I have no desire to get married, what to do?


#1

I'm a twenty year old woman and I'm coming into the Catholic church from the Anglican Church. I'll be baptized this Easter.
Over the last couple of years I've grown closer to God and his love is enough for me, I have no desire for marriage or children. I find loving Jesus and everyone I meet is enough for me, it makes me so happy. In the Anglican church, it is expected of women to just get married and have kids because they preached that that's all God wants us to do.
I'm studying social work and would love to spend my life helping others (like the poor or homeless)
How would Catholics see this issue? I don't know if I would want to become a nun because I want to be out there in the world helping people not hidden away. Is it okay for me to think like this or is it wrong? what should I do?


#2

Hi Gemma,

I'm sure others more knowledgeable will be along shortly, but for now, I wanted to mention that there **are **communities of sisters who are out in the world helping others. :) Those orders are generally known as "active" orders.

I found this link which has some info that might be of help (scroll down to the section on Active Orders):

religious-vocation.com/differences_religious_orders.html

I wish you the best as you pray to find your vocation in life, wherever God may lead you :)


#3

This link may help:
diocesecc.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=328

"Single people do great good in the Church. Since they are not bound to the commitments of a religious community, they have the flexibility to do all kinds of work in order to proclaim the Gospel. Since they do not have a family of their own to provide for, they can give their time to help care for other families which need their support. Single people also have more time available for study and prayer, so they can be great mentors and teachers to support people spiritually as well.

...the single life is a vocation that is to be lived out in the midst of the world. The vocation of single Catholics is to represent Christ wherever they are and whatever they do, whether they are business people, teachers, writers, politicians, doctors, computer programmers, sales people, investors, lawyers, musicians, truck drivers, or lay missionaries. By the constant witness of a holy life, these people are lights shining out in the world, pointing out the way to God."


#4

Not all nuns “hide away”. As a previous poster mentioned, there are “active” orders of nuns which do go around and help the poor, teach in schools, provide council, etc.

Also, you don’t even need to do that if you do not feel the desire. You can remain a single chaste lay individual and help out in ministries for the poor. There’s a whole lot you can do!


#5

There are a wide range of options for you in this calling.
as several others have commented there are Lay-Religious communities (Third Order) convents of lay sisters who work actively and tirelessly in the community in various different roles...
Finding the right one for you is a challenge even if this is your calling... but the realm of social work is one where a wide range of orders and communities specialise.

within the Fransiscans I can think of
The Poor Claire's: they are an enclosed order... traditional and strict, but have specific outreach roles.
The Sisters of St. Claire: They are a "Third Order" who specialise in social work. My Aunt was a member for 20 years, but left due to personal circumstances.

more reciently: The CFR / CSR (Cappuchin Friars of the Renwal / Cappuchin Sisters of the Renewal) are a Charismatic, habit wearing order, with roots in the deepest fransican traditions, but are very active, and their houses are only ever in the most deprived areas. - if an area grows socially and ceases to be deprived they move on.

If you would prefere something that is not being in a traditional residential order there are other options:
there are a number of Lay Ecclisial Communities, like the L'Arche community who do this type of work,

There is also the Opus Dei. Numinary Members of the Opus Dei take a vow of Celibacy, but their membership of the orginaisation is normally a secret! (except where they live in a community house, or are a public face of the organisation).
that organisation is focused on helping it's members to be the best christians they can be, and making whatever job they have be a job for the service and Glory of God. They are actively evangelical aiming to draw people to The Church, and also to let people know what the Opus Dei is and what it can offer.


#6

[quote="_Gemma, post:1, topic:300051"]
I'm a twenty year old woman and I'm coming into the Catholic church from the Anglican Church. I'll be baptized this Easter.
Over the last couple of years I've grown closer to God and his love is enough for me, I have no desire for marriage or children. I find loving Jesus and everyone I meet is enough for me, it makes me so happy. In the Anglican church, it is expected of women to just get married and have kids because they preached that that's all God wants us to do.
I'm studying social work and would love to spend my life helping others (like the poor or homeless)
How would Catholics see this issue? I don't know if I would want to become a nun because I want to be out there in the world helping people not hidden away. Is it okay for me to think like this or is it wrong? what should I do?

[/quote]

Well, you will be the only one who will know for sure, but it is very possible that God is calling you to lead a celibate life. There is neither shame nor weakness in this. In fact, such celibacy for the Kingdom is a wonderful and vibrant way to live a Christian life.

Does this mean that you necessarily have to enter a religious order? No, but it would be worthwhile to take a look at. Remember, too, that not all religious sisters are nuns; nuns are religious who are cloistered. There are many more religious women who are out there in the world helping people.

I would suggest that you pray about this in a serious way. Truly petition for God to help you see the path that He has laid at your feet. Also, do some practical research; look at what relihious communities are in your area and contact them if they seem interesting to you. If you feel (or don't feel, for that matter) a desire to be a part of a particular community, that's a clue. Also, contact your parish priest and your diocese's vocations director; they will be able to give you sound advice and direction.

God bless you.


#7

[quote="_Gemma, post:1, topic:300051"]
I'm a twenty year old woman and I'm coming into the Catholic church from the Anglican Church. I'll be baptized this Easter.
Over the last couple of years I've grown closer to God and his love is enough for me, I have no desire for marriage or children. I find loving Jesus and everyone I meet is enough for me, it makes me so happy. In the Anglican church, it is expected of women to just get married and have kids because they preached that that's all God wants us to do.
I'm studying social work and would love to spend my life helping others (like the poor or homeless)
How would Catholics see this issue? I don't know if I would want to become a nun because I want to be out there in the world helping people not hidden away. Is it okay for me to think like this or is it wrong? what should I do?

[/quote]

Stay single. Also, plenty of religious are "out there in the world helping people." Think Mother Teresa. Or you can just stay single. Maybe you'd like working for a Catholic Charities in some capacity.

Marriage is as much a vocation as anything and the world, IMO, would be far better off if only those who feel truly called to it entered the state of matrimony.


#8

Maybe you’re called to be an apsostolic sister. (They are often called nuns, but really only cloistered sisters are nuns.) Also, you could be called to be a consecrated virgin.


#9

The council of trent defined a dogma about it:
Session XXIV
Canon 10
If anyone says that the married state excels the state of virginity or celibacy, and that it is better and happier to be united in matrimony than to remain in virginity or celibacy, let him be anathema.


#10

This is a very helpful thread for me to see... so Gemma, I thank you for posting it. :)

I'm in the exact same situation you're in now, facing the same questions you're facing. The biggest struggle for me right now (as a woman in her mid to late 20s) is explaining to my mostly non-Catholic/lapsed Catholic family why I want to stay single, rather than marrying and having children. I believe marriage is a wonderful thing, and I love kids, but for many reasons I truly don't feel called to married life.

Maybe God is calling you and I to be single. I know there's a lot of work we can do for Him as single women. We can work in, love, and help our communities. With our extra free time, gifts and resources, we can give in ways that might be more difficult for married people or for parents. I don't believe there's anything at all wrong with being single, so long as we use this opportunity well, and help others with it. :)

I'll pray for you, sis. If you see this, please say an Ave for me too.


#11

I don't have any desire to marry, either. I'm 27 and have only dated once because I thought I had to, to be normal. It's not that I am completely free of romantic notions, it's just that they're so small and insignificant that they don't make much of a noise and mostly relegate themselves to fairy-tale fantasies that last about five minutes.

I feel no shame about this, it's the way I am and, I feel, the way God intended me to be. My personality isn't conducive to marriage, and besides, I have to use ABC for health reasons and I wouldn't want to have a sexless marriage, since to me, that's the only big difference between being married and being friends. (If I were to get pregnant I would likely slip back into mental darkness and end up offing myself, the child, and possibly a few other people along the way. I can say this now when I'm medicated, but when I'm off I start developing psychoses.)

I've considered becoming a nun, but right now I'm doing all I can to follow in St. Helen's footsteps and uncover the earliest relics of the Christian faith. I'm studying archaeology and eager to find the first traces of Christian belief in the world. I applaud your desire to serve others - I think we all do that in our own way, provided we have the Godly motivation.


#12

You are "write on," gemma--a-ok with the word of god! I wish more would see this. Paul was not wrong when he wrote marriage could be trouble; i would definitely not recommend it unless led into it by the lord--as for all things. Do not go against your inclination! Christ jesus wrote in matthew 19--people must do as the lord...gifts them to do! <3+theyehovah--read it!

[quote="gemma, post:1, topic:300051"]
i'm a twenty year old woman and i'm coming into the catholic church from the anglican church. I'll be baptized this easter.
Over the last couple of years i've grown closer to god and his love is enough for me, i have no desire for marriage or children. I find loving jesus and everyone i meet is enough for me, it makes me so happy. In the anglican church, it is expected of women to just get married and have kids because they preached that that's all god wants us to do.
I'm studying social work and would love to spend my life helping others (like the poor or homeless)
how would catholics see this issue? I don't know if i would want to become a nun because i want to be out there in the world helping people not hidden away. Is it okay for me to think like this or is it wrong? What should i do?

[/quote]


#13

Then don't get married. Single life is also a vocation. :thumbsup:


#14

[quote="anruari, post:5, topic:300051"]
There are a wide range of options for you in this calling.
as several others have commented there are Lay-Religious communities (Third Order) convents of lay sisters who work actively and tirelessly in the community in various different roles...
Finding the right one for you is a challenge even if this is your calling... but the realm of social work is one where a wide range of orders and communities specialise.

within the Fransiscans I can think of
The Poor Claire's: they are an enclosed order... traditional and strict, but have specific outreach roles.
The Sisters of St. Claire: They are a "Third Order" who specialise in social work. My Aunt was a member for 20 years, but left due to personal circumstances.

more reciently: The CFR / CSR (Cappuchin Friars of the Renwal / Cappuchin Sisters of the Renewal) are a Charismatic, habit wearing order, with roots in the deepest fransican traditions, but are very active, and their houses are only ever in the most deprived areas. - if an area grows socially and ceases to be deprived they move on.

If you would prefere something that is not being in a traditional residential order there are other options:
there are a number of Lay Ecclisial Communities, like the L'Arche community who do this type of work,

There is also the Opus Dei. Numinary Members of the Opus Dei take a vow of Celibacy, but their membership of the orginaisation is normally a secret! (except where they live in a community house, or are a public face of the organisation).
that organisation is focused on helping it's members to be the best christians they can be, and making whatever job they have be a job for the service and Glory of God. They are actively evangelical aiming to draw people to The Church, and also to let people know what the Opus Dei is and what it can offer.

[/quote]

Numeraries are celibate, but supernumeraries are not. Membership is not secret. You pretty much have everything else right. :)

Dave
Opus Dei Cooperator


#15

I wanted very much to be a nun and entered monastic life pre V2 and then again many years after The Council. Finally, I had to conclude that I simply did not have a vocation to monastic life. I left monastic life both times through personal choice to do so. I had no attraction whatsoever to an active order nor to marriage. The eremitical life (hermit) and Consecration to Virginity back then was not in favour in my diocese anyway, not that I was really attracted. I had no attraction to third orders or any other organization within The Church, despite trying to rouse up some sort of attraction for something or other organized and I made many enquiries, did much research and praying. For a long time, I felt completely at loss and used to say to myself that I keep knocking on the Employment Office Door of Heaven, but no one answers!:)
Finally, I made private vows to the evangelical counsels (after a priest who knew me well and directing me affirmed that there was indeed such a thing as private vows to the evangelical counsels. I had not known that there was and asked him quite hesitatingly!). My vows are now of some 30 years or so standing and with joy, happiness and fulfillment - with the usual life challenges etc. here and there just for some colour. My overall journey at times has had major challenges however as probably most all lives do. I live quite happily alone and am involved in works of Mercy in the Church part time. However, I would strongly advise anyone considering their vocation in life (or undecided about it) to seek a good spiritual director.
Spititual Direction is needed certainly if private vows are embraced and to do so only after sound spiritual direction, and to maintain personal face to face contact with a good spiritual director for the life of the private vows for sure - my private vows are now for life with spiritual direction face to face on a regular basis. The very intrinsic nature of private vows, to my mind I have concluded, is that it is a truly quite hidden way of life in the laity in the midst of the general community and in The Church.
The reason I finally spoke about my own vocation on Catholic discussion sites on the internet is that there seems to be growing interest in it including whether it could actually be a call and vocation from God in the first place. It is and one is quite conscious of it as a call from God to a specific way of living, although it is probably rather rare.
One certainly could be called to live the single life without any vows. Again, I would not do this without spiritual direction. There is the single life that is a call and vocation - and the single life or state that is transitory pre a call to some other vocation. The single lay state with or without private vows is a call to the celibate state - for the sake of The Kingdom. A radical commitment to The Gospel.
Certainly, private vows to the evangelical counsels in the laity and the single life or state are all states in life that of their very nature remain open to a further call from God to another vocation.


#16

[quote="_Gemma, post:1, topic:300051"]
I'm a twenty year old woman and I'm coming into the Catholic church from the Anglican Church. I'll be baptized this Easter.
Over the last couple of years I've grown closer to God and his love is enough for me, I have no desire for marriage or children. I find loving Jesus and everyone I meet is enough for me, it makes me so happy. In the Anglican church, it is expected of women to just get married and have kids because they preached that that's all God wants us to do.
I'm studying social work and would love to spend my life helping others (like the poor or homeless)
How would Catholics see this issue? I don't know if I would want to become a nun because I want to be out there in the world helping people not hidden away. Is it okay for me to think like this or is it wrong? what should I do?

[/quote]

Congratulations and many blessings on you rcoming Baptism!
This is where you are at at this point in time, Gemma, in the single celibate state committed to The Gospel through study and a desire to spend your life helping the very marginalized poor and homeless for example. - you may or may not receive a further call from God to another vocation. Stay open to this potential. Religious sisters in active Order are certain very often right out in the world helping people in some way. Some today are not living in traditional images of convents per se but some alone, some in pairs others in very small groups in ordinary housing. Some wear a traditional, often modified, religious habit, some wear secular clothing. Some even wear both. Certainly, do some research about all this and pray about God's Call and Vocation for your life.
You are still qutie young at 20yrs of age as entrance into a religious order (or even marriage) goes - something of a journey ahead of you as yet. And nothing proves to be more consistent in life, in our journeys, than change.

Re what I said in the previous post about spiritual direction. If you dont know how to go about finding one, speak to your parish priest. Another avenue, is to ring your diocesan offices and ask them how to go about finding a spiritual director. Dont be concerned possibly about not knowing what to say in spiritual direction, most dont. When you find a spiritual director, tell them that you are new to direction and dont know quite what to say. Then the director will take the lead for you.


#17

[quote="TiggerS, post:16, topic:300051"]
Congratulations and many blessings on you rcoming Baptism!
This is where you are at at this point in time, Gemma, in the single celibate state committed to The Gospel through study and a desire to spend your life helping the very marginalized poor and homeless for example. - you may or may not receive a further call from God to another vocation. Stay open to this potential. Religious sisters in active Order are certain very often right out in the world helping people in some way. Some today are not living in traditional images of convents per se but some alone, some in pairs others in very small groups in ordinary housing. Some wear a traditional, often modified, religious habit, some wear secular clothing. Some even wear both. Certainly, do some research about all this and pray about God's Call and Vocation for your life.
You are still qutie young at 20yrs of age as entrance into a religious order (or even marriage) goes - something of a journey ahead of you as yet. And nothing proves to be more consistent in life, in our journeys, than change.

Re what I said in the previous post about spiritual direction. If you dont know how to go about finding one, speak to your parish priest. Another avenue, is to ring your diocesan offices and ask them how to go about finding a spiritual director. Dont be concerned possibly about not knowing what to say in spiritual direction, most dont. When you find a spiritual director, tell them that you are new to direction and dont know quite what to say. Then the director will take the lead for you.

[/quote]

I think a spiritual director is the way to go, I know God wants me to do something so I'll look at getting a director after my baptism this Easter.


#18

Also, how do I go about letting men know that I’m not seeking a relationship? It’s hard for me to interact with men because quite often men my age will be attracted to me and that makes me feel uncomfortable and then I feel as though I can’t be friends with them.
Any advice?


#19

I was probably in my early thirties when this journey began and for a while how to deal with approaches was a problem, especially since at times I did go at times to venues where women may have been seeking company. What I eventually settled on was to wear a plain silver ring on my wedding finger and if anyone asked, I simply replied that I am already committed, which I was and still am. I regard this ring, which I still wear, as my commitment ring.
My commitment ring was an evoluation and a journey, and at times a very funny one as I tried to find a way I could be anywhere, inconspicuous and committed.
As I think Trishie may have pointed out, one of the valuable aspects of the single celibate state is one is quite free to go most anywhere and at any time in the general society and represent The Gospel in whatever venue one happens to find oneself. What I did discover that everywhere I did find myself, there was some real reason for me to be there. Nowadays I live a more ‘cloistered’ type of life due to my age : 67 yrs, more a prayerful and penitential type of lifestyle - and this has been due simply to the circumstances and residential suburb in which I now find myself - and that with my mature years comes some physical impairment and just a general slowing down.
Whatever vocation to which one is called, if one takes up the invitation trusting the Lord for all necessary Graces and details - all this unfolds it is my experience … absolutely! I had no idea whatsoever the journey I was to undergo with this vocation …and it has been colourful and exciting probably in the extreme. It has also been totally rewarding and fulfilling - now a journey of Peace and Joy, happiness.


#20

[quote="TiggerS, post:19, topic:300051"]
I was probably in my early thirties when this journey began and for a while how to deal with approaches was a problem, especially since at times I did go at times to venues where women may have been seeking company. What I eventually settled on was to wear a plain silver ring on my wedding finger and if anyone asked, I simply replied that I am already committed, which I was and still am. I regard this ring, which I still wear, as my commitment ring.
My commitment ring was an evoluation and a journey, and at times a very funny one as I tried to find a way I could be anywhere, inconspicuous and committed.
As I think Trishie may have pointed out, one of the valuable aspects of the single celibate state is one is quite free to go most anywhere and at any time in the general society and represent The Gospel in whatever venue one happens to find oneself. What I did discover that everywhere I did find myself, there was some real reason for me to be there. Nowadays I live a more 'cloistered' type of life due to my age : 67 yrs, more a prayerful and penitential type of lifestyle - and this has been due simply to the circumstances and residential suburb in which I now find myself - and that with my mature years comes some physical impairment and just a general slowing down.
Whatever vocation to which one is called, if one takes up the invitation trusting the Lord for all necessary Graces and details - all this unfolds it is my experience .......... absolutely! I had no idea whatsoever the journey I was to undergo with this vocation .........and it has been colourful and exciting probably in the extreme. It has also been totally rewarding and fulfilling - now a journey of Peace and Joy, happiness.

[/quote]

Thank you for the reply, I was thinking about wearing a ring so now I think I will, thank you.


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