Preparing for Postulancy


#1

Happy Sunday!! :) I'll be starting RCIA in a few weeks, with the intention of becoming Catholic in the spring. I am also in the early steps of discerning a religious vocation to the consecrated life. Right now, I feel particularly drawn to the Poor Clares and the Carmelites. I'm planning to wait a couple of years after my conversion before trying to enter a community - I want some time to learn and grow in my new faith first! :) But I would like to begin preparing for a religious vocation now, if this is God's will for my life. Do you have any advice for how I can prepare myself for the consecrated, contemplative lifestyle here at home?

Thank you so much! :)


#2

A friend of mine went through RCIA and ultimately became a Poor Clare, so it's entirely possible.

I think prayer is the best way to prepare yourself. Develop and strengthen your prayer life. Attend Mass frequently. Look into starting to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. (see divineoffice.org) Try out the rosary or lectio divina. See what kinds of prayer are particularly fulfilling for you.


#3

What are you already doing? Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament is helpful, besides what has already been suggested. Becoming enrolled in the Brown Scapular ties you a little bit closer to Carmel.
I am also hoping that I may have a vocation to the Discalced Carmelites (it is all I want, and at the same time its the last thing I want, lol!) It is kind of silly, but one thing that I have been trying to do is to practice obedience (within reason) to whoever asks me to do anything, or to regard the fulfillment of any small task an act of obedience rather than just one less thing to do.

(For example: I mow grass, and one old lady kept requesting that I mow her lawn shorter. So next time, I lowered the cutting deck, and it still wasn't short enough. I really hate to mow too low, it doesn't seem good for the grass, but went down to the second lowest setting, and she seemed pacified but not quite happy...I mowed at the second-lowest setting for a year, and one day she sighed "If only you had a mower that could cut it REALLY short!" I realized that I was putting my own desire to not injure the grass over my customer's desire to have it "really short". So next time, I scalped it badly in the desire to be obedient, and she cried "ITS PERFECT!!!")


#4

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:2, topic:334453"]
A friend of mine went through RCIA and ultimately became a Poor Clare, so it's entirely possible.

I think prayer is the best way to prepare yourself. Develop and strengthen your prayer life. Attend Mass frequently. Look into starting to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. (see divineoffice.org) Try out the rosary or lectio divina. See what kinds of prayer are particularly fulfilling for you.

[/quote]

Thank you for sharing about your friend! And thank you for your advice to deepen my prayer life! I've been teaching myself the rosary - I still need to use a guide, but I already love it! I'll definitely look up your other suggestions and try those out, as well! :)


#5

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:3, topic:334453"]
What are you already doing? Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament is helpful, besides what has already been suggested. Becoming enrolled in the Brown Scapular ties you a little bit closer to Carmel.
I am also hoping that I may have a vocation to the Discalced Carmelites (it is all I want, and at the same time its the last thing I want, lol!) It is kind of silly, but one thing that I have been trying to do is to practice obedience (within reason) to whoever asks me to do anything, or to regard the fulfillment of any small task an act of obedience rather than just one less thing to do.

(For example: I mow grass, and one old lady kept requesting that I mow her lawn shorter. So next time, I lowered the cutting deck, and it still wasn't short enough. I really hate to mow too low, it doesn't seem good for the grass, but went down to the second lowest setting, and she seemed pacified but not quite happy...I mowed at the second-lowest setting for a year, and one day she sighed "If only you had a mower that could cut it REALLY short!" I realized that I was putting my own desire to not injure the grass over my customer's desire to have it "really short". So next time, I scalped it badly in the desire to be obedient, and she cried "ITS PERFECT!!!")

[/quote]

I am trying to spend at least an hour each week in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; I love spending time in prayer this way, and I feel like it's helping me grow in reverence and admiration for the Eucharist. I'm also praying the rosary every day. Could you tell me a little more about the Brown Scapular? I've heard of it but don't know much about it... :o

I love your idea about practicing obedience! It reminds me of St. Therese and the little sacrifices she made in order to show her love for God. And what a fun example you gave! :) Thank you for all your suggestions!


#6

[quote="beccasmiles89, post:5, topic:334453"]
Could you tell me a little more about the Brown Scapular? I've heard of it but don't know much about it... :o

[/quote]

I am newish to it as well. According to legend, Mary appeared to Carmelite St. Simon Stock, and gave him the Scapular not only for those in his Order but for anyone who wants a small share in Carmel. It is said that anyone who dies wearing the Scapular (with devotion - not as a good-luck charm, which is superstitious) will be preserved. The Brown Scapular is a pair of brown wool squares that string around your neck so one square hangs down the front and one down the back, a tiny version of the full-length shoulder-to-ankle scapulars worn by those in religious life. It is blessed by a priest (for the first one at your enrollment, at least; when you wear that one out, subsequent ones can be blessed, but they are not required to be) and there is a small ceremony for enrollment (it isn't scary, I think that your only lines are "And with your Spirit" if in English, and "Amen") and you resolve to follow three rules: Wear the scapular devotedly, practice chastity according to your state in life (i.e., if married, don't commit adultery, or if single remain celibate), and pray either the Little Office of Mary OR the rosary daily.

I have also heard of people who just wear it, without seeking to be enrolled.

If I could do it over I'd find a Brown Scapular with brown strings. Mine has (had) white strings which look filthy even when they're clean.


#7

welcome home beccasmiles!

I myself is discerning now and God willing be entering postulancy with the Capuchin Franciscans next year. As the others have mentioned deepening your relationship with our Lord thru prayer is a great start. Devotion to Mary via the rosary is a wonderful thing - have you tried the Franciscan crown of praying the rosary?

I found that praying the Liturgy of the Hours helped me structured my prayer life. It looks daunting in the beginning but its awesome once you get the hang of it. As you deepen your faith and continue to discern - remember to take it one day at a time - allow God to reveal his plans for you.

I'll pray for you and may our Lord continue to bless you as you go thru RCIA and discerning his will.

*-Dominus Vobiscum! *


#8

[quote="beccasmiles89, post:1, topic:334453"]
Happy Sunday!! :) I'll be starting RCIA in a few weeks, with the intention of becoming Catholic in the spring. I am also in the early steps of discerning a religious vocation to the consecrated life. Right now, I feel particularly drawn to the Poor Clares and the Carmelites. I'm planning to wait a couple of years after my conversion before trying to enter a community - I want some time to learn and grow in my new faith first! :) But I would like to begin preparing for a religious vocation now, if this is God's will for my life. Do you have any advice for how I can prepare myself for the consecrated, contemplative lifestyle here at home?

Thank you so much! :)

[/quote]

Welcome home to Rome!

You will need to be Catholic 3 years before you can enter religious life.

Teresa and Clare are the two most popular foundresses as far as cloistered nuns are concerned, but there are 13 observances of Poor Clare life.

Look locally first.

Practice interior silence.

Develop an horarium which includes the LOTH, Angelus, Divine Mercy, Sacraments, etc.

Carmel is for everyone. Teresa is a post-Reformation Doctor of the Church, and her revelations explain the interior life, as does St. Francis de Sales. He is another you should look into because VatII actually wanted religious to embrace his spirituality of gentleness. (We have Oblates of St. Francis de Sales priests here locally, and we were told this during a homily).

The Spiritual Directory of St. Francis de Sales is a good place to start where a structured day is concerned.

Study the spiritualities and the different religious rules.

I also offer this link: cloisters.tripod.com/

Blessings,
Cloisters


#9

[quote="Cloisters, post:8, topic:334453"]
Welcome home to Rome!

You will need to be Catholic 3 years before you can enter religious life.

[/quote]

I was told this as well, though I found out recently that this rule varies by community. My local Carmelite Monastery has the 3-year rule but there is a Monastery a few hundred miles away that will accept applications from converts who have just ben Baptized/Confirmed, if they think that this person has a vocation to their community.
:shrug:


#10

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:9, topic:334453"]
I was told this as well, though I found out recently that this rule varies by community. My local Carmelite Monastery has the 3-year rule but there is a Monastery a few hundred miles away that will accept applications from converts who have just ben Baptized/Confirmed, if they think that this person has a vocation to their community.
:shrug:

[/quote]

Indeed.

My Poor Clare friend entered on just about her second anniversary as a Catholic. Her community wanted two years, but she spoke to another Poor Clare monastery that was willing to have her enter after about a year.

I think it's important to give yourself a chance to learn what it means to be Catholic, but exact lengths of time that a community wants may vary.

Either way, this is a great opportunity for the OP to explore and to deepen her relationship with the Lord. That will be of benefit no matter what the future holds.


#11

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