Finding the Right Community...Advice?


#1

Hello Everyone!

I have a question I hope you might be able to help me out with.

I have felt like I may have a vocation to religous life since I was very young. However, I chose to finish high school and earn a college degree (which I completed May 2009) Its not that I was ever closed off to the idea of joining a community, it's just that I never thought it was the right time. After finishing college, I reached a point where I almost entered a community, however I chose not to. The Vocation Director put a TON of preasure on me, and at the end fo the day, although I LOVED the sisters, and overall really felt a "click" with the community, I just was really turned of by this Vocation Director, and with no better way to put it, I was basically stressed out.

I have not had any contact with the community since then, however, I costantly find myself thinking about them. I visited another community this summer, and although I really enjoyed the sisters, I found myself constantly comparing them to the community that I mentioned above. I am begining to wonder if this is the Lord's way of saying, "don't be afraid, just go". But at teh same time, I'm afraid that I'll get out there and go "Holy Moly... I made a mistake!" Does that make sense?

I feel like I can no longer really continue my descernment on the outside, if you will, and at this point I need to really get serious about entering a community.

Has anyone else experienced this? Do you have any advice?

Thanks so much!


#2

Maybe you could spend a retreat with the community?

If you have a chance to spend some time in adoration, that is always a good thing! :)


#3

i'm curious.. how di the the vocation directress put a ton of pressure on you? is it really that bad?

first pray a lot about your vocation. It's the Lord Who called you, so you need to pray for light.

Make your visit with the community you mentioned more frequent. Probably it's different this time? Probably the VD didn't really intend to put a ton of pressure?

Make a silent discernment retreat with a monastery or hermitage. This will REALLY help.

God bless you on your search. Prayers for you.


#4

[quote="harp4joy, post:1, topic:201533"]
Hello Everyone!
The Vocation Director put a TON of preasure on me, and at the end fo the day, although I LOVED the sisters, and overall really felt a "click" with the community, I just was really turned of by this Vocation Director, and with no better way to put it, I was basically stressed out.

I have not had any contact with the community since then, however, I costantly find myself thinking about them. I visited another community this summer, and although I really enjoyed the sisters, I found myself constantly comparing them to the community that I mentioned above. I am begining to wonder if this is the Lord's way of saying, "don't be afraid, just go". But at teh same time, **I'm afraid **that I'll get out there and go "Holy Moly... I made a mistake!" Does that make sense?

*I feel like I can no longer really continue my descernment on the outside, if you will, and at this point I need to really get serious about entering a community. *

[/quote]

I think you already have the answer to your question. From what I can see in what you have written the only things stopping you are: a problem with one of the sisters, and your own fears.
The Sisters are human beings with human failings, vocation directors included.
Jesus keeps telling us not to be afraid, so I wouldn't imagine the fears holding you back are from God. (Not including fears of offending Him of course.)


#5

There are some great vocations directors and there are also some poor ones. I would say that of all of the spiritrual/vocation directors I've met in my life so far, maybe 20% would fall into the poor category. Don't let this turn you off though.
We are all sinners, even those with vocations or those ordained. I don't know if the order you are thinking of is cloistered or active, but remember in a cloistered community (or to a lesser extent in an active community) you are surrounded daily by the same people. Religious can become very annoyed with each other.

Thomas Merton once wrote that after or just before he took his solemn vows he became very annoyed with the slurping sounds one of his brother monks made during lunch every day. He eventually gladly took in the sounds as a form of penance here on Earth.
Remember, you come to the order for the betterment of your soul, to be with God, and to praise and to more fully love God. It is not you who chooses which order, location, et cetera but God. Although there are many things to consider when discerning your vocation, the holiness (or lack there of) of each member in the order should not be the main the deciding factor. I can promise you that in every abbey there are monks or nuns who are less worthy of the Father's love and mercy than some of their visitors. Yet you should remember that your brothers and sisters in the religious life are there to better themselves (and to better others as well) and, more importantly, to come to love Christ. For that mere fact you should love them too, whatever their faults may be.
Pray for Our Lady's help whether it be through the rosary or just a simple Salve Regina, pray to Our Lord whenever he is exposed in all of His glory in the montrous, perform lectio divino as often as you can, and speak to someone more experience than you are in these matters, whether it be your estranged vocations director or even your local priest. Please pray for all the souls who are discerning a vocation to the religious life.
Also, I would suggest that sometime in your the future, whether it be after you have discerned your vocation or if you are still in the process, you should contact your original vocation director. Do not criticize, but just tell her what your future plans are.


#6

As a VD myself, I can say that sometimes we feel that those in discernment need a bit of a nudge sometimes! We have had women in "discernment" for up to ten years. Although there is no formal time limit, none of the sisters in my community who have perservered spent longer than a year in discernment. Does it really take that long? Keep in mind that discernment continues - both for you and for the community - for several years while you are in formation. You can't know for sure unless you begin. As other posters have said, spend time in prayer - Adoration, lectio divina, daily mass - and make good confessions. Then, listen. God is speaking to you. As our dear Servant of God John Paul II said, "Don't be afraid! Cast out into the deep."


#7

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