Feeling called vs my obligation to my mother


So I’ve been discerning for sometime now. At first it was just a feeling I had, came and went, and struggled with it. I found an order that I felt I was destined for, The Little Sisters of the Poor. I took care of grandmother for awhile and have a genuine love for the elderly and the poor (their fourth vow is hospitality to the elderly poor, I also lived in a lay hospitality house for several months and loved the work). Over the past year I spent several weekends with the Sisters working in their homes and unofficially discerning.

It seems just about everything that brought doubts to my mind about becoming a Little Sister has faded away, accept one, my mother. My mother works, she is able-bodied, but she is against me becoming a sister. She is against me moving out again period (for insight I’m 24). She is not religious at all, and struggles with even simple beliefs despite being raised Catholic. At this point she has also pushed away all our family and friends basically beyond repairing relationships. When I moved back in after the passing of my grandmother, which was not suppose to be permanent, I was literally ushered into having to be depended on for paying for another apartment with her and my brother. (Which has yet to happen, I do contribute to the rent for the apt I currently share with her of course). This happened last December, my mother is still heavily grieving because she had a very close relationship with my grandmother, and the circumstances in which she died this is yet another reason why I feel like I can’t abandon her. I think it would be good if she lived with my brother but they don’t always get along so this is another concern of mine.

I don’t want to abandon my mother, and she is constantly battling depression. I feel like it is my responsibility as her only daughter to care for her when she is elderly as we did my grandmother. But the sisters assured me she will always be able to live in one of their homes even though it may not be the one I will reside at :frowning: .

Am I being selfish for wanting to pursue religious life? Or am I enabling my mother?

I will talk to my confessor about this again but I figured Id ask for some outsider insight.


PS Two Bible verses that HIGHLY confuse me on the matter:

Matthew 10:37-38 Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 15: 3-6 3Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4For God said: ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’5But you say that if anyone says to his father or mother, ‘The help you would have received from me has been given to God,’ 6he need not honor his father or mother with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.


Speak to your pastor and Vocations Director in your Diocese.
They see a lot of this.
They can help you.
I will pray for you.


Thank you.


As suggested, speak to the vocations director.

Though it might not seem like it at 24, you are still maturing as an adult. One of the things we learn is that we are not responsible for our family members’ emotional health. We can be supportive of them, assist them as needed within reason, and help find resources for them if needed, but ultimately, adults need to live their lives (both you and her).

When a parent’s need for support (outside a significant disease, etc.) strongly impacts their children’s lives in the way you describe, there may be other issues involved. If a parent is leaning on their child for such support, there may be a need for professional support or other support group type assistance.

Good luck with your call and your situation. Prayers being said for your situation.


What happens when the individual refuses any type of such assistance?


They learn a very hard lesson. Chiefly, that it doesn’t have to go down that way. That they do have options, and they are afraid of the options.
It’s difficult fro sure. But necessary.
God bless


Since the Little Sisters of the Poor work with older people, you might try asking their advice.
Perhaps, later on, as a Little Sister of the Poor, you or another Little Sister might take care of your Mom. Talk it over with the Sisters. They will be able to help you.


Many saints have had this same problem. Please read the life of St. Catherine Laboure, and ask for her intersession in this matter. Her father did not want her to enter the Daughters of Charity so that she could continue managing his household. Without the help of her brother and sister-in-law, she would have never been able to enter. St. Faustina’s parents weren’t thrilled with her wanting to enter the convent either. What made her father finally accept her decision was her reminding him of who his son-in-law was. Section 2230 states that adult children have the right and duty to chose their state in life, and that parents should not put undo pressure on their adult children in making this choice. I realize that sometimes this is easier said than done.


Begin your training now both - spiritually and intellectually. If you believe that you have a calling to serve the elderly, begin nurses training, or something of that nature. Begin praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Go to Mass daily. Begin your life of service now. God will open doors for you and for your mother if He is calling you for this wonderful life of service. It doesn’t sound like the time is right now but God will let you know when it is time let go.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church States:

2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them - quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family.

2231 Some forgo marriage in order to care for their parents or brothers and sisters, to give themselves more completely to a profession, or to serve other honorable ends. They can contribute greatly to the good of the human family.


2232 Family ties are important but not absolute. Just as the child grows to maturity and human and spiritual autonomy, so his unique vocation which comes from God asserts itself more clearly and forcefully. Parents should respect this call and encourage their children to follow it. They must be convinced that the first vocation of the Christian is to follow Jesus: "He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."39

2233 Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invitation to belong to God’s family, to live in conformity with His way of life: "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother."40

Parents should welcome and respect with joy and thanksgiving the Lord’s call to one of their children to follow him in virginity for the sake of the Kingdom in the consecrated life or in priestly ministry.

You as an adult, have a duty to your parents. However, your parents also have a duty to encourage you to follow whatever vocation in life that you feel called to. Perhaps it is out of fear or ignorance that your mother objects, but it seems that the Church would say that you have a right and a duty to follow God before parents.


OP when I first read your post. parts of it were like revisiting my own youth. ( I do not get here very often so forgive my tardiness please; thank you)

When I was about your age( decades ago now) my mother was desperately insecure. My father had left us years before, and then my only brother, was killed when he was 19 and I 16. I was to her all she had left, and in those days, girls were not valued as boys were

I had to go everywhere with her etc and the day my brother died,on holiday, a well meaning lady said to her, and to me " A son is a son till he finds a wife;a daughter’s all of her life. " and I all but heard the prison doors closing as I did many times int he following years …

OF COURSE I loved her and of course I knew my duty to her, but I needed and longed to get away and live my life. The guilt if I tried to branch out… smothering.

Then I was offered a promotion that would take me too far away to commute and when I told her the immediate reply was. " You are doing it to get away from me."

This went on for years and then I developed a mystery illness which was misdiagnosed as mental. and her reaction was the final straw.

She was killed in a road accident and we were alienated then.

I should have followed my own life. mea culpa but like you I was torn, In many ways I was living her life for her.

And yes it was unintentional emotional blackmail. She said that if I left, she would never go out again, never have any friends, never go away on holiday… I felt terrible… I think also the s word was used…

But after I left, she joined so many clubs and activities. made friends, went away etx and often wonder how much more she would have had if I had broken away sooner… Like your mother she was very depressed and there was no help then as there is now. But she lived a full life…always denied it!!!

I am sure this was all a part of my own ill health… LIVE YOUR LIFE… trust your mother to find the strength to live hers… Please. My life was marred and deformed by my own inability to live it. The one who suffered most was myself.

Al is OK now with me. I am living the life my Lord always wanted for me, passionately and rejoicingly… no regrets as they are an act of ingratitude.Living each day as it is. well over 70 now and life is a gift But please, do not make the mistakes I made. If God has this planned and offered fro you, reach out your hands in sheer joy and trust Him to sort it all…Have faith in the totallity andf fullness of His provision. He will honour this

And the Sisters understand and will support you.

Oh, at the back of my mind; a person who wanted to join the Poor Clares here in Ireland was nursing a sick mother.In her case it was simple physical illness. They let her wait, living the life at home as best she could. When the mother died, in she went and is happy there… But your situation I think is very different ?


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