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JoyfulLife

News About My Discernment

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the171
[quote name='HopefulBride' timestamp='1319493684' post='2326452']
The All Saints sisters look like a wonderful community. Strangely I had never heard of them before. Their habit reminds me of that of an Anglican community who recently came home to the Church.

Continued prayers for you Joyful.
[/quote]

They are those sisters. :) hahaahah

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JoyfulLife
I don't know who told me about that All Saints Order. I just emailed all that seemed semicontemplative, but I'm not sure if they even are?


I also got a new email from solisisters.ca, and Sister really encouraged me that people can live holy lives and do much good in the world. Sister is encouraging more that perhaps my health issues are a problem to religious life, and maybe He closed doors. Sister suggests what I already have about having a spiritual director, and frequenting mass, confession, prayer, adoration, etc. and Sister suggests doing works of mercy.

I would have to disagree with the health issues she brought up. My main mental issue is symptom-free with medication; when sleep disturbances come, the sleeping pill helps that; and as for the fatigue, anxiety and depression, the doctors are still working on that, but there is no doubt in my mind that the right medicines will be arranged and in some time I will be functioning well enough to live in an Order, when everything is right, and it's God's timing. Sister (with solisisters.ca) seems to think that is would be a big toll on my health on all areas in living the religious life, but isn't that what discernment is all about? Trying the life when you feel it's the right Order, and seeing if it is your calling and God has given the health to live it? Edited by JoyfulLife

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the171
[quote name='JoyfulLife' timestamp='1319502438' post='2326596']
I don't know who told me about that Order. I just emailed all that seemed semicontemplative, but I'm not sure if they even are?
[/quote]

They are very. Keep in mind, they are Anglican-Usage. Still Catholic.

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HopefulBride
[quote name='the171' timestamp='1319502629' post='2326601']

They are very. Keep in mind, they are Anglican-Usage. Still Catholic.
[/quote]

No wonder they reminded of an Anglican Community...

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JoyfulLife
The fse and the RSM seem very intellectual, but mostly the fse. I wonder if all of them are like that, because I don't know how "at home" I would feel around them. :idontknow:

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HopefulBride
[quote name='JoyfulLife' timestamp='1319504351' post='2326619']
The fse and the RSM seem very intellectual, but mostly the fse. I wonder if all of them are like that, because I don't know how "at home" I would feel around them. :idontknow:
[/quote]

Don't sell yourself short Joyful. If there is any reason you feel a need to get to know the FSE or the RSM you should definitely do it. I felt the same way about Carmel and tried to avoid it; primarily because I knew I wasn't called to enclosure. However, it was in being open to visit them that I truly discovered what God was calling me to. Though I know God is not calling me there, I am sure that being the time I spent in discernment with them helped me to truly realize that God was calling me to live a life of contemplation as well as an active life.

Hopefully you get clarity as you move forward.

Pax,
HB

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beatitude
[quote name='JoyfulLife' timestamp='1319504351' post='2326619']
The fse and the RSM seem very intellectual, but mostly the fse. I wonder if all of them are like that, because I don't know how "at home" I would feel around them. :idontknow:
[/quote]

Dear Joyful,

I think you need to remind yourself of what Sr Marie wrote a few weeks back:

[quote]One of the things I hear you doing in your discernment is trying to find a community that is able to accept you as you feel you are. While there is some need to match oneself to a community I'm worried that you are selling yourself and your future community short. One of the things that makes consecration in religious life so amazing is that all of us is consecrated - the sick, anxious, and difficult parts are all given over to God for Him to do as He pleases with them. That's why it is so important to be willing to allow those things to come into play however God chooses them to.

I think you are being very practical, as the world is practical, about thinking of an apostolate you think you could do, a charism that speaks to you, an amount of community living that suits you... The problem is that God could be calling you to something completely different and you might be severely limiting yourself to what you think you are able to do. After all, we know we "can do all things in Him who strengthens" us.

Trust me, I am not saying that you should pretend that you don't have some difficulties to think about - you do - I do - all of us do. It is really mature to be so aware of them and be able to responsibly disclose them and try to keep them in mind as you discern - but they are not your only factors in discernment - which I think you are aware of.[/quote]

It is right to be aware of your limitations, but remember that they are [i]your[/i] limitations - not God's! I used to think that I would never cope as a member of a secular institute. I thought I needed to be either married or in a religious community, because I'm too distractible and prone to selfishness to lead a Christian life without the support of a husband or a group of sisters. I was sure I would just bumble and procrastine my way through my days, starting many good projects and finishing none, as a consequence of my natural impulsiveness. I also doubted my ability to be disciplined with myself in things like holy poverty. The flesh is weak, and even the spirit is not-so-willing. ;)

But it seems as though life as a vowed single woman is where I'm headed. These days I think a lot of something Corrie ten Boom once said: "Don't ask yourself, 'What can I do?' but, 'What can He not do?'".

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JoyfulLife
I'm not trying to judge what I could do apostolate wise, I'm just wondering about the community part, of getting along with the Sisters. I once met a fse and we just didn't mix; she was older, more intellectual, and just a different type of person. I seem like a young, sweet, not-super intellectual, fun (dancing, joking, laughing), outgoing-when-you-get-to-know-me, shy-in-the-beginning, person. I'm quirky. My friend says I'm quite unique. I knew an intellectual woman and it just stirred up pride in me in being around her, and I didn't feel comfortable around her.

A part of discerning orders is discerning the community of sisters and seeing if you feel at home with them. So, it just makes me wonder about these intellectual sisters...

I'm wondering how open the LA order would be to me if they knew my health issues. It's interesting. I told a friend my let down with the SsEW and a month or so later, she emailed me a mention of that LA order because of what they wrote about their Order. She thought it was really good spirituality. This is without her even knowing that they may be open to me. :idontknow:

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Sister Marie
There is definitely an "at-home-ness" you feel when you have found a community that God could possibly be calling you to, however, it isn't usually because of the personalities of the sisters and is much more because of the charism. Labelling as "intellectual" or "funloving" or "mean" or "serious" or "joyful" or anything else is a really easy way to forget that people are much much more than their exterior (I am not suggesting that you are labelling or judging at all... I am just cautioning against something that can happen very naturally after the very normal act of observing someone else.). The result of this can be that we limit another's person to only that which we can observe and we aren't open to what God is speaking in them.

Personality matters very little to charism and spirituality. Personality is important to the spiritual life and God builds upon our interests, gifts, and talents but underneath that even deeper is a spirit that has been put in our hearts and purifies all of those exterior things to work for the good He has intended. From the outside other people might say that I am a very serious all business type of girl; I can get kinda intense. I live with a sister who is the EXACT opposite of me and sometimes there is a little discomfort for both of us but THANK GOD! Without her more sensitive and gentle touch I wouldn't be evened out. Even though her happy-go-lucky self can get on my nerves sometimes... I need her expression of the charism we both share in our hearts to balance the expression of it in me. Not only does she balance me but she challenges me to overcome my own hangups as I'm sure I challenge her to overcome some of her own.

She also shows me another face of God. If I were only with people like myself I would never realize that sometimes God isn't interested in theological thoughts... sometimes He just wants to be with me... sometimes He isn't interested in all the "doing" I'm up to... sometimes He just wants me to enjoy Him... sometimes He isn't focused on all the work that has to be done... sometimes He wants me to celebrate. Without sisters who are seemingly the opposite of me, I would be loving a very one - dimensional and limited God. It would be a very unrealistic and very depressing faith without the excitement of seeing God present and working in so many different vessels. That knowledge "redeems", in a way, my own personality/shortcomings.

The really amazing and beautiful sight is to see each sister's heart beating with the same spirit while it looks differently on the outside and each compliments and builds up the other even when it seems to make things more difficult. It is such a tangible expression of the Body of Christ on Earth and the diversity is truly something to be treasured as a gift of grace and a means of salvation.

I'm sorry if I'm talking too much... but I just think that you have so much to give and so much room in your heart to receive that I would hate for you to box yourself in somewhere "safe" and lose out on all the passionate living there is to be done! God has so many wonderful things in store for you wherever He has called you. God bless you!

Sister Marie

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beatitude
[quote name='JoyfulLife' timestamp='1319668301' post='2327465']
I'm not trying to judge what I could do apostolate wise, I'm just wondering about the community part, of getting along with the Sisters. I once met a fse and we just didn't mix; she was older, more intellectual, and just a different type of person. I seem like a young, sweet, not-super intellectual, fun (dancing, joking, laughing), outgoing-when-you-get-to-know-me, shy-in-the-beginning, person. I'm quirky. My friend says I'm quite unique. I knew an intellectual woman and it just stirred up pride in me in being around her, and I didn't feel comfortable around her.[/quote]

I think this is going to be the case no matter what community you enter. Sisters are just like any other group of people: they've all got different personalities, skills, and weaknesses, and part of the challenge of religious life is to learn how to love and get along with such a diverse group of companions - even people you wouldn't have chosen to have as your friends if you hadn't ended up in the same convent. This is how we grow in holiness. If you have a tendency to pride, you don't overcome it by avoiding people who bring out the proud streak in you. You can't do that all your life. It just isn't practical, for one thing - even if you aren't a nun, you can't manage to avoid everyone who rubs you up the wrong way, or who makes you feel more conscious about your weaknesses. (Even though it can be unpleasant, I think we should thank God for such people - if it weren't for them, how would we know what we need to work on?)

[quote]A part of discerning orders is discerning the community of sisters and seeing if you feel at home with them. So, it just makes me wonder about these intellectual sisters...


[/quote]

Yes, but you shouldn't judge the atmosphere of a particular community by one sister. You should also bear in mind that you will change as you get older, and your tastes now might not be your tastes in twenty years' time. I think it was Blessed John Henry Newman who said, "To live is to change, and to have changed often." Don't expect to stay the same. Jesus said, "Behold, I make all things new." :)

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JoyfulLife
Sister Marie and Beatitude, you've given me much to think about. Thank you so much for your great messages. :)

Beatitude, I see what you are saying about people changing with time, but I don't imagine my basic personality would change? I doubt I could become an intellectual focused person, not with my learning challenges. All my life education has been rough for me; I just don't learn and retain like regular people.

I do agree that I will change in some ways, I just don't know what. Hopefully I'll change for the better. I hope to be more mature, humble, trusting and loving. Edited by JoyfulLife

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beatitude
[quote name='JoyfulLife' timestamp='1319673365' post='2327495']
Sister Marie and Beatitude, you've given me much to think about. Thank you so much for your great messages. :)

Beatitude, I see what you are saying about people changing with time, but I don't imagine my basic personality would change? I doubt I could become an intellectual focused person, not with my learning challenges. All my life education has been rough for me; I just don't learn and retain like regular people.[/quote]

Having particular problems with learning is more about neurology than personality. Somebody with severe dyslexia is never going to become a fluent reader, for example. But the way they relate to their disability could change. I used to teach a boy with such severe dyslexia that he couldn't remember the spelling of his own name reliably, and his response to his challenges was to disrupt the rest of the class, throw his weight around, and be a bully. It was his way of covering up how miserable and inadequate he felt - he just acted like he didn't care. He also used to pretend that he could read fluently. If a teacher who didn't know him handed him a book and said, "Please put this in Mrs K's in-tray," he would take the book and not admit that he couldn't read the names on the staff in-trays.

He's not like this any more. His reading age is still about seven years below his chronological age, perhaps more, but he has a different approach now. He will be honest about his reading problem, and he will say that it makes him upset. Instead of tearing up his work when he gets frustrated, he asks for help from the assistant. He's become more friendly with his peers too, and he even trusts one or two of them enough to let them help him with the work. They don't make him feel bad. He will never be a great reader, but he is already a very different person from the angry and sullen twelve-year-old he was when I got to know him. I don't think your own learning difficulties will go away, but I do think a time will come when you no longer feel embarrassed or inadequate in the company of people who are your opposite.

I have some personal experience of this. In objective terms, I'm an intellectual. My IQ was measured by an educational psychologist when I was a child, and it's far higher than average. I'm in grad school. But I also have some brain damage, sustained when I was born, and this can make me appear slow - in how I reply to questions, for example. It always takes me a bit longer to process other people's speech. Sometimes I feel like a robot saying 'pardon' all the time. It means that people often write me off as not very bright, when truthfully I'm probably smarter than they are. This used to drive me mad. I got so competitive all the time because I was desperate to show that I really wasn't stupid. Certain people brought out this side of me, and I began to dislike them for making me feel bad. But things are different now. I know that some of my classmates have decided I'm not a good student. I can tell. But I no longer mind. I have a gentleness now that I didn't have before. I don't know how I got it - it's pure gift from God, not anything I did. When I hear people suppressing giggles at the silly mistakes I make whenever the teacher calls on me, I feel at peace. My problems haven't gone away, any more than yours will, but the way I think about them has changed. With God anything is possible.

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