From discerning religious to being called to marriage?

Has anyone ever felt originally called to a religious vocation, only to end up realizing that you are called to a marriage vocation?

I am just still a little confused on my vocation. At first, I felt as if I was perhaps called to a religious life because I did have attractions and desires for it. But now, it just seems like the closer I’m approaching a religious life(as in, taking the steps to becoming one: growing a prayerful life as well as growing spiritually and faithfully, visiting a convent, going on a discernment retreat with that particular convent)…the more my heart is drifting further away from it. I suddenly feel more called to a marriage vocation now.
It’s not that I am fearing the religious life-I actually am not as fearful anymore, or at all. However, I just never get this “home” feeling that I’ve been hearing about when I am at the convent. Being around the sisters at the community, yes…I do see so much joy in them, and I wished I could feel the same joy…but I see myself being more joyful…say, with my own little family. There are even times when I don’t feel as if I belong much and feel rather uncomfortable/uneasy in a weird way. Perhaps I’m not trying hard enough to open my heart to God’s will? I do pray to God that He gives me stronger feelings and desires for the religious life, if I am called to it, but I do not feel anything. I am naturally a joyful person-it surely is a blessing from God-and I know that I will be joyful in whatever path I take. But a part of me feels that I’ll be more joyful dedicating my life to my own family, even though I always had desires to serve God’s people.

I would just love to hear your discernment stories! They will be very much appreciated :slight_smile:

I too considered the religious life, and lived in a convent for several months. I think perhaps we need to investigate to know what we are called to. Being willing to investigate, to follow God’s will is always the formation we need for the next stage of our life. My desire to serve God, and willingness to become a religious, was the perfect preparation to life long marriage. Both require enduring love and a forever commitment. I spent two years not dating at all, but just working on my personal Holiness. It was then that I realized I would be happier single, than to marry the wrong man. I looked for a man that would bring me closer to God. A person that would bring out the best in me. I met him at our Church Bible study. We had a Godly courtship, and often met for daily Mass. We have been married for 27 years. He is a constant blessing in my life. We have been through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful together. Because of our faith he is still my best friend. With out God’s teaching, and influence in my life, I would have turned into an angry, bitter, *itch, and driven him away. God helps us get through the “impossible” with grace. God constantly brings healing to our lives, and sets our joy free. :slight_smile:

Regina Love,
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I truly admire your openness to God’s will. I do have a question, though. Did you start courting your husband when you realized you were perhaps called to a marriage life? Or did you realized that you were called to a marriage life after meeting him?

Here’s my story Sunflower:

I was a single mother for a long time (15 years) then I finally met a good Catholic man and was planning on getting married. We had some problems and then somehow, through communication with an online friend of mine who is a priest, I got the idea that I had a vocation to be a nun. I broke it off with my fiance and began to pray A LOT and go to Mass as much as possible and start cutting unnecessary distractions out of my life, like fiction novels, tv, and movies.

I went through this for almost a year. I looked up orders that take older vocations, but none would even consider me until my children were out of the house. Meanwhile, my fiance new of my calling and still was being my friend from afar via phone and email.
I went on a silent discernment retreat and realized that I could be holy and be married as well, although my online priest friend didn’t think so.

He thought I would be throwing my true vocation away for marriage. I talked to my parish priest and told him the entire story. He said no one tells you you have a vocation, you just know it. So I knew that I was able to marry my friend who stuck with me through my discernment process and everything.

So I am married now and my husband and I still strive to do God’s will in our lives at all times.

I think you will just know, like my parish priest said. I don’t know if this helps at all, but I feel it needed to be said.

God bless,
~Rae

I, too, have been in this situation. From the time I was about 10 until I was 16, I thought I was called to religious life. I had an entire life plan set up for myself that involved getting a university degree and entering the Missionaries of Charity. But it appears God had other plans.

When I was 16, my grandfather was diagnosed with and died of terminal cancer, and my father was diagnosed with cancer. Because my grandfather died at home, I was able to observe the care provided to him by the home care nurse and by my family members. I began to realize that I could do that for someone else. Consequently, I realized that God was calling me to become a nurse in order to care for His people :slight_smile:

When I finished my degree, I had some online interactions with men, but nothing really serious. I began to believe I might be called to single life - but something still seemed missing. 3 years ago I met a wonderful man who was going through a divorce with his wife. God had told him that His will was for this man to remarry, that his original marriage was never valid. (A marriage tribunal subsequently confirmed this.) Soon after meeting, we discerned that we were called to marriage. We married civilly 20 months ago on the advice of our parish priest (who was familiar with my husband’s marital problems and knew an annulment was likely) and sacramentally married two months ago. Since our sacramental marriage, especially, I have so much joy in my heart! I know this is what I was called to do, and I know that I have truly married my soul mate - the man for whom I was created as a helpmeet. He has an 8-year-old daughter by his ex and she considers me a second mother. Wonderful!

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