I'm thinking of joining a contemplative order, but would I be accepted?

First of all, I am in a job I hate where I teach kids. Everyday I come home tired and defeated and feel like a completely disrespected loser who just can’t seem to relate to my students and am even finding it hard to relate to anyone. It’s also affecting my faith life because even though i’m at a Catholic school, most of the kids don’t go to mass and are only their because their parents are alums and don’t want to send their kids to the “terrible public schools.” I feel like anymore all I can do is pray rather than try to teach them anything (I teach Theology and Social studies)

Anyway, sometimes I just want to give everything up and just go be a monk and be with God rather than being in the world where things are so tough. Now I would hate being cooped up in a monastery, but any more I’d rather be closer to God and pray rather than fight an uphill battle of trying to live a Godly life in the outside world.

I feel like i’d do more good praying that the world changes rather than trying to do so myself or with others. Also I feel so wrapped up in my possessions and I wish I could just give everything up and follow God and own nothing, not even my own soul since that would belong to God.

The problem is, I know that I can’t just join a religious order just to escape the outside world. I don’t want to run away from the world but at the same time I don’t see what’s wrong with that. I want to hide in God and be in a place where I can be spiritually healthy and focus on myself and God while praying for others rather than trying to get them to do something they don’t care about or be respectful.

I also am sure that I probably have minor depression and I’ve heard most if not all religious orders won’t accept the mentally ill. So what should I do. I wish I could just be closer to God and not have to worry about anything else and simply pray that the world comes to know christ since it feels like that might be the only thing that works,though even now i am skeptical of that

The religious life is not an escape from the world, and those who use it as such will quickly find themselves wanting out or very unhappy. It is not a place of sunshine and lollipops.

It sounds to me that you could be suffering from burn out. I would start with taking a vacation away from all the hustle and bustle where you cannot be contacted. Depending on your employee benefits, you may even be able to take a medical leave of absence. Ie stress leave. Re-evaluate the situation and maybe it’s time for a different job.

Thanks Deo

Unfortunately, being a teacher I can’t just go and take a vacation even for my mental health. Also finding another job is difficult because I don’t know what, if anything else i’m qualified for . Sadly most people in other jobs teachers cant do anything but teach. I know I want something different but maybe I should just stick it out and learn to keep it inside and just act like its all okay.

Well, don’t make the mistake of believing that your life will be problem free just because you join a Monastery. You will be sadly disappointed.

Living with others is no simple task. You could land up with a fellow Monk who sits next to you everyday that has odd nervous habits that annoy you, another who always wants to gossip, one that is struggling with chastity all the time, one with a lousy temper. In other words, welcome to everyday life. It does not go away because you shut yourself up in a Monastery.

You may be called to some other work, but don’t expect any other position to solve all your problems or concerns. Regardless of the path you take there will be regular disappointments, annoyances, trials and suffering. That is the reality of life, that I think most of us have trouble with. Rather than looking at your current situation as a failure because it is going different than you expected, why not try to change it in your particular classroom.

Do things to encourage the children to get excited about their Faith and Learning. Look at the challenges as things to deal with and overcome, not as something to run from. Because in reality there is no place that is perfect to run too.

I agree with the other Poster about taking a break. You could go on a weekend retreat?

People these days say that going into a religious order is not an escape but to me this sounds as if it is an excuse for religious orders to not have to bother taking new novitiates. To a degree one is escaping the world which is what saints did when they became hermits. However, it is not the only reason. The main reason must be because you feel in your heart that a more direct service to God is necessary for you to love and live your life out with joy with a sense of fulfilment and that this might be the way for you to properly worship, with your life, the Lord our God.

I think you could do with investigating. Some people who think they might have a vocation might well have a vocation. It is said that there are many more people meant to be religious than what there are and this is because, it is made too hard for people to join, and also because of the lack of quiet involved in our experience and sense of space and time, making it hard to discern.

Find some quiet. Visit a monastery or priory and spend some time in the quiet. See where God might be leading you.

Don’t worry about being too introspective in the way of adding up defects. People have them. And it is a modern concept to stick a label on every depressive thought. It is hard to remain positive in an increasingly relativist Western culture - maybe you are just being honest and realistic! Don’t let people label you, go out there and find what God wants for you. He is the Doctor of life.

Trust me, being a monk isn’t all green grass, flowers, and butterflies. I was a monk myself for some time, and it’s a lot more difficult than people can imagine. I’ve seen a number of people come to the monastery to the live the life, but only last a few days, or even 1 day, before they wanted to go home already, since they found out right away that it wasn’t what they thought it was supposed to be like.


Over my years of teaching I had times where I felt as you do and it wasn’t fun. However, there are many ways to get back that joy that comes from being around kids and helping them learn, you need to reach out and ask for help to make that happen. The principal at your school would be where I start, in theory they should be able to help every teacher master their classroom and hopefully they understand burnout. You have days off and personal time and perhaps you could schedule a retreat that might reinvigorate your professionally and spiritually. I will pray for you.

You don’t have a contemplative vocation. You have a desire to escape.

May I recommend that you get involved with some of the charitable activities at your parish?

Feeding some homeless people might do your spirit a world of good and help you to remember that the gospel is about more than trying to teach a bunch of teachers who don’t really care.

Heck, you might get them involved, and then maybe they would!

May I ask how long you have been teaching? I’ve heard that the first few years can be the worst. Perhaps that is part of it.

With all due respect to you, how do you he doesn’t? Does God not do the seemingly impossible? How does he know if he doesn’t try contemplating? The poster’s worries may well be a reaction to the difficult work he is involved in but there may also be something else deeper going on! I don’t see how you can claim absolutes at this stage? :shrug::slight_smile:

Charity sounds better, but for my parish the only thing we do is a big trip to Haiti but unfortunately it is too expensive for a Catholic school teacher. What i’d love to do for a job is work for a Charity type organization (preferably Catholic though my diocese doesn’t have a Catholic Charities type organization since we are a really small diocese) and actually it is not the religion that is bad too teach but its more the social studies classes. I feel like these kids just don’t have any respect bones in their body, and it’s not like i’m in the projects, I’m in the Great Plains in a place where most kids have two parent families have good lives but still act like brats (sorry if this offends anyone but its true. I don’t want to blame parents fully just as its wrong to blame teachers fully, but sadly I think a lot of parents feel that they are good parents just because they make a good amount of money and don’t yell at them, which is junk because just because you provide for your kids physical needs, it doesn’t make you a good parent. Kids need discipline, not just a new iPhone for no reason)

But yes an escape is needed

Ah!.. :smiley:

…maybe, you need to find out what escape means, for you: :takeoff: …

Explore the Third Orders. You can live ascetically very easily with a job. You may find the answer in the stillness of your own home. There is a way.

You seem to have a searching heart now, that’s good. You should see all that is happening as a gift, a call, an opportunity. Do not grow weary, God’s love is near to your heart.

Oh, and those children in your class? In forty years several may be trying to find you. They will want to thank you for your faithfulness and the seeds that led them to a full life in Christ.

Sense the mystical in every part of your life. Always move toward the sacred.

So is it safe to say that this is not just burn-out, but a realization that this teaching gig is just not for you? Or do you feel like if you left the teaching that you would be somehow short-changing yourself to just escape this hardship?

Have you thought about going to a come-and-see weekend or a retreat in a religious community - whether monastic or active?

taking those initial steps is probably what you need to see if that is the life that you are being called to do. Many active communities like the Franciscans, Dominicans, etc. have a good balance of prayer life and active ministry like teaching.

Take you time to discern, pray and spend a lot of time in adoration to find out what God is asking of you (it’s about His needs not yours).

My only problem is that i’d feel like i was throwing away my future if I quit teaching, but at the same time I don’t like it. I like sharing info but I hate discipline and having to be hard on high school kids who should know how to act like people rather than a bunch of jerks. Sadly I feel like today’s young people just don’t know how to respect adults and see themselves as kind of mini adults who don’t need parents and can do whatever they want.

Now I know if I were to get into social work it would be simiar but at least there its people who want and need help. What can I do as a teacher about a kid who looks at porn on his phone in class and makes sexually lewd graffiti. Sure I can tell him to stop but he’ll just do it at home. I couldn’t tell him "Hey you know that besides being a terrible sin, most women don’t like guys who look at porn (I know he’d say i’m a nerd or that people aren’t perfect since that seems to be the answer I get from kids at this Catholic school, that its okay not to be perfect).

At least if I was working at a charity or in Social work people would actually want help. Sadly I see a lot of people who think they don’t need help because they have money and live comfortable lives and just go on sinning. I call it affluenza because these people think that they aren’t bad people because they don’t hurt anyone and that if they aren’t in physical poverty they must be doing okay even if they are in spiritual poverty. Sad thing is, these kids and parents know better. I hate people who send their kids to catholic schools and don’t expect them to live the faith. Its not as if our school is Catholic in name only. Were average at best but still that’s better than a lot of schools (sorry for the rant :))

Considering it’s a Catholic school, I think u really should say that it’s a mortal sin to look at porn! At least I would. What kind of school are they running there? :confused: When I was in high school, u weren’t supposed to bring cell phones to school (people did secretly anyway, though), and it was a good rule, too, since it’s obviously going to be a distraction.

Oh, and no need to apologize for the rant. Sounds like u are dealing with a bunch of headache inducing kids.

Well I think the problem is that its a smaller school where most everyone including the teachers are related or are good friends and theres a lot of adults saying “Oh those kids are just ornery” which makes me wonder how the adults are. Sadly I think a lot of people who grow up culturally in a faith think that people outgrow bad behavior when in reality it never happens. Once a cheater/porn addict/ drinker/ drug user always a bad person unless they get help somewhere along the line

Hey, maybe u can be that person for some of them, or at least even one of them. But u definitely have to not be afraid to live your faith around them (especially again, since it’s a Catholic school). It may not seem like u are doing anything to help them, but u never know how your actions can effect even just one person, and get them to start to think. I believe it’s what u call, planting seeds. :slight_smile:

I can tell I would make a bad teacher in that school, though, because I would probably mop the floor with some of them! :p:p:p

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