If the foundress of an apostolate/religious order rubs you the wrong way, but you love everything else about the order/community, would it be foolish to consider joining them?


I’m thinking that I probably have a vocation to some sort of celibate life of service to God, so I want to go visit a few convents and a lay apostolate soon. I’ve actually already booked my visit to the lay apostolate. I became involved with them through one of their missions in my city, and I just can’t get enough of volunteering there, which is part of the reason I’m going to visit their main house later this summer. But I don’t really like the foundress. I don’t really know why. There isn’t anything about her that I can pinpoint and say, for this specific reason, I don’t like her. And she’s been dead for a while so it’s not like I’ve even met her. But the community is great and the staff I’ve met at the mission are the most God fearing people I’ve met. They’re just amazing Christians and so full of joy, so I don’t allow myself to think of the whole apostolate with this dislike. But all the staff seem to have a certain devotion to the foundress, and she is possibly going to be canonized as a saint.

So, would it be really stupid to even consider joining a community where the foundress just kind of annoys you? I just love and really relate to their spirituality and charism, but the foundress. Her written works and what I’ve read about her, I dunno she just rubs me the wrong way. But I love everything else about this place. And I’m afraid to tell you guys what apostolate it is I’m talking about because I don’t want anyone to get the idea that this foundress is a bad Christian or not good for some reason, because I could be way off base or being deceived or something. I really don’t know.


I would give it some time. Don’t jump to conclusions as to which order to join. Pray about it and visit a bunch of different orders. Someone who rubs you the wrong way today could be someone you’re fond of tomorrow.


No, it would not be foolish to consider joining them. On the contrary, it may be foolish to dismiss them without really understanding why. This might be a very good community for you, if you can resolve this one issue.

take the bull by the horns: to confront a problem head-on and deal with it openly

I suggest you ask about the foundress when you visit. Ask about the times she lived in, the culture (or cultures) in which she was brought up, the challenges she faced at various points in her life. How did all those experiences influence her character? I made up these questions without even knowing who I am talking about. You could develop or expand the questions since you know more specific details. Learn as much as you can about her life, and you might find out why the foundress is so highly regarded in that community.

When speaking with members of that community, it would be best not to describe the problem as “rubs me the wrong way” or “annoys me.” Those phrases seems to say “the problem is with her,” but it is possible, I would even say likely, that the problem is really with your perceptions and your understanding of the foundress. The circumstances of her life were so very different from your own, it may be difficult at first to understand her. So, starting right now, let’s try to look at it the other way around. Learn more about her life story, try to get the details of her story, and see if that helps to develop understanding and dispel the uneasiness you have felt.

If you do all that and you still don’t get her, here is the next thing to try. You could say, for example, “You have told me so much about Mrs.____, and I have read about her, and read her writings, but I am still having a hard time relating to her. What is it about her that connects with you?”

May the Holy Spirit bless you and assist you in discerning and following your vocation.


Hum, I can understand that.Sometimes you do meet people,living ones who for whatever reason you just can’t stand. Too bad you didn’t mention the foundress’s name .I might look her up. Do you know when their community was founded? The time period in which she lived and people’s attitudes were different then.


Yes, I know the history of the community and have read this woman’s autobiography and some other writings. She is from another country, another culture. I don’t really want to share who they are because I don’t want to badmouth them or say anything negative about the founder. Their/her identity don’t really matter to the answer to this question anyways.


I would ask some people in the Congregation about this person.

Many times we start something for one reason and continue it for many reasons.

Godbless :thumbsup: :signofcross:


If the foundress is still alive and visits the congregation regularly, you might have an issue and it could be unwise to take those big steps. If the foundress has been dead for many years, then you could be ok. It is important for you to ask why does this person rub you the wrong way? There are deep questions to the issues you face that you must ask yourself and bring it to God as well. They should also be discussed in spiritual direction as well because they could also be related to other subjects.

Only you knows what this congregation’s charisms are and if you can live with the person’s teachings. It can’t hurt to look at other congregations as well because there are many and who knows, you might find one that is similar to this one. I know a nun who entered the religious in one order and then left it for another that had similar and yet different charisms. She has been happy with them.


Since you seem to like the community, don’t stop being invovled as a volunteer.
I was curious who the foundress was, because maybe I had heard of her and try to get a book of her writings and read them.Then one might be better able to understand her movtives and ideas. Look, St.Augustine is very famous for his various writings.Some people agree with him,and others don’t,but just because they might not agree with him,doesn’t mean they don’t respect the saint.

If this woman’s personality and writings bother you so much,then maybe you should step back and look at another community to join.Don’t forget, if you enter their community you will be living by the rules and constitutions she wrote,and you will have to study her writings etc. Maybe step back for awhile and think things over before joining.I hardly think you would be bad mouthing the sisters if you named her.

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