Calling to vocational life but in a relationship


Hi all,

New member here.

I wanted to see if I could get some advice on this issue. I feel called to living a vocational life, most likely priesthood. However as the title suggests I am in a relationship. I love this person very much and it would hurt me as much them if I were to end the relationship due this calling, but I feel as though I cannot fulfil my duty or calling on this earth without committing myself fully to the faith.

It is a real predicament, I will need to talk to the Father at my local church about this but I initially wanted some advice from members here on their thoughts and if anyone has gone through a similar experience.

All the best and thanks.


Just a thought…you can fully ‘commit yourself to the faith’ even as a married man, with God’s grace.
Consider the father of Saint Therese of Lisieux.
He went into the seminary believing he was called, but in truth, he wasn’t.
He married, and all of his surviving children became nuns, one canonised, another daughter has a cause for sanctity in process.

Therese’s Father Louis was canonised be Saint John Paul 2, A’s was his wife, Zelie canonised. It is possible to truly commit to the faith, to become truly holy, in married life.

God bless you in your consultation with your priest. May God inspire him in guiding you…

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums


Yes, talk to your parish priest and the diocesan vocations director. Some priests have been called from relationships. Others, it can be a test.

My first impression is that you should visit a seminary just to see if you feel at home there. God usually won’t yank you out of a relationship that has seemingly bonded so deeply. There are also third orders/oblatures; the permanent diaconate; and organizations like Opus Dei for those who discern marriage. If you have to ask if the girl is the one, she probably isn’t. I know from experience that one’s spouse is recognized when first met.

Mrs Cloisters, OP
Lay Dominican


This is a good start as at least you feel the call. Most seminaries and (if you’re interested in an order) houses of formation will probably not allow you admission until you’ve “fasted” from dating for a while. From what I’ve seen, the period is about 2 years. Something to consider.

As suggested, talk with your local pastor and take him as a spiritual director. Visit a seminary and/or religious order.

It would be interesting to hear what your girlfriend has to say on it. Have you mentioned to her that you’re discerning the priesthood? Just curious.


A couple of my good friends from seminary were engaged to be married before they were convinced of their invitation to the priesthood. I’d encourage you to check out Luke 18:28-30 and Matthew 10:37-39, and pray with those verses. The principle behind them is this: if you’re clinging to your relationship with this girl more than you’re clinging to a deeper invitation from the Lord, it seems to suggest you’re clinging to the wrong thing. Be not afraid to investigate that invitation from the Lord.

Your desire to give everything to God is a good one. Putting that desire into action will make you a real saint.


Been there, been through that and it isn’t easy. Most of all go before Our Lord in Adoration, and this won’t happen overnight, but ASK HIM “what do YOU want me to do?” In doing that be willing to do His will whatever it may be. You may have to ask Him over and over before you get a clear answer but He will answer you. SINCERELY open yourself to His will whatever it may be. Talk to a trusted priest. Give it time as well, something this important can not be rushed. KNOW that you are His already and He wants what is best for you: 3 vocations in life—marriage, religious and single. He can be served totally in any of these 3 vocations. Just let Him speak to you and let Him show you what He wants. If you are called to serve him as a priest you will have NO doubt.

You do not want to look back years from now with any doubts or regrets about the choice you make.


Here are some AWESOME short videos by Father Mike Schmitz who is on the campus of University of Minnesota Deluth and he offers wonderful help on this very thing. He was actually engaged to be married when he felt the call to the priesthood so he KNOWs what you are going through right now.


Don’t forget that marriage is also a vocation (and a sacrament). Perhaps that is the “vocational life” you are called to? [By the way, the first and universal vocation (call) is to holiness, which can and has been lived in every state of life.


Keep in mind you can fully serve God as a married person, if that is what He wants.
But also keep in mind that you can fully serve God as one with Holy Orders, if that is what He wants.
Perhaps you may also be called to be a Deacon?

Just remember, “Not my will, but yours, Father”


Well you would have to make a choice… God or the creation of God :smiley: easier said than done… I heard of a guy who did feel called but being in a long relationship and also from a very rich & affluent family people were hoping he would carry on the family name etc… just a day before the marriage he decided to leave everything and giving up his inheritance he joined the religious order… he is now a very good priest :slight_smile:

Also I guess what matters more here is not just what a person likes or feels about a particular state of life… but rather if God has really called him for that particular state of life.

Imagine if St Theresa of Avila or St Francis of Assisi or St Ignatius or Loyola had decided to serve God but by living as lay men in the world… we would not have had the Carmelities, Franciscans and the Jesuits… the Catholic faith has profited greatly from the sacrifice of this men as it did bring about great good for the world and the church and for all the faithful :smiley:


Welcome to CAF Father Bryan.

Op have you spoken to your girlfriend about how you feel.

You may be surprised by her response and support.


Go to a seminary for a year. Or 2 semesters. You will find the answer is not a question.


Someone doesn’t just “go to a seminary.” Seminarians have to be accepted and sponsored by a diocese. That is far from automatic.


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