Should I accept that this order rejected my application?


#1

When I was 24 years old, I discerned with a religious order. At that time I suffered from a weak immune system, had lost weight and on top of that it was kind of a shock to me that I was expected to follow the entire schedule at once (like waking up very early, I was jobless at that time and was used to sleep until 10 or so).
They didn’t reject my application at that time, but asked me to get myself a job and wait a bit longer. I did so and after a year or so I asked them to continue my discerning process.
I made an appointment with the local convent of where I lived at that time. I had to speak to a sister who didn’t know me very well and she told me she thought I wouldn’t fit in their community and that she would transfer my request to the one responsible for new vocations. She said that this sister had the same opinion, but that’s not what my superior told me when I stayed over for a few weeks. I consider becoming a lay missionary now.
I really felt a strong called to this order, I have visited many other orders but nothing compares to this one. Do you think I should keep the option about that when there is another superior in the future, they may be willing to reconsider this? I think 24 is very young and when I am 35 or so, things may have changed. Thanks.


#2

You need to accept this and look else where. There may be other reasons they have decided their community will not work for you, but apparently have focused on your health as part of that issue. You should expect most orders to require that you are up by 4 am. They start their prayers at this time, and work all day, with time for prayer scheduled throughout the day. If you can’t handle that then this is no place to be.

Remember your health needs to be fairly good. Living in community has many challenges and you must be able to work with them. Living in community is much more stressful than people realize and it is no way to escape from the demands of life. (Sometimes people think this is an easier life style and go for that reason.)

I had to give up St. Walburga’s due to health. They raise cattle and farm, and are otherwise a contemplative order. (Benedictine) I really liked their spirit, but health just would not allow such a vocation.

You could, in the meantime look into missionary work or another contemplative order if that is what you are interested in. You will find that some orders will not accept you if you are over 30, so don’t use age as an indicator of what you need to do. Others will accept you when older, so you may need to check several.


#3

I’m not sure I would give up on them so quickly. It seems like you’ve received opinions from two or three people who might not know your entire situation or are basing their opinion on brief encounters. It also seems like one is actually talking for somebody else. At any rate find out definitively from the vocations director or from the committee that accepts or rejects applications – aren’t they after all the final arbiter of these things?

If it’s not meant to be with this particular community that doesn’t mean you aren’t called to religious life. It could mean you are called to life in another community and perhaps you don’t know it yet that one may be a much better fit than this one.

ChadS


#4

They may be testing your vocation. Do as they ask – job, etc. – and show that you’re still interested.

St. Benedict says to run the aspirant off a number of times to make sure they’re called to that monastery.

Blessings,
Cloisters


#5

Keep on pursuing this order if you feel strongly called but keep your options open. Develop your skills and career in case your vocation lies elsewhere. If you focus on career and education but later get into this order, you will have more to contribute as a member: more maturity, focus, discipline, skills and talents.


#6

I have a friend that experienced this very same thing. All the advice she received suggested that she continue with them until it was made utterly clear by a direct “NO” before moving on. None of the Sisters have told you this “NO” but they seem to suggest that you need to change before moving on with them. Are you working on doing what they asked? Sleeping 10 hours a day or more is not possible in religious life. It may seem easy now, but you really need to find ways to occupy your time. Are you attending college or volunteering anywhere? If you’re just a homebody, that definitely raises some red flags for a community. Strictly speaking, they want someone who has a good work ethic (even for cloistered communities because a lot of manual labor is done everyday) and has experience with college or work. They need to make sure you are up to par before entering the convent so you don’t get overwhelmed once there.

I’ll be honest with you that I do have experience with this. I have had depression for 15 years and I was just drifting along for a while with no direction. I left job after job and cared little about schoolwork. All that has changed! I’m in a 4-year college program full-time and I’m eligible for Latin Honors when I graduate and I just got a job working at my university part-time. I’ve been discerning consecrated life, too, and more communities are willing to at least consider me because I am showing them that I care about what I do outside the convent and I will be OK once inside. I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything but I know what you’re going through. Work on yourself and then a religious community will work with you. :thumbsup:

Let me know if you have any questions!


#7

Thanks a lot for your advice. I really can appreciate it. When I just received the rejection by the sister, I submitted myself to it. I knew God was there and also it didn’t make sense to me to resist. In the past few years I have had different jobs and I have been living in various countries, ironically the reason why I left these jobs was because I wanted to discern with this order. Now I am jobless. I learned from this. I am thinking about focusing on my professional skills now.


#8

The Sister that “rejected” you was not the Vocation Director or the Superior so she doesn’t have permission to tell you whether or not the community would take you. She was just giving you an idea of what they might say. Unless someone with permission to speak for the community tells you otherwise, I’d keep discerning with them.

Also, just my opinion, I don’t think it’s a good idea to pin all your hopes on one community when you haven’t been accepted by them. Many discerners have to look at a few communities at least before getting serious with one in particular. Leaving your job to discern when the community hasn’t given you an application is like putting all your eggs in one basket - not a good idea. Most jobs will give you time off so that you can make a retreat so it’s really not necessary to leave. If you’ve been with a job long enough and work enough hours, you could even get leave to do a live-in if necessary for 2 months.

I don’t mean to say this to upset you or anything but I’ve been discerning for over 7 years and it’s a rough road. You have to keep on in your professional and personal life as if you are not discerning because you need to have stability - communities look for that. If you leave job after job like I did, they’ll wonder what’s up and will think that you have personal issues that will make it difficult for you to be in community. I’ve spoken to numerous Vocation Directors/Superiors and they all say the same thing - in order for a community to work with you, you have to be willing to show them that you are stable as this is required in community. Religious life is difficult and once there, you’ll have to face personal difficulties that arise from living the vows. A lot of people don’t know this and think it’s easy but it’s a life full of sacrifices. Hope this helps! :slight_smile:


#9

Earnestly pray to God and ask for guidance.

If you are destined for this order it will happen. When God wants you he will let you know so. Persistence with prayer!

God bless you


#10

I would like to clearify that this sister actually spoke to the vocation director. When I met with the sister she told me she had a feeling God called me to another order but that she would call the vocation director to ask permission for a live in anyway. That’s how it went.

I think I have been thoughtless when it comes to choosing the right time to discern a vocation. Having said that, when you feel a strong call and keep thinking about it for years, it is hard to be rational and have a plan.
But I realize that I have been thoughtless on the decisions I made. Now I took driving lessons, started volunteering in order to get more work experience in the field I would like to work in.

If there’s anyone who goes through the same as I do and would love to exchange experiences by e-mail, please feel free to send me a private message.


#11

I don’t think you have been thoughtless - just inexperienced. It takes a while to learn how to discern the proper way. I have made mistakes in discernment in the past by applying with an order I had little experience with. I visited them one time and was quite naive about the whole thing. When the Novice Mistress gave me an application, I thought that sealed the deal. Little did I know what I would experience when they asked me to work in the apostolate. I found out I couldn’t handle the work and had to withdraw my application since it was not the apostolate for me. It was very demanding. Now, I know to visit a few times before getting serious with an order. In a way, it’s kind of like dating. You can’t go on one date and then think you know the person enough to get married. You have to go on several dates before settling down. With age comes wisdom, as they say. :wink:


#12

Thanks for your reply. If wisdom comes with age, I hope I could get very old! Just kidding.
I agree with you that it takes time how to discern the proper way. It is hard to accept that, my future, my vocation is a sort of mystery at the moment. However, there is one thing that I know for sure and that is that God permits everything that happens in our lives because He can make good out of it. We are like sheeps walking in the fog and we can’t see where we are going to. We just need to trust our Sheperd. I was thinking that this is the hardest part for me, when it comes to discerning. I want to understand everything and an explanation for everything that happened in my life. But I don’t decide when this mystery will be unveiled.


#13

I highly recommend reading the book entitled, “Abandonment to Divine Providence.” A religious Sister once recommended it to me when I was going through a rough patch in my discernment and it helped me see that God’s timing is perfect and cannot be rushed. :wink:


#14

Thanks a lot for your recommendation. That reminds me! It happens that I found it a few months ago on the internet. When I read a few pages I liked it so much that I add it to my favorites. Thanks again!


#15

God bless you and you will be in my prayers! :thumbsup:


#16

Thanks a lot. You will be in my prayers too!


#17

I have also experienced rejection from a promising order. It hurt very much at first, but I grew to accept it.

I like to read and drink coffee - I’m not the type to herd cattle on horseback, and I see that now, though I didn’t then.

As hard as it is, try to accept it as God’s will.

You’ll find a better order, if this is your vocation. I have found an order that, as it turns out, is much more suited to my capabilities and interests.


#18

latinByzCath, thanks and sorry for the delay. I will keep you in my prayers too!
I’m glad that pieces fall into place for you when you reflect on it now.
God has His time for everything.


#19

There is a lot that you haven’t told us, but I will assume that you are now suitable to make a formal application to the vocation director or team of this community. You should have a job if you don’t have a college degree, and be in general good health. You should go through the entire formal process, with a physical exam, lab work, including HIV, psychological evaluation, recommendations from your priest, among others, a criminal background check (yes!), and copies of your baptismal and confirmation certificates and all relevant diplomas. It’s a big deal. That way the vocation directress/team will know that you are serious.

And if there are any lifestyle problems now, you should clean them up ASAP. Do you have a job? Any skills?


#20

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