, especially through some personally tough times over the past year and a half, and I am just kind of afraid that I won’t know where to turn next time I have a low point. I have to trust that God will send me other means of support, but I have to realize that it may not be right away. Maybe one day I will be thankful for it, but right now I am just at the beginning of being able to do that. Pray that I will be able to do that one day!

Ah no guilt now! Not one iota please! OK? OK! Why fear? Love her and her wisdom and beauty in accepting the invitation of God. He will not leave you comfortless. And learn too to let go and turn more to Him? This time could be a time to deepen and strengthen your faith. Giving spiritual freedom to your friend will bring you greater peace than you will ever know again … time for you and her to let go… and YOU ARE NOT A BAD CATHOLIC! And I did not mean a blessing for the Church but for her and for you. Look at it another way; how would you feel if she were getting married and moving right across the world with her husband to a remote place? How would SHE feel if you were doing that?

Not everyone sees things that way. They miss their family members simple as that.

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