Possibly called! Prayer and advice needed

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.

Hello classica,

May the Grace of God and the Peace of His Son be with you.

In all things pray constantly and learn to wait for the Lord, after all He is the only one that knows the right time for things to come.

As someone that walked away from the call many years ago, I have but one question to ask you:

How would you live with yourself and in communion with God if you don’t answer the call?

I can’t even begin to explain the anguish and remorse that comes with it. But God is Graceful and He did not abandon me.

I don’t know if it is still allowed but back in the day (80’s), I was allowed to attend some classes and activities as a guest at the Seminary before taking any vows. If possible, that would be a wonderful experience and a prime example of what life would be like if you were to take the vows.

If the Lord is calling you, it matters little what others might think. After all, Is there really a higher calling on this earth than dedicating one’s life to Him? I think not.

God Bless you,

Jose

Firstly welcome to the Church! One thing you need to consider is that converts are not able to enter religious orders immediately, they usually have to have been received into the Church for two years. So that is something to consider: I would advise you to focus for the time being on your reception into the Church before you discern more seriously.

Secondly, being physically disabled may make things more difficult for you. Some communities will not accept disabled applicants. If God is authentically calling you then He will make a path but you may need to be prepared . I do not know about the Nashville Dominicans specifically, but I know Visitation sisters generally accept disabled applicants. I believe the Visitation sisters in Georgetown teach, there may be others I am not familiar with.

I will keep your discernment in my prayers, feel free to message me if you have any more questions.

I just wanted to tell you how much your post inspired me today. God bless you on your path through life. The opportunity will come that you can’t pass up and then you’ll know it was meant to be.

God’s time is not our time. Be patient. :wink:

I think I’d regret it, honestly. Part of me really wants marriage and family, but as of yet no man has shown interest in me, and while I have struggled with the desire for a relationship and physical intimacy (as I’m sure we all do at some point), I’ve begun to realize that these desires might be more selfish than anything. They take away from my relationship with God and if I let them—as I have more than once—these desires can become an almost constant temptation.

Before I came to college and got my priorities straight, God was definitely not a huge part of my life. My family did not attend church regularly, and my prayer life was suffering. I still held deep religious conviction, but my relationship with Jesus was on life support. I hate to say it, but it’s true. Transferring to a college where my spiritual life is nurtured and finally beginning on the path to full communion with the Church has breathed new life and fervor into my spirituality and love of Christ.

My temptations towards lust and impurity are still there, but God is giving me the strength to fight every day. My mind is clearer, and I have given up many tempting habits almost without trying. It is still a trial, but I am no longer losing the battle. I now find myself craving prayer time, scripture reading, and church activities. I never thought I’d actually want to pray, but God works in amazing ways. Even in my hectic exam schedule, I have found time to be with Jesus.

As I have studied leading up to my conversion, I have slowly left the emotional roller coaster that was my previous spiritual relationship. I would not give up my faith for anything, even though going against my family may cause distress. I have never been more deeply convicted about anything than I am about Catholicism. I have never been more absolutely sure about Jesus’ love for me.

I have loved Him all my life, and He has loved me in return with unfailing tenderness. He has given me His life, and I believe the only real response is to give Him my life in return. Even that is not enough, but it is all I have to give Him. I would regret following my own selfish desires, and not giving Him as much as I possibly could. At the end of this life I think I would regret not pursuing a more God-centered path.

At this moment I wish I were able to devote time for attending Mass and Adoration daily, as well as more time in prayer. I love RCIA class and Sunday Mass, but I want to spend more time with God. His presence is one of the few things that bring me happiness, and I’m dreading leaving school for Christmas break, because I may not even get to attend weekly Mass. I know that I will still have my prayer hour, but I am unable to drive, so Mass and Adoration will be next to impossible unless I can convince my mother to take me, and that is unlikely.

Hello classica,

What a beautiful account of your faith. Thank you for sharing with us. :slight_smile:

First of all, your disability doesn’t sound completely incapacitating. Obviously there are varying degrees of disability, and you have been able to function quite well, given your status as a full-time student. I think it would be important to explain to any communities you contact that your disability is not completely incapacitating.

St. Andre Bessette is one of the patron saints of people who are disabled. If you are not familiar with his life, you may be interested to read more about him: lifesiteministries.org/patron-saints-for-persons-with-disabilities.html I imagine he would be happy to support you in your discernment. :wink:

In the past EWTN has aired a very good documentary of his life. I also noticed a trailer here; I’m not sure if it’s the same documentary or a different one: youtube.com/watch?v=9rDzSc2QHSY

It sounds like you are in touch with the community in Nashville? If not, I’d recommend contacting the vocation director there and let her guide your next steps. That is, don’t assume, for example, that this particular community will not want to be contacted by you until 2 years after your confirmation. Let the vocation director herself guide your next steps.

Hmm, my last piece of advice is based on something I read either by St. Francis de Sales or Fr. Cassaude (Abandonment to Divine Providence). I believe one of them–I’m pretty sure it was de Sales–recommended focusing at first just on 3 or 4 communities. Basically he was advising not to be distracted or overwhelmed by the sheer number of communities, but to try to keep discernment limited. But again, let the vocation director at the order/orders guide you. I see no harm in contacting them and telling them what you have told us.

Blessings!

Timing, thank you for your insight. I thought about that, too. I may be overly optimistic, but I still do not think my disability will factor into my acceptance for an order. As long as I have my crutches—even just one—I can walk and do just about anything. Honestly, I get more cleaning and work done than my able-bodied family members. I’m blessed that I have yet to be truly impeded in my daily life. Yes, I am sometimes in pain, but it is bearable and doesn’t keep me from getting around. I look at it as an opportunity for penance. As St. Therese wrote, “The Lord loves the most those whom he tries the most.” (Or something like that)

As I understand it, applicants are reviewed on a case by case basis, so I think whether or not my disability impedes me in the work required of me, rather than the simple fact I am listed as disabled on a piece of paper, is more important. I know the decision is ultimately not mine, but I do not think I will be unable to do the work the St. Cecilia sisters require.

Again, I may be overly optimistic, but optimism is always better than despair.

Daisybee, I will probably do that next week. I know I’ll probably seem insane, expressing interest in convent life without even having received communion once, but I think I need another Catholic, especially a sister, to guide me and ensure I am making the right decision. I feel crazy, but people who are in love do crazy things. People who are in love with Jesus do crazy, amazing, life-changing things.

I really do love Him. I know it sounds mental, but I do. I just want whatever He wants for me.

And no, I’m not really incapacitated at all. I walk slower some days, but I’m fiercely independent. My parents did well not to baby me; I’ve even done yard work for my father. They’ve never treated me like I was disabled, and none of my friends do either. My best friend once told me, “You know, no one thinks you’re any different. We’ve never considered you to be disabled.”

I’m just happy to be so blessed. The disability I have, cerebral palsy, should have affected me more. My doctor was amazed when I told him I wanted to go to college; apparently most people with my condition don’t go, and they’re usually wheelchair-bound very early. I just turned twenty, and dang if those doctors try to get me in a chair. I want wrinkles before I throw in the towel.

I do not think you are being overly optimistic at all - if God is calling you then there is a place He has prepared for you. You just may have to be prepared to work that little bit harder to find it, and be prepared for the fact that some communities may just flat-out say no. I am not trying to be discouraging, just realistic. But trust that God’s plan for you is far greater than you can imagine!

Thank you. I also read your blog, and I will be praying for you regarding your vocation as well. I hope you find peace.

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