Vocation - religious life?


#1

I just discovered vocation network on another post so I thought I’d post here just in case I’m missing a resource or tip.

I’ve been discerning for a few months now… it will take even more time but I have a spiritual director helping me. It makes me feel calm and peaceful when I think about joining an Order. I just have no idea how to go about choosing an Order because there are so many to choose from!

I am also struggling with doubts that I am not good enough - with my past (although truthfully God did a good job of keeping me on the straight and narrow), plus my sins have been brought to the Confessional.

I know there is a Nuns life blog but I kind of want to find a fairly new sister and pick her brain. Especially one that is older such as myself and had some life experience before hearing the call. I am 32 and sadly I know too old for some orders already.

I am so ready to give all of my life to God. He has been so patient and loving to me to wait for me all these years!

I thought I was looking for an active contemplative order but now I am seeing there might be a special place for me within a contemplative order. I am an INFJ to a T. I am praying that God opens my heart to wherever he wants me to go.

I am still open to dating but again, praying that God changes my desires to match his.

Thank you.


#2

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance, direction, strength, fortitude & wisdom in your discernment.


#3

What makes you so convinced his will is for you to go into religious life? How do you know his will isn´t for you to marry?

Why do you have to pray he change you to be something you are not?

If you want to date, there is NOTHING wrong with that. I don´t know that it’s inherently “better” to go into religious life.

Had you ever considered that maybe you could date AND do God’s will at the same time?

“To thine own self be true”, Shakespeare.

Be yourself. :thumbsup:


#4

If you’re feeling called to a contemplative order, then try our site: cloisters.tripod.com/

We do have Canadian monasteries listed on the “International Cloisters” page.

If you can make a cloistered retreat at a Visitation monastery, I would suggest doing so.

Blessings,
Cloisters


#5

Dear Canadiannurse,

I think I know what you mean about praying for God to change your desires to match His. Inasmuch as we are disordered - and excepting the saints, we are all somewhat disordered (by attachments, by sins, by imperfections, etc.) - we are not completely conformed to Christ. We should always be asking God to conform our wills to His, to change our desires to His - this was a common prayer for many of the saints. Even Jesus Christ says, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.”

As Clearwater says, His will for you could be married life. . . I am sure that as long as you continue to ask for His Will and are open and to following whatever the path He plans for you, He will show you. “For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Trust Him, and don’t let yourself be worried by feeling time running out. The devil wants you to feel stressed and anxious so that you do not trust and rely on God and try to take matters into your own hands.

My advice to you is this:

Pray - especially for an increase in love of God. Offer some sacrifices with your prayer - i.e. no cream and sugar with your coffee. Meet with your spiritual director, don’t hold anything back and be OBEDIENT. Read the Bible and some other spiritual reading daily. Go to daily mass. Go to adoration. Go to Confession every other week. Make a daily prayer for your vocation, and try to practice remembering the presence of God. I had a friend to hold me accountable in my spiritual life - this was very helpful to me.

Do not be concerned about the fit of the lifestyle (for me, contemplative instead of active/contemplative), or struggling to find the best fit for what you think you’re called to - but rather, pursue the things, places and people through which God speaks to your heart. What fills you with love of Him? Maybe it is a book, a style of prayer, a way of life, another person. Follow that (as long as it is approved by the Catholic Church!). And as St. Ignatius tells us, do not change your course of action in times of desolation.

I know this was long. . . I hope it was helpful! I’ll pray for you.


#6

I can relate to your post so I thought my own story might be helpful to you - but my response was already too long, so I separated my story and am posting it separately.

I am also an INTJ. . . I felt called, but a few years ago it really increased, and for six months I kept searching heavily without finding. . . it frustrated me and threw me for an emotional loop. Like you, I felt called to an active/contemplative order. But unlike Cinderella, none of the shoes fit! It was like. . . I could see the beauty in so many orders, but they weren’t MINE. . . They were all beautiful and good and I couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to discern between them. I began to doubt whether or not I was actually called.

I retreated into prayer as often. . . sometimes frustrated with myself to the point of tears in the early hours of the morning. I offered sacrifices to join with my prayers, both for myself and others. Inasmuch as I could I went to daily Mass, adoration, and confession every two weeks, prayed a daily rosary and Stations of the Cross, and added to my Morning Offering each day the intention of the discernment of my vocation. I asked - and still ask - God to ever increase my love of Him.

At some point, I stopped researching active/ contemplative orders as heavily. I did, however, pursue things that moved my heart and lifted it up to Christ. . . reading books by Catholic authors who seemed to speak to me, etc. A very good friend wanted to read “Story of a Soul,” the autobiography of a Carmelite nun (St. Therese of Lisieux) with me. Shortly after starting this book, I began a novena to St. Therese asking for the discernment of my vocation. During that novena and my reading, I became curious about the Discalced Carmelites, so I researched them - more to get the background information for the book than anything else. And lo and behold, it was like. . . AT LAST! AT LAST! I felt like Adam - “This AT LAST is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” Like they were speaking my language, straight to my heart. I had not looked into the Discalced Carmelites before because they are entirely contemplative.

Shortly after, I found that so many of the things that moved me towards God - the poems of St. John of the Cross, the works of St. Teresa of Avila - were from Carmelite Spirituality. Even my prayer life was Carmelite in method. I fell in love with the spirituality, and have since fallen in love with the lifestyle - and everything else about it! I read Divine Intimacy daily - this is a book with daily Carmelite meditations - and it always, without fail, changes my perspective and lifts my heart to prayer. Nothing else moves me towards God like Carmel.

I have visited two Discalced Carmelite Monasteries over the past two years, and am planning a third visit - to a Monastery which happens to be the first to have St. Therese as its titular saint!


#7

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