There is quite a bit of background information, so bear with me:
I started actively practicing my Catholic faith three years ago while a freshman in college. I received the sacraments growing up, but my family was non-practicing. I went to CCD, but we never attended Mass, despite living next to a church. My mom is non-practicing Catholic, and my dad was brought up Protestant, but isn’t religious anymore. My parents didn’t have a problem with my new found faith at first, but as it blossomed they grew more hostile. They accused me of being a fanatic because I started going to weekly confession and because my mom found me reading a book on the life of Padre Pio. Early on, my mom expressed her “fear” that I would become a priest. Over the past three years my parents have become more accepting of my faith, and because of my example and encouragement, my mom recently started attending Mass. However, she still expresses her fear that I will become a priest. At Mass two weeks ago, a seminarian came and spoke about his vocation and my mom turned to me and said, “Don’t get any ideas.” What I didn’t tell her is that I have already been discerning for 6 months and am fairly certain that God IS calling me to be a priest. I’ve prayed, read books, and talked to my spiritual director and all have affirmed this. I am currently in law school, which my parents are generously paying for, and I am afraid to tell them that I am giving it all up to pursue something that they disapprove of. How do I tell my parents? When should I tell them and where should I start?
Sounds like me, exactly like me. Except for my mom didn’t return to Church. What you do is pray about it before telling her. Keep praying. Then when you get the courage tell her. I had a lot of anxiety about telling my mom 3 years ago as a Sophomore in High School.
She may be bitter for a long time. But make sure you stand your solid ground. If you are not of age yet, keep praying till you are. When you turn 18, if not already above that, it is your choice. She will eventually be at peace with it, if you keep your trust in God.
Is there any reason not to finish law school before you take up your vocation? Just curious.
I have no advice to give, but I can share a rule that I have for myself. If something is difficult for me to talk about with someone whom I care about, then I make a point of talking about it soon with them to get it done. My experience with my self imposed rule is that if keeps me in integrity, and that the “talk” is never as bad as I have made it in my own mind. Usually, it is a good experience, and I always feel that it is the right thing to do. Another thing I know for myself, is that I should never underestimate my parents. They surprise me regularly. They have plenty of life experience.
I don’t really have any advice on when or how to tell them. I don’t even remember when my 17 year old daughter told us she wanted to become a nun 4 years ago.
All I remember is that I cried. Not because she wanted to be a nun, but because I knew I would miss her so terribly. I was a non-practicing Methodist and my wife was a practicing Catholic.
I also remember wondering what her calling was like - did she have a vision? Did she hear a voice? No - of course not. I wondered if I should join the church to be closer to her. But then how could I profess things to be true that I didn’t believe. So i did nothing. Whenever I did go to Mass with my wife (a couple times a year), my only prayer was, “God - If you exist, help me to believe.”
Well a couple years later, I did finally belive and I joined the church - thanks to my family’s prayers.
So I wouldn’t worry too much about the “when & how”. Jut trust in God and pray. And remember, things happen in God’s time - not ours.
By the way, visiting weekend at the convent is only a little over a week away, and I will get to spend 12 wonderful hours with my daughter and all of my new adopted daughters at the convent.
My situation is almost identical except I am discerning to be a nun, not a priest of course, since I’m female… and my family is not Catholic. I wish I knew what advise to give. I can understand this is very stressful to go through. I think eventually you’d have to tell your parents. Maybe at first they would be really against it, but in time they would be more accepting… this has happened in cases. But try to follow Christ first, and your vocation. Keep peace within your family, and never debate this with them, but pray much and tell them in the right way… (as for what the right way is, I myself am not totally sure of this at the moment). Pray and speak to a priest.
Hello. I am discerning a vocation to the Religious Life as well, and I feel for you, as it is dreadfully painful to talk about it to my family. They are good practicing Catholics, but it was very hard at first. My brother wouldn’t believe me since it was so dreadful a fate. In fact, when I told him, he said, and I quote, “When you told me that I had a very bad feeling in my stomach.” My father was shocked, to say the least, my sister was okay but didn’t really care, and my mother was okay with it, but only because she thought it was a little phase. Now, a few years later, she realized I’m completely serious and it’s not a phase, since all of my other phases lasted a week or a month at the most. My mother is better about it, but she’s not completely okay with it. She’s a bit overly dramatic, and she thinks that she’s only going to get grandchildren from my sister, whom she firmly believes is going to move far, far away, even though she’s told me that she’s not. She believes my brother will never get married, even though he’s told me that he plans on it, and now that I’ve abandoned her dreams, basically, I’ve ruined her entire future. However, it’s gotten better with everyone else. My dad is okay with it, my brother doesn’t really care, and my sister is simply sick of me jumping back and forth on which order I should join. Right now the dream is to be a Dominican Priest, just to keep you updated on the daily report.
But anyway, my best advice is to talk to a Priest about it. Who knows, maybe he’ll have had the same experience and he’ll be able to tell you how he dealt with it? As long as his answer is “I ran away from home because they threatened to shoot me.” his advice will be pretty good.