I’m a convert and my family is evangelical protestant and some non-religious. My protestant family members do not understand certain aspects of Catholicism (celibate life being good and holy, monasteries, cloistered religious, teachings on suffering, obedience to the Church, confession, etc. etc.) and they think I’m too into the faith. It scares them, and I want to be able to help them understand that I haven’t joined some cult or evil oppressive religion, but anything good I say is labelled as coming from brainwashing or something. The only thing they can liken monasteries to are Jonestown and Amish communities, which are obviously very different from the various Catholic communities of celibate people. Evangelicals just don’t have an equivalent to this lifestyle and vocation. Also, “strange” Catholic teachings on sex and contraception also makes this particular subject a little touchy, as well as the child abuse scandals and non acceptance of gay marriage.
My family wants me to be healthy and happy, and to them that means going out to bars like normal people my age, and becoming a doctor or some other successful professional, while applying Christian morality to my life in a moderate way. But that’s not my calling and that’s not how I want to live. I know I have a vocation to some sort of celibate life, and because I’m looking into specific communities now, my family is becoming more uncomfortable. Their own daughter/sister/cousin/niece becoming a sister or lay apostolate? They can’t believe it. Going off to live away from my family, without a husband or career? It is so… not protestant. I love my family very much and want especially my mother to be at least comfortable with the direction my life is going. But if they can’t accept who God is shaping me to be, and I believe religious life is where God truly wants me to be then I’ll go join a community regardless of what my family thinks.
But how can I help them understand? What is the best way to handle the situation? Is there a saint who has writings or something about how his family didn’t want him to live in a radically different way? I’m just looking for some advice and an example on how to move forward with my vocation while respecting my family and trying to make this easier for them. I don’t want to cut them off and I don’t want them to feel cut off. But at the same time, I gotta do what I gotta do.