Saints who chose wrong vocation?


#1

Are there any saints who chose one vocation, thinking God was calling them to it, and later found out that God was really calling them to something else? Thanks


#2

I don't know if this counts, and I'm sure you know this already... but Blessed Louis Martin intended to enter the Augustinian Monastery of the Great St Bernard, but was rejected. Blessed Marie-Azélie Guérin wanted to become a nun, but was rejected by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. They married and had 5 surviving daughters, who all became nuns. One of them was St. Thérèse of Lisieux :)


#3

No. Like every human being, the saints often followed what they believed to be God’s call. When redirected, they went in that direction.

The examples given above are very good. There are others too. I can share two from our Holy Father Francis.

He believed that God was calling him to convert the non-believers, Muslims. Later, he believed that God was calling him to be a hermit, so he wrote a rule for hermits, which he never lived himself; but others have followed to this day.

When he came back from the foreign missions, he visit Mother Clare and asked her what she thought God wanted him and his brothers to do. She told him that God wanted us to convert Catholics, not non-believers. From that point forward, Francis put his effort into that mission. He left the conversion of non-believers to the Dominicans.

We also have the example of Mother Teresa. She entered the Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where she served as a religious sister for 20-years. Within that call, God re-directed her to be a Missionary of Charity. Was she in the wrong place? Absolutely not.

I was married and the father of three children. My wife and oldest son were killed. After raising the two younger children God called me to the Capuchins. From there I heard the call to travel to Florida to found a new community of Franciscans to proclaim the Gospel of Life. Was I wrong to be married or to join the Capuchins? No. God uses these situations for his eternal purpose.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#4

[quote="Geremia, post:1, topic:211543"]
Are there any saints who chose one vocation, thinking God was calling them to it, and later found out that God was really calling them to something else? Thanks

[/quote]

This is not exactly what you're looking for, but St. Rita always dreamed of religious life, but was forced into marriage by her parents. After her husband and sons passed, she became a nun.

-Jeanne


#5

[quote="jeanne71350, post:4, topic:211543"]
This is not exactly what you're looking for, but St. Rita always dreamed of religious life, but was forced into marriage by her parents. After her husband and sons passed, she became a nun.

[/quote]

I totally forgot about St. Rita. Butler's Lives of the Saints has a good biography of her.


#6

[quote="kamaan, post:2, topic:211543"]
I don't know if this counts, and I'm sure you know this already... but Blessed Louis Martin intended to enter the Augustinian Monastery of the Great St Bernard, but was rejected. Blessed Marie-Azélie Guérin wanted to become a nun, but was rejected by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. They married and had 5 surviving daughters, who all became nuns. One of them was St. Thérèse of Lisieux :)

[/quote]

I was preparing a presentation on St Therese of Lisieux yesterday. I found out Zeline and Louis Martin are beatified. But They finally ended up in their Calling of Holy Matrimony.

Joe


#7

St. Mary Of Egypt was a proud "woman of pleasure" and "sex maniac" who had no intention of ever being a Christian. She even seduced an entire ship full of pilgrims bound for the Holy Land for the challenge of it.
When she got to the Holy Land, she tried to to get into the Church of the Ascencion and found herself being held back by a supernatural force. As a result of this, she repented of her life and sins and spent decades upon decades in the Desert as a Holy Hermit.


#8

Blessed Charles de Foucauld may not be a bad choice. Once he began to answer his call, he entered a Trappist monastery, only to ask to be allowed to leave for a greater life of solitude. Then he served a Cloister Community of Nuns in the Holy Land, living in a shack on their land and running their errands, believing he was unworthy of the priesthood until the Mother Superior convinced him otherwise. When he was ordained, he was called further out by the Holy Spirit to Africa to live in the midst of the non-Christians there. Even there, he tried to maintain an enclosure but his call prompted him to leave it to bring the Lord to the people by example.

Not withstanding, he had a lot of wrong turns that ended up guiding him to the right end.


#9

Therese herself, of course, desperately wanted to be a missionary but was prevented (by her ill-health if memory serves). Maybe uncertainty about vocations was a family trait? :smiley:


#10

Another example is St. Benedict Joseph Labre. He wanted to become a Trappist monk, but after a time in the monastery he was asked to leave because his health broke down. I think he also tried the Capuchins, but was also rejected.

He became instead a 'holy pilgrim', traveling to shrines in his native France and Italy. He traveled on foot and begged for his food along the road. He spent most of his later years in Rome, and died there at a young age-I think he was in his thirties. When he died, the street urchins of Rome shouted, 'The Saint is dead! The Saint is dead!'

The previous examples of Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin and St. Rita were good ones, too. :thumbsup:


#11

St Anthony was in another religious family (Augustinian, IIRC), then switched to the Franciscans.


#12

OK folks, as I say to the people in formation for our Franciscan family. Let's use our terms the way that religious communities use them, since this is their language, not the language of the NYT. Remember, every discipline uses language differently.

The term "vocation" comes from Ascetical Theology. It was a spin-off from biblical exegesis, which uses the term for the great callings in the bible from Abram to the Apostles. For example, in Genesis they speak about God calling out to Adam. In English we have only one verb, "to call". This is not the case in the Semetic languages. The call to Adam is not the same as the call of Abram or the Apostles. One is to call out to and the other is to call forth and to send. When the early Desert Fathers and Mothers used the word, they use it with the second meaning, as in the call to Abram all the way down to the Apostles.

In that context there are not many calls, but only one call. You don't have "calls" to choose from. You have "a call". God did not call Abram to be either A or B with "A" being the right choice. He called Abram to be Abraham, that simple. The same applies to everyone else.

God calls us to be the persons we are at the present moment. Like all things, we do change. The world around us changes. God calls us to respond to those changes as the person we are, not as someone else. Take for example St. Anthony of Padua.

God called him to be St. Anthony. The means was through the Augustinian Canons onto the Friars Minor. Getting back to the OP then . . . saints do not choose the wrong calling. They responded to God's call, which took some of them down many paths. Let's take another example: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

She was born Episcopalian. She was a wife and the mother of five. She was exactly where God wanted her to be at the time. That was the means that God was going to use to get her to becoming St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Without knowing it, she was on her way. She simply responded in faith.

She is widowed. Again, this is God's plan for her. She accepts all of the sorrow that comes from losing her beloved William and being destitute and alone with five young children. Through that experience, she encountered the Catholic faith and later enters the Church. Again, we see God using her situation to draw her closer to where he wants her to be. She responds.

Elizabeth travels to Baltimore as a widow and teacher. Once again, God is leading and she is responding. She travels to Emmitsburg, MD as a Sister of Charity of St. Joseph and becomes the foundress of the Catholic School System and the Sisters of Charity in the USA and Canada. God leads and Elizabeth responds with charity until her death.

We don't say that her first response was the "wrong vocation" and that she was not to be a wife and mother. In fact, she said this herself to Bishop John Caroll when he presented her with the statutes for the Daughters of Charity written by St. Vincent de Paul. She gave them back to the bishop and said that she could not be the foundress of the new community, because she was "mother first" and the statutes made no privisions for women who were mothers. It was Bishop Caroll who appended the statutes to accommodate a widowed mother. Were that not part of God's plan, the bishop would not have appended the statutes. Remember, only the Church can confirm a call. No other religious or civil authority in the world has the power to confirm a call from God. We see the bishop use his episcopal authority to confirm God's call to Elizabeth to be both the mother to her children and the mother to her sisters.

There was only one call and one Elizabeth. She was called to be wife, mother and religious. These are not three separate calls. All three were meant for her. They are three distinct states in life. THAT is true. A wife, mother and consecrated religious are not the same states and are not inclusive. You can be one without the other. Many people are.

However, in her case, SHE (singular) was called to the three states: marriage, motherhood and religious. St. Anthony was called to two states: priest and consecrated brother and to two charisms: Augustinian and Franciscan. Each of these pieces make him the person he is. If you take one away, we would not longer have the same person. The same holds true for many saints who lived different charism and were part of different states in life. It's not one over the other. What made them saints is that they responded to what was before them each step of the way. That was their vocation, to respond to what God placed before them.

When we speak of someone like St. Benedict Joseph Labre, it's the same thing. He is called by God and he responds to God using what is before him, first the Cistercians, then the Capuchin Friars Minor and later the Secular Franciscans. One may say that he was called to the Secular Franciscan Order via a winding road. Why? Because that was his last stop before his death. Nonetheless, his first two choices, Cistercians and Capuchins, were not mistakes. They were situations and events that God used to lead him to where he wanted him to be. Taken them away and you have a different man.

The same can be said about Elizabeth Ann Seton. She was called to be Mother Seton through a set of circumstances that led there. St. Anthony of Padua was called to be Brother Anthony, again, through a set of circumstances.

The call (vocation) is to do what is before us with great love and extraordinary perseverence.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#13

[quote="JReducation, post:12, topic:211543"]

The term "vocation" comes from Ascetical Theology. It was a spin-off from biblical exegesis, which uses the term for the great callings in the bible from Abram to the Apostles. For example, in Genesis they speak about God calling out to Adam. In English we have only one verb, "to call". This is not the case in the Semetic languages. The call to Adam is not the same as the call of Abram or the Apostles. One is to call out to and the other is to call forth and to send. When the early Desert Fathers and Mothers used the word, they use it with the second meaning, as in the call to Abram all the way down to the Apostles.

...............................

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

Br JR, so you mean that God's call is one but the process to that call can be many ways before at the end we know exactly our call?


#14

[quote="wina, post:13, topic:211543"]
Br JR, so you mean that God's call is one but the process to that call can be many ways before at the end we know exactly our call?

[/quote]

I THINK I'm understanding your question. God calls. The confrmation of the call comes through the Church. We will only know to what God has called us at the end of our lives, when we look back and see our journey.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#15

My Vocation sister told me that you will not know for sure your call/vocation until you said your perpetual vow (for religious life). But as long as we walk through faith for our call then we will be fine to finish our journey in this life. Honestly I almost read your posts and it has helped me a lot to understand more about vocation.


#16

[quote="JReducation, post:12, topic:211543"]
OK folks, as I say to the people in formation for our Franciscan family. Let's use our terms the way that religious communities use them, since this is their language, not the language of the NYT. Remember, every discipline uses language differently.

The term "vocation" comes from Ascetical Theology. It was a spin-off from biblical exegesis, which uses the term for the great callings in the bible from Abram to the Apostles. For example, in Genesis they speak about God calling out to Adam. In English we have only one verb, "to call". This is not the case in the Semetic languages. The call to Adam is not the same as the call of Abram or the Apostles. One is to call out to and the other is to call forth and to send. When the early Desert Fathers and Mothers used the word, they use it with the second meaning, as in the call to Abram all the way down to the Apostles.

In that context there are not many calls, but only one call. You don't have "calls" to choose from. You have "a call". God did not call Abram to be either A or B with "A" being the right choice. He called Abram to be Abraham, that simple. The same applies to everyone else.

God calls us to be the persons we are at the present moment. Like all things, we do change. The world around us changes. God calls us to respond to those changes as the person we are, not as someone else. Take for example St. Anthony of Padua.

God called him to be St. Anthony. The means was through the Augustinian Canons onto the Friars Minor. Getting back to the OP then . . . saints do not choose the wrong calling. They responded to God's call, which took some of them down many paths. Let's take another example: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

She was born Episcopalian. She was a wife and the mother of five. She was exactly where God wanted her to be at the time. That was the means that God was going to use to get her to becoming St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Without knowing it, she was on her way. She simply responded in faith.

She is widowed. Again, this is God's plan for her. She accepts all of the sorrow that comes from losing her beloved William and being destitute and alone with five young children. Through that experience, she encountered the Catholic faith and later enters the Church. Again, we see God using her situation to draw her closer to where he wants her to be. She responds.

Elizabeth travels to Baltimore as a widow and teacher. Once again, God is leading and she is responding. She travels to Emmitsburg, MD as a Sister of Charity of St. Joseph and becomes the foundress of the Catholic School System and the Sisters of Charity in the USA and Canada. God leads and Elizabeth responds with charity until her death.

We don't say that her first response was the "wrong vocation" and that she was not to be a wife and mother. In fact, she said this herself to Bishop John Caroll when he presented her with the statutes for the Daughters of Charity written by St. Vincent de Paul. She gave them back to the bishop and said that she could not be the foundress of the new community, because she was "mother first" and the statutes made no privisions for women who were mothers. It was Bishop Caroll who appended the statutes to accommodate a widowed mother. Were that not part of God's plan, the bishop would not have appended the statutes. Remember, only the Church can confirm a call. No other religious or civil authority in the world has the power to confirm a call from God. We see the bishop use his episcopal authority to confirm God's call to Elizabeth to be both the mother to her children and the mother to her sisters.

There was only one call and one Elizabeth. She was called to be wife, mother and religious. These are not three separate calls. All three were meant for her. They are three distinct states in life. THAT is true. A wife, mother and consecrated religious are not the same states and are not inclusive. You can be one without the other. Many people are.

However, in her case, SHE (singular) was called to the three states: marriage, motherhood and religious. St. Anthony was called to two states: priest and consecrated brother and to two charisms: Augustinian and Franciscan. Each of these pieces make him the person he is. If you take one away, we would not longer have the same person. The same holds true for many saints who lived different charism and were part of different states in life. It's not one over the other. What made them saints is that they responded to what was before them each step of the way. That was their vocation, to respond to what God placed before them.

When we speak of someone like St. Benedict Joseph Labre, it's the same thing. He is called by God and he responds to God using what is before him, first the Cistercians, then the Capuchin Friars Minor and later the Secular Franciscans. One may say that he was called to the Secular Franciscan Order via a winding road. Why? Because that was his last stop before his death. Nonetheless, his first two choices, Cistercians and Capuchins, were not mistakes. They were situations and events that God used to lead him to where he wanted him to be. Taken them away and you have a different man.

The same can be said about Elizabeth Ann Seton. She was called to be Mother Seton through a set of circumstances that led there. St. Anthony of Padua was called to be Brother Anthony, again, through a set of circumstances.

The call (vocation) is to do what is before us with great love and extraordinary perseverence.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

Thank you, Br. JR. This is one of the most insightful things about vocation that I have ever read. I shared it with a good priest friend of mine, and he found it equally thought-provoking.

God Bless,

+VNV+


#17

Thank you. I am deeply humbled that Father would find something that I say “thought provoking.” It almost makes me uncomfortable. :shrug: I consider my thoughts to be very common and rather simple.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#18

Another example is St Anthony Mary Claret.

He thought he wanted to be a carthusian then ended up in a jesuit house in Rome and then eventually because a diocesan Priest who started a congregation and later became an Archbishop.

I think one can see the hand of God in all of these things - he used them all to make the Saint out of Anthony.

As a saint for our day there are few like him and anyone who is discerning should consider reading his life.

God Bless


#19

Sr. Francoise Therese (Leonie Martin–St. Therese’s sister)

martinsisters.org/sister_francoise_therese.html

Blessed Margaret of Castello

3op.org/stmargaret.php

Blessed Bartolo Longo (he became a Satanist Priest but his loved one’s didn’t give up on him and continued Praying for him and he became a Dominican Tertiary)

saints.sqpn.com/saintb91.htm


#20

[quote="Geremia, post:1, topic:211543"]
Are there any saints who chose one vocation, thinking God was calling them to it, and later found out that God was really calling them to something else?

[/quote]

I was just thinking about this question I posed and have concluded that it is impossible to chose the wrong vocation.

Proof: Anything we choose and accomplish has already been willed by God's immutable will to occur. We cannot choose anything were it not for God to will it so.

Is this correct? Thanks


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