Teenaged discerner

Hello, I am 16 and have been discerning religious life for awhile now. And im pretty sure i have a religious vocation. Other than being a teenager and rather scared out of mind, there is one twist. I practically already have a career in robotics engineering. I have been doing it for years and love all things robots. Colleges and companies have been trying to recruit me. So, if i leave the world to become a Sister, i would pretty much have to leave my robots behind… Does anybody have any advice for a very scared and confused me???

Sounds like a tough one! I'm 17 and though I'm not exactly "discerning" I've been open to the possibility of a religious vocation. I don't know what kind of person you are or any other important circumstances, but I'd suggest, if you can, to get a tour of a college and/or company as well as whatever religious orders you're considering, just to get a taste of them. I was able to get a tour of Josephinum Pontifical College down in Ohio and I was REALLY impressed with pretty-much everything about the place; if I were trying to become a priest, that's the *one* college I'd love to be in. (In fact, I'd love to be there regardless!) I'd also suggest looking around at different orders too - there's got to be some robot-savvy sisters somewhere out there in this day and age. 

Hope that helps!

ive gone on a few college tours but i have not gone and toured any convents. I want to, but my parents dont exactly approve. They seem to think that it is just a phase that i will grow out of when i get to engineering school.

Ive looked, the closest thing to “robot-savy” sisters are the Daughters of Saint Paul and Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist. DSP, are the techy ones that do allot with communications thorough media. DSMME because i do know of one Sister who teaches sciences and had a PhD in electrical engineering before she followed her vocation.

Hunny, don’t worry about it. You have plenty of time to figure things out. It’s wonderful that you are discerning and you feel pretty sure of what God wants for you but want and see if that is what God really wants for you. I have been in your shoes.

I started discerning when I was a freshmen in high school. I was certain that He wanted me to be a nun but over time i found I would go back and forth between marriage and the religious life. Once I entered college I got a spiritual director to help me with my discerning. (I’m a sophomore in college for aerospace engineering). With lots of reflection and help i have found that what I felt as a religious vocation was for the time being, much simpler. Christ was inviting me to give my all in daily life to Him, to have a deeper relationship with Him. However, I am still discerning His will for me, where he wants me in the world and how He wants me to serve him but He has yet to tell me this information. He wants to really focus on getting me to know Him and love Him at the moment. He will tell me where I am supposed to be when He deems right.

God has many ways to use are talents and he takes that into consideration when lets you know where you are supposed to be. For the time being, focus on glorifying God with your studies and getting to know Him, but still be open to where ever He may place you, whether it is marriage, single, consecrated, or religious life. Also, think about getting a spiritual director to help you on this journey of discernment. They make out to be great friends once you find the right one for you… Try talking that sister you know that you mentioned in the previous post.

Also, don’t feel alone about having parents who are against it. My mother doesn’t want me to be a sister because she wants grandchildren but luckily she is open to deal with it if it makes me happy. There are plenty of other posters on here with that same problem. Just pray that your parents hearts can be opened by God to be happy with whatever God has in store for you.

I hope this helps. If you need someone to talk to, Your welcome to message me and stuff.

God Bless you OP.

Hey im an 18 year old guy in college. I have been discerning religious life too. I kind of worry about my degree and how I am going to incorporate that with the priesthood. But in your case, I can definitely see how it could be possible for you be a nun and teach at the same time. Thats one way you could combine them

Don’t worry about it. God has many ways of using our talents, even in the lives of the religious. Just let God show you the way and just offer your talents up to him.

Just to let you know, I am 19 yrs old, a few months from being twenty, in my sophomore year at college (studying aerospace engineering) and have been discerning since the beginning of high school. Discerning is a long but worth it process. Just be patient. Focus on your studies and go where the Lord leads you. This is what I have learned so far in my discernment.

It would be best to get a spiritual director too, to help you on this journey. I didn’t get one until I started college and I am so glad I have one now. He is a really good friend.

God Bless.

There are some things you can do.

The thing about a the vocation to be a religious is that you can’t ever just have a vocation to be a religious, it has to be attached to some community. So, the best way to see if that is where God is calling you is to investigate various communities: go and visit, or go on retreats.

Find out what the charisms of these communities are and see if they match with you. For example, if you don’t feel called to live in a cloister, then you can cross those communities off your list.

If you can afford to do a university degree (with savings or scholarships or whatever) then it’s not a bad idea to still go to college. I would avoid anything that would commit you at this point to anything post-graduation though (like if a company offers to pay for your degree if you’ll work for them after or something like that). College is a good place to learn about yourself and to grow.

The last piece of advice is a little harder. It’s much easier to make choices when 1 option is good and the other is evil, but sometimes God asks us to choose between 1 that is good and 1 that is better.

I myself did my undergrad in engineering in a program that included work terms, and one of the companies I worked for seemed interested in having me continue after my degree was finished. That would not have been a bad life, I liked the work, the pay was good, and the hours were good. For me though, it felt like God was calling me to something greater, but it’s not that one option was evil and the other good and holy. I know other guys who had promising careers and financial stability who decided to give them up too.

One question that can always be asked it “does this bring me closer to God?” I’m not making a judgement about people’s interests or hobbies or anything, but sometimes we are asked to sacrifice things that are not themselves evil in order to further our relationship with God.

There are just some different ideas to think about. If you’re 16 then you probably have at least a year (if not two) of high school left, and you do have to finish that first. You’ve got lots of time to think before having to make any decision.

I wouldn’t worry too much about that. There are priests with backgrounds in engineering, sciences (various sciences), education, and we even have a bishop with a background in nursing. BAs just happen the be the most common path, but other degrees are not exactly unheard of.

Thanks everyone for your advice! Most of it was rather helpful and reading what i already knew, but from another person really helps.

Question for any of y’all, (yes, I am from Texas and y’all is a proper noun) How does one go about getting a spiritual director. I’ve been told i need one, but i’m not sure what they do or how to get one.

Also, i know i’m 16, and I know that I have a while to make my decision, but why does it feel as if I need to make the choice like now…? And, along the time thing, why would God call me now, there is virtually nothing i can do in furthering my vocation until im 18. I’m not even old enough to go on most discernment retreats.

A way to get a spiritual director is to ask your local priest and or the vocations director for your dioceses.

Also, the reason that you might feel the call now is to get you thinking about it and to start preparing you for whatever life he is calling you to.

I hope this helps. God Bless!

Thanks! I must look into getting a spiritual director.

Maybe, who knows what God has up His spiritual sleeve.

Is it just me, or is discernment really scary and confusing for everyone???

Confusing, yes. Scary, not necessarily. It just a long process that has you really discover who you are, God, your relationship with Him, and how you could best serve him. In this time he places challenges in front of us that will help develop skills and ourselves to best fit where He is leading us. It has really taught me patience and enjoy the life I have now and in glorifying God who i am and I can give and not worrying about the future. It’s a wonderful time but it does have its trials.

I hoe this helps you understand better. God Bless!

I know some sisters will offer spiritual direction therefore you can always look up a religious order in your area and see if they will help you out. Student centres are great places for example Newman centres are good starts. Since you are in high school, if you school has a chaplain, ask them if they will help you.

Discernment is a lifelong process. One never knows where God will lead. Trust me, I went from wanting to be a Pentecostal pastor towards being a Catholic doula and hospital chaplain. I’m hoping to start training sometime in 2013.

Since you are 16 you still have time yet to make a decision. I will tell you what I told my gifted niece take your time and wait until you are little older before making a decision. I do not recommend that you make a decision until you are about to graduate. If you decide to go either direction and you find that you don’t like the career path you have chosen then you can pick another path.
To go into a religious vocation takes a lot of soul searching and time. Hopefully you will take your time and choose the path that is right for you. You can also get involved in the lay ministry if you go the high tech career path.

Good luck with your career choice.

@secretGarden, what is a Catholic doula?

@everyone, since most of yall are discerning, does anyone else feel a particular closeness to the Mass? more specifically the Eucharist?


Chrish1975, what is a Catholic doula?

It’s great that you are considering a religious vocation. I’m 19 and still discerning whether to study to be a priest or a counselor. You definitely have a great future ahead of you. It seems like you have it narrowed down to robotics and a religious vocation. It’s great that you have desires other than a religious vocation. You may find this to be very beneficial because you will have to wrestle between the two potential careers. I find that the more you wrestle and pray the easier it is to decipher what is your calling card.

My advice for you is to not sweat it too much. Have fun, go on retreats, deepen your faith, and talk to people (especially religious) about your discernment.

Yes! I sometimes Christ’s actual presence in the Eucharist, as if I could see His Divine Soul floating down from heaven into the bread and wine. It is so wonderful.

I specially love Eucharistic Adoration.

God Bless.

It can be quite confusing, and the devil will often try to scare you! I have two children and now I am feeling called to…I will only know when God decides it’s time for me to take that step. For right now I have a Spiritual director to guide me through while I just try to follow Him.

Following Him is the most important part…wherever He leads you will be right. Once you accept that, there is nothing to be afraid of. He will provide you with EVERYTHING you need.


Yup. I’m in that same boat. Aerospace engineering vs the religious life. I just wait and go where the Lord leads me. He got me to this school, to this current major (I was in a different one last year), now it is a matter of waiting for another sign of the direction He wants me to take from here.

My advise, just be patient and pray about it and glorify the Lord where you are in life now.
God bless.

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