People who went to seminary but did NOT become a religious


#1

Hi I was wondering if there are any discernment stories out there of people who felt called by God to be priest, brother, nun, but then decided to leave the seminary because they felt called to be something else. How did you come to this conclusion and how did you feel. Any stories would be greatly appreciated


#2

I rather doubt my story applies very well, but maybe it will get the ball rolling and open the discussion. :)

I graduated from an Assemblies of God Bible college after 10 years of going off and on as I could afford it and felt drawn back to complete my B. A. It was hard because I knew God wanted me to train to help others with questions of faith, but just didn't quite fit in. In our situation, all the women were expected to do one of three things: 1) marry a guy who was training to be a minister and so be his "helpmeet", 2) train for the mission field, or 3) go the religious education route and become a teacher. I took the 3rd route because it seemed the "safest" at the time.

All through that time I felt I ought to be there, but not that I ought to end up doing what was expected of me. I couldn't define it or describe it, but I knew it deep inside. After I graduated I just took a job in the city and lived there, not having any clear direction at all and feeling a bit lost/at loose ends.

In my case, I returned to the Episcopal Church, met my husband (a rather confused Catholic at the time) and settled down thinking I had simply not understood what God had wanted for me. Later my dh wanted to return to the Catholic Church and I began to explore Church teaching. To make a long story short, I was reconciled to the Church and have found my "niche" in apologetics. My training in the AoG college has prepared me quite nicely to help non-Catholics understand Church teaching because I've been there and know where they are coming from.

We cannot know just how God will use a calling to serve him. There are many vocations for lay people that are valuable and good. St. Frances de Sales said that to have yearned to serve God as a religious and not been able to shows a love for God, his Church, and the community that is laudable and proper. It means we are open to whatever God wants for us and how he might direct our lives, so he can use us in any way he pleases. So, if you don't fit in the seminary or convent or whatever, just let God lead and all will be well no matter where/how you end up serving.


#3

You may find it interesting, but there have been many young men who felt the call to the religious life, but were kicked out for being too faithful to the Catholic faith. Seriously. I heard of one young man who got upset because they put a paper disk with something written like “God cookie” in the monstrance and he made them take it out. They told him to leave because he was too orthodox! There have also been cases where the bishop of a diocese had a policy that he would NOT ordain a young man who didn’t believe in allowing women to be priests, same-sex marriage, etc. You have to be VERY careful where you go to seminary. It may be better not to go through your diocese if you don’t have a faithful bishop. Fr. Corapi, in fact, had to go to a different diocese from his home diocese because of this type of situation. He had talked to them, found out they were anything but faithful to the Church, and applied at a different, but faithful diocese. He later found out they had sent a scathing letter to the vocations committee of this other diocese about him. When the committee was meeting to decide who to send to seminary, they opened his folder and everything looked in order till they found that letter. The guy that found it said, “Ut oh! We have a problem!” And the guy running the show asked him to read it aloud, which he did. There was dead silence. Then, the guy asked, “What diocese was this from and who wrote that letter?” The guy holding the paper told him. The guy running the committee then picked up his gavel, slammed it down, and said, “Accepted! Our type of man!” LOL


#4

We have to be careful when we hear stories as to why people have left or were asked to leave as we are only getting one side of the story.

The religious order or seminary will not give their side of the story out to the public.

Just something to keep in mind.


#5

[quote="ByzCath, post:4, topic:209588"]
We have to be careful when we hear stories as to why people have left or were asked to leave as we are only getting one side of the story.

The religious order or seminary will not give their side of the story out to the public.

Just something to keep in mind.

[/quote]

Ditto. There have been many communities (especially in the last few decades) that have been falsely accused of heresy, blasphemy, et cetera, due to false rumors.


#6

I have a friend who broke off contact with her boyfriend of five years to discern seriously whether she was called to be a nun. She got a spiritual director, visited communities, prayed hard, and in the end she realized with great clarity that God wanted her to marry the guy. So she did, and she was incredibly happy about it. To know God wanted her to do exactly what she wanted to do… :slight_smile:

I know two other girls who entered communities with much colder climates than southern California where we’re from, and they both had to leave because of health reasons. A third girl developed mental health issues and had to leave. An older woman at my church was a Dominican sister who left her order and married because the order went crazy after Vatican II and it wasn’t at all the kind of life she’d signed up for. Another woman entered when she was older, after she had raised her seven kids to adulthood. They were very much against her becoming a cloistered nun, and though she was drawn to the life she realized after a year that it was too much to be separated from them. When you have children you have a lot of ties to the world.

I guess this isn’t so helpful since I can’t tell you about the interior life of any of these women. Hopefully they are at peace, embracing God’s will for them.

One man I heard of went to seminary and there he read John Paul II’s letter on the importance and value of married life, and realized then and there that he was called to raise a family.


#7

[quote="oiboyz, post:6, topic:209588"]
I know two other girls who entered communities with much colder climates than southern California where we're from, and they both had to leave because of health reasons. A third girl developed mental health issues and had to leave.

[/quote]

As someone who has developed/discovered health issues while being in temporary vows I find this troubling. I fear that I might be dropped because of these issues which I do not think would be the right thing according to charitable actions and justice.

Now if they left on their own then that is another thing but to dump someone becuase of an illness they developed, IMHO, is wrong.


#8

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