Questions on Religious Life Vocation


#1

Hello

I am new here, I am a widowed mum (42) with 4 children, I have been widowed 5 years now.
I also have a calling to religious life and this has been coming and going for the last 5 years also. I have just joined a 3rd Order Carmelite Group near where I live. I have been twice now.

I do have loads of questions, I hope you don;t mind me shooting straight in with them, as I have looked up stories about nuns and saints, but can;t find any about people in my position.

Basically for the last five years, God showed me Religious life very clearly, but also there were the odd man involved, so I wondered whether I would remarry at some point.

The callings came in between. I just wanted God to tell me what HE wanted…
he kept calling me, and now I have finally joined a carmelite order. I meet a man I would marry last July. We have been getting on very well as friends, I was always aware that I might have to keep myself single to become a full nun once my children are independant.

they are aged 15,14,10 and 9 now.

Recently God has shown me that this man would be right for me, this was very clear indeed. Myself and this man are having some space to pray for Gods will…at the moment.

I am now seriously considering whether I should enter into a romance with this man, I know that I would only do this if I intended to marry him and give him myself fully.

The problem is I am also aware of the fact that God has been calling me to religious life for the last five years.

I can only be a third order secular nun until the children are independant.
however I also can not keep this man waiting forever. He knows about my calling to religious life and this is one of the reasons we have just been getting to know each other as friends. I have now fallen in love with him, so I now feel it is decision time.
I also know that God will bless me and whatever path I choose.
A big part of me wants to give myself fully to Jesus and not a human man, although I do love this man and know that if I gave myself to him, I would give myself fully.

This man has been waiting 10 years for the right person, he is 49 in March and has always wanted children. he wants to marry and have children, he has not said to me, as we have always just stayed friends. But I know by the way he treats me that he cares deeply for me.

I really do not know what to do, I know I have to be patient in the Lord, but also know that God would want me to make the choice.

One of my main questions is, I know I can be a 3rd order carmelite and remarry,
Question - is there anyone known to have become a full nun, community nun and had grown up children.
Question - What is classed as independant, is it age of children, do children have to be out of family home, do children have to be married and settled etc etc.
Obviously I do not know the future, but if I know of any others who have had similar, it might help me think seriously…

anyway hope someone can give insight…

God Bless
Eileen
uk


#2

You have dependents. It sounds like the Lord sent you a wonderful man to give them a holy example of chivalry and Christian manliness.

The cloister of the heart is for everyone. Maintain your third order path and retain a spiritual director.

Blessings,
Cloisters


#3

[quote="EileenUk, post:1, topic:271805"]
Hello

I am new here, I am a widowed mum (42) with 4 children, I have been widowed 5 years now.
I also have a calling to religious life and this has been coming and going for the last 5 years also. I have just joined a 3rd Order Carmelite Group near where I live. I have been twice now.

I do have loads of questions, I hope you don;t mind me shooting straight in with them, as I have looked up stories about nuns and saints, but can;t find any about people in my position.

Basically for the last five years, God showed me Religious life very clearly, but also there were the odd man involved, so I wondered whether I would remarry at some point.

The callings came in between. I just wanted God to tell me what HE wanted....
he kept calling me, and now I have finally joined a carmelite order. I meet a man I would marry last July. We have been getting on very well as friends, I was always aware that I might have to keep myself single to become a full nun once my children are independant.

they are aged 15,14,10 and 9 now.

Recently God has shown me that this man would be right for me, this was very clear indeed. Myself and this man are having some space to pray for Gods will..at the moment.

I am now seriously considering whether I should enter into a romance with this man, I know that I would only do this if I intended to marry him and give him myself fully.

The problem is I am also aware of the fact that God has been calling me to religious life for the last five years.

I can only be a third order secular nun until the children are independant.
however I also can not keep this man waiting forever. He knows about my calling to religious life and this is one of the reasons we have just been getting to know each other as friends. I have now fallen in love with him, so I now feel it is decision time.
I also know that God will bless me and whatever path I choose.
A big part of me wants to give myself fully to Jesus and not a human man, although I do love this man and know that if I gave myself to him, I would give myself fully.

This man has been waiting 10 years for the right person, he is 49 in March and has always wanted children. he wants to marry and have children, he has not said to me, as we have always just stayed friends. But I know by the way he treats me that he cares deeply for me.

I really do not know what to do, I know I have to be patient in the Lord, but also know that God would want me to make the choice.

One of my main questions is, I know I can be a 3rd order carmelite and remarry,
Question - is there anyone known to have become a full nun, community nun and had grown up children.
Question - What is classed as independant, is it age of children, do children have to be out of family home, do children have to be married and settled etc etc.
Obviously I do not know the future, but if I know of any others who have had similar, it might help me think seriously...

anyway hope someone can give insight...

God Bless
Eileen
uk

[/quote]

saint jane frances de chantal left her children to found a congregation with st francis de sales., one of saint jane's child threw his self in front of her to stop her but st jane stepped over him and continued to leave them

saint rita entered augustinian after her husband, and children died..

also st frances xavier cabrini is a widow who founded a congregation if im not mistaken


#4

[quote="FraLeones, post:3, topic:271805"]
saint jane frances de chantal left her children to found a congregation with st francis de sales., one of saint jane's child threw his self in front of her to stop her but st jane stepped over him and continued to leave them

saint rita entered augustinian after her husband, and children died..

also st frances xavier cabrini is a widow who founded a congregation if im not mistaken

[/quote]

You are right with regards to Saints Jane Frances de Chantal and Rita having been married before they went into religious life.

But-St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was NOT a widow; she is a 'virgin'.

You probably have Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini mixed up Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Mother Seton was a widow with five children (two boys, three girls) when she converted to Catholicism, and later on founded the Sisters of Charity. Two of her daughters died young (the oldest, Anna Maria, made her religious vows as a Sister of Charity on her deathbed, just like Marie-Aimee, the oldest daughter of Mother de Chantal), one son died at sea, another son survived into adulthood, and the youngest daughter became a Sister of Mercy.


#5

Hi Eileen,

God bless you for seeking his will and trying to discern your vocation. I can’t really help you with the fundamentals, but I have a couple of points:

  1. Having ‘dependents’ means people who depend on you. It’s not their age per se but their need for you. A religious order wouldn’t expect you to wait for your children to be married, but they need to be living without your aid. This might be at 18 if they’re out in the world with a job then. If you support them through university it would be later. Technically they could still be living in the family home and be independent of you, although this would be tricky. Basically, what the order would be looking for would be an indication that, were you to enter as a nun, your children would get on with their lives without you. That will mean different things for different families. Not that they wouldn’t miss you if you were gone, but that they are independent adults who don’t need you to survive. As a sweeping generalisation, a legal adult who is living away from you, has some source of independent income and doesn’t have any regular money coming from you.

  2. I don’t want to seem harsh, but by the time your youngest child is independent of you, you will be in your 50s. There are some orders who accept late vocations (search for other threads on this), but it will limit you significantly. Whether or not you are called to the religious life and whether or not you are called to re-marriage are two separate questions (you may be called to neither), but don’t discount the fact that one of them may not be available to you.

  3. I hope you don’t think I’m being pedantic, but you repeatedly refer to third orders as a sort of ‘semi-nun’ (my term, not yours). Lay/Secular/Third orders are an entirely separate vocation for lay people, they are not a kind of half way house for wannabe religious. It may well be that you have a vocation to the Carmelites, but please don’t enter them as a substitute for religious life.

You asked for people in similar situations. Well, mine is similar to yours in some ways but also very different (it involves divorce). I am happy to talk to you some more if you PM me.

I do suggest you get yourself a good spiritual director to discuss this with. A good SD in invaluable in life anyway, but especially in a situation such as yours where there is a big and complicated discernment to go through. I know a few in London, Oxford and Newcastle if you’re near to any of those. Otherwise, some of the dioceses are quite good at recommending people or your parish priest would know some.


#6

hello thankyou for your detailed reply..

I am new to all religious life stuff, so just finding out, I have had the callings for five years now. The only reason I talk about becoming a full nun, is I need to make a decision whether to stay single now or consider marriage. This is the main decision. Because a man is involved, although we are just very good friends right now, I know we both have feelings for each other and consider each other as a possible spouse. I would not want to allow anything to develope if God wants me to stay single. also I would not want to lead this man up the garden path and then hurt him. If I had not had any callings to religious life (God has not made this completely clear yet, although I have started going to Carmelite meetings (2 now) then I would just enjoy the friendship and allow it to develope if it did. I do have a Spiritual director and have been seeing her once a month for about 15mths now. So will speak to her about it more when I see her next. I also spoke to one of the nuns at my parish the other day who is a dear friend of mine, she was helpful, her vocation was very clear from a very young age, and quite a different situation. I think for now, I will just rest in the Lord, and focus on him. Me and the man are having a little space at the moment, with just friendly emails now and then, allowing each other time to focus on God and both asking God for guidance on our friendship, so at least no pressure at the moment. I just ask for prayers please, I will focus on many prayers for all of you and thankyou all for your kind replies. I have also joined a online live podcast for nuns and they have questions for vocations etc on a Thursday, so I will hopefully find this helpful..

thanks again and May God Bless you all..
Eileen
xxxxx


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.