Hi everyone! I have been prayerfully discerning what God’s calling for me is, and I believe I may have a religious vocation.
I am only in RCIA; I will be accepted into the Church this Easter, and am looking forward with longing to receiving our Eucharistic Lord! The call to the Church has been in my heart for a very long time, and I am happy to be acting on it after so many years!
What frightens me is the religious calling. Shortly after I was convicted with a desire to become Catholic, the concept of religious life came up, though in what way I can’t remember. I believe my grandmother may have mentioned an interview with a sister she saw on television.
I was immediately enamored with the prospect of becoming a nun. I know that sounds preposterous, especially considering I wasn’t even in formation to become a Catholic then, but I was. However, with college and other priorities pressing on me, that desire fell into the background for some time.
I am in my second year of college, pursuing an English degree with a history minor. I had almost changed my course of study, because I wasn’t sure what I wanted from it. My advisor (who isn’t Catholic) asked me, “So you don’t think that [becoming a college professor] is a vocation?” How strange! A Baptist using the word vocation! I told him no, but after finding myself reluctant to leave a subject I loved so much, I kept my program.
Fast forward, and here I am looking at the webpage for The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (again), in the same predicament I was in a few years ago. I love to learn. I have a great appreciation for knowledge and its place in the Christian life. I want my college degree, and perhaps more, but there is a God-sized hole in my heart that keeps asking, “But how will you serve Jesus?” If there is anything I know with absolute certainty, it is that I love Jesus. I want to take the path He asks me to, and serve Him no matter what. I look at the career path I have chosen for myself, and He is not at the center, but off to the side. I want to give Him more than that. He deserves my life. It’s because I love Him that I came to the Church, and it’s because I love Him that I’m indecisive over my career.
When I think of my future as a professor, I don’t feel satisfied. That won’t make me happy. I know it won’t. That God-sized hole needs more than a Ph.D. and weekly trips to Mass for it to be filled. I want to give Him everything, and that’s what frightens me. The Dominican Sisters in Nashville just seemed like a perfect fit, taking my love of education and learning to another, more God-centered level. I wish I could communicate to you all the absolute anguish of a soul that yearns for more than what this earth can give. I love my life, but I love the Lord even more. Waiting for Easter is almost physically painful.
I’m just not sure what to do. I am a physically disabled person, and I’m not sure how that might affect my application for an order. I suppose I would have to attend an interview. I am a very active person, however, and I have hope this will not have bearing on my application. I walk with crutches, but I am able to take care of myself. I will continue my discernment as I am accepted into the Church, and possibly until I graduate college, which is two years from now. Though the wait might kill me, I think I should be solidly grounded in my faith before applying.
Does anyone have any advice they would add to this? Am I doing the right thing by waiting until after college? My parents are not Catholic, and I am really worried about how this decision—if I remain firm in it—will affect them. Traveling to Nashville will also mean securing a plane ticket. I am hoping I will be able to attend a retreat there, perhaps this year or the next. I should probably wait until I am in full communion with the Church. I apologize to everyone for what seems like a dramatic post; I tend to feel things very deeply, and it shows a bit.