I have something to say.
I am being called to religious life. I have said before that i think God is calling me to be a Carmelite nun. But lately i have been really interested in the cloistered Poor Clares. I can’t seem to hear God like i used to when he was first calling me. I just dont know what order he wants me to be in. I have contacted the carmelite sisters in Santa Fe but i haven’t visited them yet. And i really want to find out more about the Poor Clare nuns in Indiana. I just dont know if it is God trying to tell me something or if it is my own desires to be a poor clare. I am just confused. Please pray for me.
The best way may be to visit both.
I’m not really familiar with either, so what I say here may not be relevant. Look into what they’re charism is and see which one better fits yours. It sounds like both are cloistered, so you’re going to have to see if you fit better in a Carmelite spirituality or a Franciscan spirituality (Poor Clare’s are the 2nd Order established by St. Francis).
Carmelite nuns are hermits that live in community. They work in private, they pray, eat, and recreate (loudly, I’ve been told :D) in community.
Poor Clare nuns do more of their work together, though still in silence. They also pray, eat, and recreate (again, loudly :D) in community.
I found it interesting to look over the schedule of prayer each community follows: the Carmelites spend two hours each day in contemplative prayer, for example, while the Poor Clares do not. As a contemplative nun, prayer will be your life in the Church, so look at how and when and where the sisters pray together and in private.
And God speaks to us through our desires! It’s not as if you’re wondering whether you should be a Carmelite or a drug dealer! If your heart longs for Carmel, God is probably calling you there. But if your heart is longing for the Poor Clares, follow Him there. Be in communication with each community, visit both, and follow where God draws you through your longing.
God bless you, dear sister in Christ.
Gertie (former contemplative Benedictine postulant and novice)
Congratulations. I’m still discerning my vocation, and while I do think God “calls” everyone I think it’s fantastic that you’re searching for life and fulfilment with Him.
The best thing would probably be to visit both communities and see where your heart lies. While God’s Will should be followed, you also need to feel happy and secure. Pray for guidance and trust in the Lord. I will keep you in my intentions.
Every time I have been called to something by God, it ends up being the feeling just really wanting/needing to do it. Trust your interior calls. Maybe you are hearing Him better than you think.
I thought everyone gave very good advice here. Please let us know how it goes.
The Carmelites and the Poor Clares have different spiritualities. I suggest you learn as much as you can about both of them.
You will not only need to want to join the community, but the community has to want you as well. So a lot of your choice will depend on how you get along with the sisters, how well you fit in with the community.
I suggest you visit both communities and then you can learn about both. They also have vocation directors that can talk to you and point you in the right direction. Are you better fit for an active order or a contemplative one? Carmelite or Poor Clare? I remember reading about Mother Angelica, her first visit was to an active order and the director there thought she was better suited for a contemplative one. And just the opposite has also happened: someone wanted to be contemplative but their spiritual director told them to be active.