Not long after I became I Catholic, I heard about Secular Orders. My first thought was, “I can do that?!” I didn’t know such an option for married lay people even existed. Over the years, that desire has never left. At one point in time, I did the first year with the SFO. When it came time for the second year, I couldn’t find a sponsor whose schedule matched mine and who didn’t live on the other side of town (the other side of town being 40-ish miles away.) Then my husband lost his job, gas prices spiked, and even making the monthly meetings became impossible. In short, I wasn’t called to be a Franciscan. I also always felt like I was a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. It just wasn’t right. That was several years ago
This past summer, I discovered the Lay Dominicans. I researched them. I felt it would be a good fit, because before becoming a Catholic, I wanted to be an AofG pastor. I read constantly, study diligently, teach some classes occasionally, in short, I was already doing much of what the Dominicans are all about. I even find reading the Summa fun. (Okay, I’m weird.)
This Thanksgiving I got a spiritual director. She’s a Secular Carmelite. The last time we met, we started talking about Secular Carmelites. Partly because I have always been drawn to the Carmelite Saints. I had read Dark Night of the Soul before I even started RCIA, and by the time I came into the Church I had added Interior Castles and Story of a Soul to that list. I also attend daily Mass, go to the Adoration Chapel whenever I can spare even ten minutes before going to work, and I have had…experiences that while common in the Assemblies of God, don’t seem to be quite so common in the average Catholic Church, including God literally telling me to “go be Catholic” when I was looking for a job as a pastor.
The point is, both orders seem to fit parts of me. How do I discern which is the better fit? I have already submitted my application to the Dominicans for reception once my year of inquiry is over, and I don’t want to be an order-hopper, but I honestly don’t know which is the best fit for me.
Any input would be most appreciated.