What would happen to my mom if I became a nun?


#1

Hello! :)

I am a nineteen-year-old young lady, convert to the Catholic faith. I know that I'm still very young and that I shouldn't worry too much about my vocation, but I think I feel a pull towards the religious life. But I'm worried about this: I am an only child and my parents split up years ago. My father has a girlfriend who could take care of him if I decided to be a nun, but my mother has nobody besides me: she doesn't have close friends, she doesn't speak with her sister and her brothers live pretty far away. Could God call me to be a nun in my circumstances? I don't want my mother to be lonely and taken care of by strangers when she gets older. I love her with all my heart!

I am a very worried person. I know that I probably shouldn't try to plan everything in advance, but it just keeps bothering me...

Any thoughts?

Thank you!

Meggie


#2

My first piece of advice is keep discerning your vocation. Take the future out of the equations and focus on is God calling you to this vocation - that is the first and most important step. Look into what type of order you want to join - whether it be cloistered or active, to work in education or with the ill or elderly, etc.

Your vocation is personal to you, if God is calling He is calling and no circumstance can change that. If He is calling, the Lord will open the doors for you to find your path. All you have to do is choose to take them. Trust that God will make the way for you.

One thing I will say is that as important as it is to honour your parents you must live your life for you, not for your mother. You cannot work your life around your parents: you must work them around your life. If you are truly called to religious life yet give it up for your mother, the calling will not go away. It will still be there and chances are you will end up resenting your mother for keeping you from it. I am sure she would want you to live your calling and to do what would fulfill you.

You can't know the future. Your mother may find a partner who could care for her. If you leave your family home, she might become motivated to find more friends or become closer to her siblings. Perhaps trying to encourage this now would ease your worries.

I will keep you in my prayers.


#3

Pray, and discern. God will undoubtedly make this easier to understand over time, and you have some time.


#4

[quote="Gene_Church, post:3, topic:250461"]
Pray, and discern. God will undoubtedly make this easier to understand over time, and you have some time.

[/quote]

I agree and you sound like a lovely woman. Whatever vocation God chooses to call you to, I will keep you in my prayers. :)


#5

[quote="Meggie18, post:1, topic:250461"]
Hello! :)

I am a nineteen-year-old young lady, convert to the Catholic faith. I know that I'm still very young and that I shouldn't worry too much about my vocation, but I think I feel a pull towards the religious life. But I'm worried about this: I am an only child and my parents split up years ago. My father has a girlfriend who could take care of him if I decided to be a nun, but my mother has nobody besides me: she doesn't have close friends, she doesn't speak with her sister and her brothers live pretty far away. Could God call me to be a nun in my circumstances? I don't want my mother to be lonely and taken care of by strangers when she gets older. I love her with all my heart!

I am a very worried person. I know that I probably shouldn't try to plan everything in advance, but it just keeps bothering me...

Any thoughts?

Thank you!

Meggie

[/quote]

I know how you feel Meggie!! :) I love my mom with all my heart too!!

Well, but I can tell you this: no one knows what life will bring. My mom had a stroke in 2004 and I am her full time caregiver. I can't tell you how blessed I am to have my mom live with me, and to be able to care for my mom. She would have no one if she didn't have me. So I guess we're blessed to have each other :)

I was still able to finish school, and work. So between us, we can arrange to have a caregiver come to the house while I am at work. When I'm not working we don't have a caregiver here. I hope God continues to bless us so that I can continue to care for her.

I can't advise you what to do about your vocation. But I can advise you from one daughter to another that maybe while discerning your vocation, that you talk to the order and see what will happen if your mom should ever need you. There are some orders that would prevent you from caring for her, and there are some that would not. And then of course, it would depend on your Mother Superior. In any event, you should always be well informed before taking vows to make sure all your ducks are in a row :)

Being a nun is not for me. It's something I would never do. So obviously this fact is evident, when I say that if something ever happened to my mom, and my order wouldn't let me take are of her, I would formally leave. My mom is more important to me than any order. That may not be the case for you. That's something you have to discern for yourself or even know whether or not it would even come down to that.


#6

I live in an area of England called The Black Country. If I were replying to your apology for your English in the local speech i'd say "ur, You'm orright, aur wench. It'm bosting!" That means it's O.K. :)


#7

Meggie, continue to discern your vocation and pray that our merciful God will take care of your mother. He would not leave her uncared for.

Your story reminds me of when I read Mother Anglica's biography (the nun who started EWTN), she became a nun and after a while her mother was converted and ended up in the same convent as she was and she was able to take care of her mother. Leave it to God, he has better things than we can even imagine.


#8

Most convents even closters allow fully professed sisters to leave for a time to care for parents.


#9

[quote="beth40n2, post:7, topic:250461"]
Meggie, continue to discern your vocation and pray that our merciful God will take care of your mother. He would not leave her uncared for.

Your story reminds me of when I read Mother Anglica's biography (the nun who started EWTN), she became a nun and after a while her mother was converted and ended up in the same convent as she was and she was able to take care of her mother. Leave it to God, he has better things than we can even imagine.

[/quote]

I didn't know that of Mother Angelica and her mother. That's awesome!!! Meggie, you should ask about that in the perspective convent you are considering.


#10

I am quite a bit older than you (24) but I feel pulled in a similar way. My father is much older than my mother and so my mother will probably be on her own at the end of her life. I feel that her well-being when she gets to be elderly will be my responsibility. And yet I also feel called to live for God and God alone. I guess my best advice would be to keep discerning. My priest said, when I brought this up with him, that if religious life is meant to happen, then it will happen. Just keep listening and thinking about your options and the way will become clear. Or at least I trust that it will. Remember, God has a plan for your life, whatever that may be!

Take care and God bless.
Sarah


#11

Meggie,

I was not an only child but the youngest of nine, and I had the same problem trying to control my desire to please everyone . As long as you are willing to relinquish control when you see yourself using them as an excuse to not pursue your own vocation, you will not become a stalling to your own calling. It will never be easy to tell them the truth about what you feel, nor to leave them, nor to try and change them just a little bit more, before you move on. Ironically, they change for the better when you show them the example and stop trying to change them before you change yourself, usually. Dont' make them a stalling for your calling.

What I suggest is that you love them according to the Gospel more and more and less and less according to your fears and need for security and control. Remember, your past affects you more than you think. Seperation of your parents at a young age, as an only child, leaves you feeling responsible to fix it up, make it all better, as you struggle to not drown in isolation and loneliness, feeling orphaned, split up inside, like someone holding on to the debris of the Titanic after it sank. You want to swim out to your Mom and Dad and make them get into the lifeboat, but you have to get in first, to use analogy. The lifeboat is God's Will, grace reaching out to floaters in life's ocean. You will always be tempted to make sure your parents are o.k. before you do anything, that can become a form of tyranny for yourself and you will get mad at yourself for not being able to make them happy, giving yourself a mission impossible, a cross Jesus never gave you.

What I suggest practically is help your Mom connect as much as possible with her siblings and your Dad with his and with you and especially with Jesus. Jesus firstTell your parents about how you feel Jesus calling you to be all for Him, and your fear of leaving them, honestly, openly, with confidence. Jesus will give you the strength because you are in love with Him. They will see that, and, if they love you, I am sure they do, they will try to understand you, and yes, be afraid of losing you and yet they will see that you are serious about this all at the same time. They don't need to agree with you, only respect your choice. You see, they cannot control you nor impose on you what they think would make you happy anymore than you can on them. It works both ways.

You are living the Gospel passages about loving God more than family. Remember Jesus' words which sound harsh or too demanding- Whoever leaves Father and Mother, Brother and Sister...for my sake or- Whoever puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not worthy of the Kingdom of God, Let the dead bury their dead... or especially-Whoever does not hate Father and Mother, Brother or Sister for my sake, is not worthy of Me...meaning whoever loves their attachment to them or loves them more than Jesus without whom they would not exist. We should desire Jesus' approval, praise and esteem even more than that of our parents. He will love after them, they must choose Him. They must get in the lifeboat-if you wait for them or make them a condition for your Yes to the Lord, you might miss the boat.

Mother Teresa's own mother spent a whole day in her room, when Mother Teresa told her, at eighteen years old, I want to become a nun...then the Mother came courageously out of her room and said: Go! Take Jesus by the nand and walk with Him-do not look back, if you look back, you will go back or you will come back. That is true. You have not reached that point yet but you can practice it even now. You can take Jesus by the hand and leave them in His hands, meaning your parents...If not the greatest charity wanting Jesus for someone, God's Will for someone? Follow Jesus and that is the best way to encourage them to follow Him as well.

Start by talking to your parents and to a good Priest and Jesus will do the rest through the intervention of His Mother. Jesus could of said the same thing as you after all, He is the Single Child who did not want to leave His Mother alone, and make sure His foster-father Jospeh was alright. God took care of the Holy Family too. Traditionally, Joseph passed away, and Jesus left His Mother right when She needed Him the most according to human standards, but not according to the Father's Will. We have so much to learn about real, true, divine love. God Father knows what's best for your Father, the Mother of God knows what's best for your Mother and you want to obey Jesus and the Father's Will, through Mother Church.

My Father died when I was seven years old and I felt obliged to stay with my Mom as long as possible(God rest her soul, she passed away a few months ago with Dementia and yes, was cared for by strangers, but good ones, God arranged everything) I told her of my fears, guilt, anger and desire and she was able to tell me to go to the Seminary and not stay on her account. She could not bear to live knowing she was holding me back from becoming a Priest, though to see me leave would kill her...She was able to give me for the sake of a greater love. I gave once to God before you saw the light of day she said, since the Doctor wanted to abort me, I give you now to God once again. You are not mine, you are His. Thank God for a true Mother's heart. I pray you will go through something similar in your own way but I know you are coming from a convert's perspective in maybe a family that does not accept Religious Life in the first place. God knows that too. Only love matters. They love you, your parents, they would not want to see you miserable on their account. I will pray for you and I'm sure you'll know what to do. No worries.

Fr. Dominic


#12

That was sound advice, Fr. Dominic. Even though I did not have the same problem, it helped me with mine as well. it was a similar problem. Thanks for sharing.

You may be young Meggie but you are not the only one out there with a discernment at a young age. I am eighteen and had discerned for four to five years, all through high school and have found that God wants me to be His Bride. I am not the same person now that I was four years ago. God changed me and is preparing me for the life as His Bride.

Pray, my dear and God will tell you what needs to be done. He is the Ultimate Provider, after all. Trust that He will take care of your mother, as he takes care of all His children.

God Bless, you dear.

Beloved Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, see to that God answers young Meggie and that Meggie's mother finds the help she needs. Mother look to this young child, and guide her to your Holy Son, the King of Kings. Amen.


#13

There is a sister I met at the Recluse Sisters in Montreal who I met when I attended a retreat. She shared her story with the group. She was an only child and from Ontario. I forget her name but you can always contact the order and ask to speak with her or someone like her. The sisters are really nice. If you shared a bit of your story, and your concerns, maybe they will be able to connect you to her. Who knows she might be able to answer some of your questions. She was so nice.

The order speaks both English and French.

Here is the link to the place:
reclusesmiss.org/rm_english.php


#14

Hello everybody :)

Thank you so much for all your answers. I read them carefully and I will print this page to study them again!

However, I am extremely confused. I think about religious life a lot, but I'm not sure that God is really calling me; it's not necessarily because I'm worried about my mom, but because sometimes I don't feel that I would actually love this lifestyle and be useful to people in that way. As you can see, I'm asking myself thousands of questions. Chances are that I'll post again soon!

Thank you once more for your kind answers and personal stories. I truly appreciate it! :)

May God bless you all!

Meggie


#15

[quote="Meggie18, post:14, topic:250461"]
Hello everybody :)

Thank you so much for all your answers. I read them carefully and I will print this page to study them again!

However, I am extremely confused. I think about religious life a lot, but I'm not sure that God is really calling me; it's not necessarily because I'm worried about my mom, but because sometimes I don't feel that I would actually love this lifestyle and be useful to people in that way. As you can see, I'm asking myself thousands of questions. Chances are that I'll post again soon!

Thank you once more for your kind answers and personal stories. I truly appreciate it! :)

May God bless you all!

Meggie

[/quote]

I understand but what God calls us to may not be what we love but we do it as a sacrifice because we love God.

Your welcome.

God Bless,
Kimmy


#16

[quote="DevotedChild, post:15, topic:250461"]
I understand but what God calls us to may not be what we love but we do it as a sacrifice because we love God.

Your welcome.

God Bless,
Kimmy

[/quote]

Thank you for answering. However, I must disagree with your statement. I think that God puts a desire in one's heart for his or her vocation. If, let's say, I felt that I wouldn't be happy in the religious life, but was going for it anyway to "sacrifice myself" in the name of God's love, I believe it wouldn't be right. God wants me to help others and to sacrifice some things, yes, but I think He also wants me to be happy. :)


#17

[quote="Meggie18, post:16, topic:250461"]
Thank you for answering. However, I must disagree with your statement. I think that God puts a desire in one's heart for his or her vocation. If, let's say, I felt that I wouldn't be happy in the religious life, but was going for it anyway to "sacrifice myself" in the name of God's love, I believe it wouldn't be right. God wants me to help others and to sacrifice some things, yes, but I think He also wants me to be happy. :)

[/quote]

Yes, I agree. He does want us to be happy but there are some things He will ask of us that we will not want to do but we do it for love of God. Like that of leaving your family. I will have to do the same and i am very close to my mom as well and leaving her will be a sacrifice I will have to make. That is what I meant. Sorry for the confusion.


#18

Meggie, you are NOT responsible for your mother. If she chooses to live far away from her family, that is HER choice. If she chooses not to have friends, that is HER choice.

IF she does these things because of mental illness (depression, etc.), then you do have an obligation to try to get her the help she needs to deal with those issues.

BUT, in no way are you, as a Christian or as a CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN obligated to give up your life to care for your mother. While caring for a parent is a wonderful thing to do, it is NOT required that you do so. There are social service agencies that can step in, and take care of her; or you may well be able to be a Nun AND still care for her.


#19

[quote="DevotedChild, post:17, topic:250461"]
Yes, I agree. He does want us to be happy but there are some things He will ask of us that we will not want to do but we do it for love of God. Like that of leaving your family. I will have to do the same and i am very close to my mom as well and leaving her will be a sacrifice I will have to make. That is what I meant. Sorry for the confusion.

[/quote]

It seems to me that in the above instance, you are more drawn to religious life and for the love of God than remaining with your mother. For some they may be more drawn to remaining with a parent and for the love of God than to religious life and decide to stay with the parent. A person can receive the Graces for holiness as a parent-carer as much as in religious life. In both instances (leaving a parent for religious life or remaining with the parent) it is God who provides the stronger attraction and the Graces to persevere in whatever is chosen. It is one thing to choose religious life for the love of God and another thing to persevere until final vows. As it is one thing to decide to stay with a parent and another to remain the carer for as long as needed. "All is Grace" (St. Therese of Lisieux).

St. Teresa of Avila , as an example, really felt the leaving of her family very deeply, but she was very much drawn to religious life in spite of this. Her stronger attraction was to religious life.

Originally Posted by Meggie18 forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_khaki/viewpost.gif
Thank you for answering. However, I must disagree with your statement. I think that God puts a desire in one's heart for his or her vocation. If, let's say, I felt that I wouldn't be happy in the religious life, but was going for it anyway to "sacrifice myself" in the name of God's love, I believe it wouldn't be right. God wants me to help others and to sacrifice some things, yes, but I think He also wants me to be happy. :)

You are quite correct to my mind. If one has an attraction to sacrificing all things even their personal happiness, then that is their attraction - although it would be doubtful I think that the person would persevere in an unhappy state. I tend to think that if they do indeed persevere, then they have found personal happiness rather than the unhappiness anticipated.
Human beings are naturally driven to seek happiness.

TS


#20

19 is not "very young". Certainly it's young, but old enough to be making decisions about your own life. Now, separate out the 2 issues:

1 A vocation? Think and pray on this SEPARATELY from the Mom issue. Think about a vocation for the rest of your life just as a decision by itself. And, no one can make this decision alone, if you have started contacting religious orders, feel free to call them, ask to speak to a sister, find out what life is like, or write to them, and talk maybe to your priest or any other religious that might be at nearby parishes. Look at this as an open exploration, not a crushing burden to decide, but a revelation that will unfold to you as you seek and ask and read about a religious life. Just take one step at a time.

You are a bit obsessive, and you should also get counsel for that in making these decisions. Most 19 year olds are not afraid to plan their own careers because maybe someday their mother will get sick.

2 Mom. I don't see why this is even an issue. She has a sister she is not speaking to. Well, that is your Mom's problem, not yours. Maybe she better start mending that relationship. She also has brothers "far away". Before you enter the convent you make it clear to them if Mom gets sick they better have a plan. Most families do. She might move in with one of them. People do move you know.

Also, presumably your Mom will have social security, medicare and if necessary medicaid in her older years. Who knows if any of us will, with Obama destroying the country. But if things get on a normal course, she will have an income, even if basic. Seems to me if your Mom takes responsibility to plan for her financial future and to cultivate her family relationships, she should not be expecting her daughter to be some sort of lifelong caregiver.


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