Discerning Vocation

I’m discerning my vocational calling in life. I feel strongly called to a particular monastery and also to the priesthood, however I would say that currently I feel more strongly towards the religious life than priesthood, with the monastery in question being a Trappist abbey.
My one of my concerns though is that being an OCSO abbey, I would only see my family when the came to visit me or if they fell ill. In addition, after taking a vow of poverty, I wouldn’t be able to financially take care of my parents if they ran into some problems down the road (they haven’t retired yet and I do not know their financial position as my father and I don’t discuss that issue much).
I’m a little worried about this and so I told a few of my close friends about my feelings and they suggested I check out being a diocesan preist or OP. Although this is a possibility, and I have contacted both the diocese’s and the dominican’s vocational directors, I’m a bit worried that if I chose a path different from the one I feel I’m being called to I would in some way offend God and thus commit sin.
Do any of the posters here have some advice? Thanks.
On a side note, I’m 23, went to grad school in science, and work currently in a stable job position.

You should not let your family hold you back in pursuing your Vocation. You should be open in discussing these reservations both with your family and your vocations director.

A vocation is a calling, not a job choice. If one feels called to be a religious and not a diocesian priest then it would not be right to follow the latter.

I agree; if he is called to religious life, God will take care of his family. However, he may not necessarily be called to be Trappist or to any other monastic order. He mentioned the Dominicans and apparently has a serious interest in learning. So, it is possible that he is instead called to a teaching-order like the Jesuits or Order of Preachers. Also, the Carmelites are contemplative friars, which would make them a sort of “midway” between an order like the Trappists and communities that are neither monastic nor especially contemplative. In addition, one must not forget that the Dominicans, who follow the Rule of St. Augustine, are under a vow of poverty like that of other mendicants.

thanks for sharing, I do understand your situation…I strongly recommend that you talk to your parents…have a family gathering…this will strengthen your zeal and fortitude…courage and blessings


thanks for sharing, I do understand your situation…I strongly recommend that you talk to your parents…have a family gathering…this will strengthen your zeal and fortitude…courage and blessings


This is the time to learn more about the other orders and to, maybe, attend vocation retreats. The Eastern Province Dominicans do a bang up job with their vocation retreats, so if you might be interested in them, then definitely sign up for a retreat.

Sometimes we are attracted to a path that we think is the right path, but then later we find that some aspect of what attracted us there was true… but that the fullness of what we desired was somewhere else. So just make sure to investigate other orders, and pray over it. If after coming to greater knowledge of the other orders you are interested in, you still only feel attracted to the Trappists… then go for it.

God bless,

Thank you for your advice Vincent. Unfortunately I would say that talking to my parents is also a huge hurdle I need to get over. I’m actually quite scared about when/how the conversation of my vocation will come up.
I guess in my fantasized world, I would like to have all of my questions answered and to be one hundred percent certain of my vocation prior to speaking with my parents. Although I’m sure this will not happen, I feel like I’m being at least somewhat productive if I try to determine answers to various questions while still putting off the conversation with my folks.
Young Thinker, thank you for your help as well. I have been discerning for some time, roughly nine months or so, and have “checked out” several different orders, including OCD, SJ, and the one Carmelite group up in Cody, Wy. I would like to say that I feel strongly “urged” to go OCSO yet would (prefer isn’t the right word to use here, but I can’t think of any other word to write) prefer to be in a setting that is more accessible to my family and also which I haven’t discerned out the possibility of joining. OP and CSsR are the only other orders that I’ve serious prayed and meditated on that I haven’t been “urged out” of yet. I was also thinking diocesan might be best (as there would be no vow of poverty) but like I said, I feel more strongly to be a religious than a priest (although I feel urged to be a priest as well).
On a side note, please forgive me for using such weird terms as “urged.” I really have no way of describing how I feel called to a particular thing or what have you than to use that word.
Once again, thank you all for your advice.

It sounds like you’re on the right track - being thorough and purposeful in your discernment. I myself have been discerning with the cloistered Dominican nuns and have faced many of these same questions. Many of these will be answered as you discern further the particular community to which you feel you may be called. Some will remain mysteries and you will have to have faith to leave them in God’s hands.

My family is not supportive of my vocation and as I’ve discerned cloistered life, I’ve had to consider alot with respect to my family. But the bottom line is that we live not for this life on earth, but for the one we’ll have in eternity. And your vocation is a gift not just to you, but is for your entire family and the Church. As challenging as it may be (whether from internal struggles or challenges raised by family and/or friends) be faithful to the direction God is leading and trust Him to take care of you and your family.

Peace and blessings to you as you continue your discernment!

Thanx for sharing

You may wish to read the following

Mathew 10:37-39

I will pray for you

Good Luck


Marcarius…you seem to be my twin (who is one year younger than I am), lol.

I’m a 24 year old who has felt called to the monastic life (Trappist/Carthusian sort of life) since before I was confirmed (I’m a convert from Protestantism). I’ve had the same issues. I’m an only child and my mother is single (my parents are divorced) so these familial issues were a real issue for me. Unfortunately, I chose my mother’s wishes over God’s call and put my vocation (and to some degree my religious life in general) on hold since I had to move back in with my mother. Since then I’ve started working with my father and kept quiet about religion around my mother to try and “keep the peace” - trying to sneak to Mass and that sort of thing.

I’m really struggling with my life and future right now, and it sounds like you have similar issues (though from the sounds of what you’ve written you’re probably doing a better job of dealing with it than I am).

I’d be very much interested in talking pen pan-style or something if you’d like. Feel free to message me and we can exchange emails if you’d like.


Marcarius, get in touch with your diocese’s Vocation director. They can really help. The Fort Worth Diocese has a monthly discernment meeting for men and one for women. I’ve found it to be helpful. I can guess that the men’s in similar to the women’s, but we have sisters from local communities attend, and just have a chance to know we’re not alone. Fr. Kyle does a good job with getting come and see weekend information and is there to talk to and help point us in the right direction. If there’s isn’t a vocations director, look for the Serra club.

3Sanctus, I understand where you are. I’m the only Catholic in my family (converted Easter 09) I’m also living with my parents as I finish up my degree. It’s hard when you can’t tell them what’s going on. My dad’s very close to being a fundamentalist. It’s like you can’t say “I’m going to (insert blank concerning church).” I did mention to my mom that I was discerning, and I don’t think she believes that it could be my vocation. Just know you’re not alone, and that there are ways to practice your faith without revealing every place you are.

Praying for you.

Thank you for your replies 3Sanctus and Azi. I have called my diocese’s vocations director and am awaiting what he has to tell me (as we’ve only talked briefly a few times). Pray for me and I’ll pray for you!

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