[quote="barb_finnegan, post:14, topic:230207"]
Hi Tigger-thanks for y our message.
I think I may have mentioned in my previous message that there are two monasteries that are between an hour to two hours' drive from me. One is Dominican, and the other is Discalced Carmelite. I'm more familiar with the Carmelites, because I thought of entering that community from 1970 to 1977 (between the ages of 15 and 22) when they were in another city to the east of me (I live in Upstate New York). They moved in 2005 to another city west of me because the neighborhood they lived in was getting very crowded and very noisy.
I consider the nuns as friends, and not as potential spiritual directors. I would prefer to go to a priest instead of a nun-even a cloistered one. A nun can't hear confessions!
You mentioned the 'Ancient Order of Carmelites' and their Third Order. I know someone in my city who is a member of it. But I have no wish to be part of a group right now. I've 'been there, done that' with two Third Orders in succession-Franciscans, then Discalced Carmelites-and neither of them worked out in the end. I've become rather 'gun-shy' when it comes to groups!
Hi Barb - I think that we need to go as we are led and we are all led differently. With negative experiences including those that have left me 'gun-shy', I dont actually think of them as negative, rather as The Lord saying "Not there" and therefore something quite positive......a clear indication to me of the road not to travel. :thumbsup:
With me personally, I had quite a negative experience with a priest who for a short time was both my director and confessor. He really alarmed me with a statement he made that indicated he probably had quite liberal beliefs. Certainly, the rejections I did get from priests of one kind or another while looking fora director have also contributed to a certain reluctance on my part to seek a relationship with a priest, even strictly spiritual, that is nevertheless a quite personal matter of face to face contact as with spiritual direction. Hence I am somewhat 'gun shy' of priests on a certain level and my personal experiences with cloistered nuns certainly have been a far more positive experience and over many years, my current director however is an active religious in an active Order. I have one very long term, over 30 years now,close friendship with a cloistered nun and though she has never been my director per se - she certainly offered me much support and sound spiritual advice during those years when I just could not find someone to direct me - and I must admit back then I was confining myself to a priest concept wise as a potential spiritual director.
With my current religious sister director, at first things were very awkward for me but I persevered and now some years down the track and I rejoice that I did and am thankful for that Grace. Just at the moment I haven't seen her for a couple of months due to commitments on her part and then on mine, but she did email me saying "Keep on listening to God" and that was really great encouragement for me. We don't do it often as we both prefer face to face, but email is always an option that we really use very little.
Be confident that wherever you may be, it is where The Lord wants and needs you and often in my life, I have wondered if He was getting things right:D as where I was seemed to me to be all negative. It is only hindsight and perhaps years down the track when I look back and see the fruits that came out of what I was experiencing back then as totally negative and all wrong.
PS The secular institute I mentioned ("The Leaven") which is a Carmelite secular institute is not a Third Order, incidentally, it is a state of formally consecrated life to the evangelical counsels under vows and a community of secular women who do meet once yearly but live in their own homes in a quite normal secular and lay fashion responsible for all their expenses etc. etc.. It is a really hidden life very often since they do not wear a habit nor any exterior symbol of their consecrated state. The follow the O.Carm Ancient Rule of Carmel and have their own statutes I should imagine. I did not go into it in great detail in my enquiries. I rather quickly realized it was not my call and vocation.