Talk to Priest on Discernment or Date First?


#1

Hi!

I started a thread called,"Discernment and seeking Spiritual Director" and I mentioned there that I have an interest in the religious life. Here's a copy of what I put:

Hello,

So I basically put two questions in this one thread:

  1. Ever since I was 11 (I'm 14 now), I've been thinking about becoming a nun but am not sure if that's God's will for me. I've talked to one priest about it after confession and he advised me to discern. How exactly do you discern other than praying and "waiting for an answer"? I haven't talked to y parents or any family members about this. Should I tell them? How?

  2. As I mentioned above that I've been thinking about becoming a nun, I've also been looking for a good spiritual director. I've read the other threads about finding a good spiritual director and I think I've found one priest but I don't get to see him that often to talk to him. How do I go about that? I'm kind of "church hopping" because I serve at different parishes so it's very hard to meet with one priest often.

Please pray for me!

-7discerning7

P.S. Feel free to send me a message!

I now know who I'd like to talk to about this but I don't know if I should talk to him yet. I told a few of my friends (didn't tell me family yet) about my interest in the religious life and they suggested that I try dating first before I talk to a priest about it.
What do you think? Should I listen to them? What should I do?

Feel free to PM me!

God bless,
7discerning7


#2

I strongly recommend you meet with a priest. This needs to be talked through. God will show you but you need assistance that you cannot get through internet postings. I am excited for you that God is calling you to discern this! A priest will talk it through with you and show you how to do that. Do tell your parents, and ask them to help you choose a ggod priest to help.


#3

Hi Fr. Jones!

Thanks for your reply!

Yes, I initially planned to discuss it with a priest until my friends suggested I date before even bringing it up to a priest.

How should I tell my parents? I'm kinda afraid to do so. :(

-7discerning7


#4

[quote="7discerning7, post:1, topic:330108"]
Hi!

I started a thread called,"Discernment and seeking Spiritual Director" and I mentioned there that I have an interest in the religious life. Here's a copy of what I put:

I now know who I'd like to talk to about this but I don't know if I should talk to him yet. I told a few of my friends (didn't tell me family yet) about my interest in the religious life and they suggested that I try dating first before I talk to a priest about it.
What do you think? Should I listen to them? What should I do?

Feel free to PM me!

God bless,
7discerning7

[/quote]

You may want to seek out a religious sister who is trained in spiritual direction to speak with. I am not suggesting that you contact a specific community to discern but rather, to find a spiritual director to help you grow in your relationship with Christ which may lead you to discern religious life in any number of communities, not necessarily the community of your director. If there are any communities of sisters nearby a simple phone call asking if any of the sisters provide spiritual direction should be enough to give you some direction. She will have lived experience of religious life and will be able to help you figure out some of the other questions you have asked here especially about dating and telling your parents. Also a sister who is a certified spiritual director might have more availability to meet with you because it is her ministry. Religious life is very different than the life of a diocesan priest and while he may be very knowledgeable and holy, it might be more effective for your discernment to speak with someone who lives religious life in under the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in community with other women religious.

Prayers,
Sister Marie


#5

[quote="SrMarie, post:4, topic:330108"]
You may want to seek out a religious sister who is trained in spiritual direction to speak with. I am not suggesting that you contact a specific community to discern but rather, to find a spiritual director to help you grow in your relationship with Christ which may lead you to discern religious life in any number of communities, not necessarily the community of your director. If there are any communities of sisters nearby a simple phone call asking if any of the sisters provide spiritual direction should be enough to give you some direction. She will have lived experience of religious life and will be able to help you figure out some of the other questions you have asked here especially about dating and telling your parents. Also a sister who is a certified spiritual director might have more availability to meet with you because it is her ministry. Religious life is very different than the life of a diocesan priest and while he may be very knowledgeable and holy, it might be more effective for your discernment to speak with someone who lives religious life in under the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in community with other women religious.

Prayers,
Sister Marie

[/quote]

Hi Sister Marie!

Hmm...a religious sister... I know a few, one is in the Carmelite order (she can speak more English than the other three sisters that I know).

Ahhh....I see what you mean by this

Religious life is very different than the life of a diocesan priest and while he may be very knowledgeable and holy, it might be more effective for your discernment to speak with someone who lives religious life in under the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in community with other women religious.

Ok..I'll try what you suggested.

Father Jones suggested I tell my parents. How do you think I should tell them? I'm afraid to do so.

-7discerning7


#6

Only you can really know when its a right time to tell your parents. I don’t know how old you are, whether you live with them or on your own, or what your relationship with them is like so it’s difficult to say. If you are a minor and are planning on seeing someone for direction, you really do need to tell your parents but otherwise you may want to subtly bring up the idea of a vocation and see how they react, like, “Mom, I met this really nice sister. She said a, b, and c… don’t you think their way of life is interesting?” That could give you some idea of how they feel while at the same time ease your mom or dad into the idea gently. However, if you think your parents would be supportive and prudent about your discernment it could be a real help to have them as a sounding board and a support system as you try to decide what type of life is right for you.

You diocesan website should have a list of all the women religious in the diocese… I would call a few of those communities, if the sister you know is unable for some reason, and ask if they have certified spiritual directors. Just because someone is holy or a religious doesn’t mean they have been trained in spiritual direction and you really want someone who has studied it in a program. I have a spiritual director who has a degree in spiritual direction and pastoral counseling. She is a sister from a different community. I’m a sister but I couldn’t be anyone’s spiritual director (friend, yes; source of information, maybe… but not a spiritual director!). My job is a teacher.

Just be careful that you really feel comfortable with the person, can share openly and honestly with them, and that they have adequate experience to really help you!


#7

[quote="SrMarie, post:6, topic:330108"]
Only you can really know when its a right time to tell your parents. I don't know how old you are, whether you live with them or on your own, or what your relationship with them is like so it's difficult to say. If you are a minor and are planning on seeing someone for direction, you really do need to tell your parents but otherwise you may want to subtly bring up the idea of a vocation and see how they react, like, "Mom, I met this really nice sister. She said a, b, and c... don't you think their way of life is interesting?" That could give you some idea of how they feel while at the same time ease your mom or dad into the idea gently. However, if you think your parents would be supportive and prudent about your discernment it could be a real help to have them as a sounding board and a support system as you try to decide what type of life is right for you.

You diocesan website should have a list of all the women religious in the diocese... I would call a few of those communities, if the sister you know is unable for some reason, and ask if they have certified spiritual directors. Just because someone is holy or a religious doesn't mean they have been trained in spiritual direction and you really want someone who has studied it in a program. I have a spiritual director who has a degree in spiritual direction and pastoral counseling. She is a sister from a different community. I'm a sister but I couldn't be anyone's spiritual director (friend, yes; source of information, maybe... but not a spiritual director!). My job is a teacher.

Just be careful that you really feel comfortable with the person, can share openly and honestly with them, and that they have adequate experience to really help you!

[/quote]

Hi Sister Marie!

I'm 14 (turning 15 this October). As for my relationship with my parents, I somehow distanced myself from them over the years but I'm closer to my mom than to my dad. I'm much closer to other people, though.

Thanks for your tip! I'll try to tell them when they're in a good mood.

So I should ask around if there is a religious sister who has been trained in spiritual direction?

-7discerning7


#8

[quote="7discerning7, post:7, topic:330108"]
Hi Sister Marie!

I'm 14 (turning 15 this October). As for my relationship with my parents, I somehow distanced myself from them over the years but I'm closer to my mom than to my dad. I'm much closer to other people, though.

Thanks for your tip! I'll try to tell them when they're in a good mood.

So I should ask around if there is a religious sister who has been trained in spiritual direction?

-7discerning7

[/quote]

Since you are so young make sure your parents are part of this conversation but I bet there would be someone willing to speak with you. Prayers for you!


#9

[quote="SrMarie, post:8, topic:330108"]
Since you are so young make sure your parents are part of this conversation but I bet there would be someone willing to speak with you. Prayers for you!

[/quote]

Thank you very much!


#10

I'm open to other suggestions!


#11

Ave Maria!

Although these are directed at men considering the priesthood, I think it applies also to anyone discerning religious life.


"Am I allowed to date while in the seminary?
The seminary is like the engagement period for a couple: you do not date others if you desire to create a true relationship with your intended. Likewise, to truly prepare for and discern the calling to priesthood in the seminary, you should not be dating." *-From the Celibacy FAQ at the diocese of Bridgeport.

**"My first advice is that if the young man wants to discern priesthood, then he cannot date, because you cannot “date” two women at the same time, i.e, both the girl and the priesthood. He must make a choice of which one to discern—priesthood or marriage." **-from a priest from the diocese of La Crosse.

Spiritual direction - you can always receive direction by phone, email, or letter if distance is a problem.

Guard and protect this special calling or else it will be snatched away. In time God will reveal to you if He really wants you to be a religious or to be married, in which case God will be preparing a husband for you, but in due time. You must be patient and surrender to Him completely. In either case, you want to pursue holiness by trying to go to daily Mass, meditation, Rosary, confession, reading the lives of the saints and imitating their virtues, especially purity and chastity, etc. (Remember your job is to become a saint, whether as a religious or married, and there are many saints from both states to inspire you.)

*"A religious vocation is the greatest grace God can give a soul after holy Baptism,” *-St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi

“The Religious State is like the Promised Land; it is Paradise on Earth; it is a great Grace.” -St. Alphonsus de Liguori

"Is not that a holy state in which a man lives more purely, falls more rarely, rises more speedily, walks more cautiously, is bedewed with the waters of grace more frequently, rests more securely, dies more confidently, is cleansed more quickly, and rewarded more abundantly?" -St. Bernard

*"The vocation is a grace not given to everybody. But it can be, even today, given to many: to many strong and pure young people, to many souls longing for a higher beauty in their life, longing for perfection, with a passion for the salvation of their fellow man. We pray that it be so. Is there perhaps someone listening to our humble talk now, who hears within him Jesus' majestic voice?" *-Pope Paul VI

Consecrate yourself to Our Lady, and put your vocation in Her most loving hands. She, who is the Seat of Wisdom, will guide you more effectively and perfectly to Her Son, than anyone else who ever lived or will live on earth.

Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us! Ave Maria!

fra John Paul


#12

Hi Fra John Paul!

Wow! Thanks for taking the time to respond to my thread!

Spiritual direction - you can always receive direction by phone, email, or letter if distance is a problem.

Who should I seek spiritual direction from? A priest or a sister? Sister Marie (in post above yours) suggested that I seek spiritual direction from a sister.

Guard and protect this special calling or else it will be snatched away.

What do you mean by this?

(Remember your job is to become a saint, whether as a religious or married, and there are many saints from both states to inspire you.)

Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I think that one can only become a saint only if you enter the religious life.

Consecrate yourself to Our Lady, and put your vocation in Her most loving hands. She, who is the Seat of Wisdom, will guide you more effectively and perfectly to Her Son, than anyone else who ever lived or will live on earth.

Yes, definitely! Thank you!

God bless,
7discerning7


#13

I'm still open for more advice!


#14

It is beautiful that you are considering this. I am a lay person and probably not nearly as knowledgeable as your other responders, but I do have a piece of advice. Try volunteering for things at your church and around the community. Many Nuns live lives devoted to serving people around them. How about volunteering at a nearby retirement home, in a soup kitchen, helping younger kids to study their subjects, maybe you could help teach a religious ed. class to kindergartners, etc. This could at least give you a little more to help discern than just "praying and waiting for God to answer."


#15

Another thing I meant to mention regards the "dating" thing.

Dating in your teens and as a young adult will be awkward, exciting, confusing, and fun, no matter what your vocation is.

Think more in terms of the full realization of the different vocations. (i.e. don't think in terms of dating but instead becoming a Wife and Mother vs. a Nun)

When I was thinking of becoming a Priest when I was younger the Priest I spoke to about it said God will speak to your heart and you will feel if you belong here or not (I was at the seminary). Maybe you could visit a convent even for a day?


#16

Hi!

Thanks for your reply!

I am a lay person and probably not nearly as knowledgeable as your other responders, but I do have a piece of advice.

That’s alright. I’m open for advice from anybody-religious or not.

Try volunteering for things at your church and around the community.

I play piano and violin (mostly piano) for the church-I was just invited to play for a few Sunday Masses at a nearby convent’s chapel. (The nuns there take care of the sick and the aged.) Is that kind of volunteering okay?

Think more in terms of the full realization of the different vocations. (i.e. don’t think in terms of dating but instead becoming a Wife and Mother vs. a Nun)

I think that a nun is [kinda] a wife to Christ and a mother to all (like the Mother Superiors that some sister I know talk about). I think highly of both states (vocational state and having a family) but I don’t know what He wants–I want to do what He wants me to do.

Maybe you could visit a convent even for a day?

Maybe… A sister brought that up to my mom once and my mom didn’t seem to want to leave me by myself for that day-my mom wanted to come, too.

-7discerning7


#17

I don’t see any reason your mom can’t go along with you.


#18

[quote="Pablopedro, post:17, topic:330108"]
I don't see any reason your mom can't go along with you.

[/quote]

The sister didn't want any parents. I don't really know why.

-7discerning7


#19

Maybe your mom just wants you to be a little older before you go on your own. That’s ok you still have plenty of time to make your decision.


#20

Hmm… Yeah, that’s probably why.


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