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nunsense

Our Lady Of The Rock Benedictine Monastery

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marigold
Wow, nunsense. Thanks for taking the time to write all that out as a response to vocation forever. Balanced and nuanced and compassionate. If this is the side of you that OLotR is bringing out, then I say thanks be to God :nun3:

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Immanuel
Nunsense: As the future of their community and with all of your tech/computer know-how, I'm hoping that eventually one of your responsibilities will be the blog :) Then all of us here can still benefit from your growing wisdom of Benedictine spirituality.
I'm so happy that you have found your home :nun1:

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nunsense
[quote name='Immanuel' timestamp='1328992720' post='2385536']
Nunsense: As the future of their community and with all of your tech/computer know-how, I'm hoping that eventually one of your responsibilities will be the blog :) Then all of us here can still benefit from your growing wisdom of Benedictine spirituality.
I'm so happy that you have found your home :nun1:
[/quote]

As a baby in Benedictine spirituality, I wouldn't presume to think I had anything to offer there, but my fingers have been itching to get to their blog, just to keep it updated more often! -- It might be awhile before I get entrusted with something like that, but maybe someday? :P

I would also like to see some updated photos (one of the nuns in a white veil has long since changed to black now) and the website has been the same forever and a day - and even though it is lovely - it needs some energy put into it again.

Baby steps though... one day at a time. :) I want to be like my baby grandson - it was a joy to watch him running and staggering around the room on his cute little baby legs, falling down and laughing a lot, completely open and trusting. :heart:

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Totally Franciscan
Nunsense, I am so very grateful to God that you have found a home at OLTR. I have put you on my prayer list that God give you the grace and perseverence to fulfill His Divine Will for you. I have a question. I notice that you mention that you had been in four previous communities. I have been in two and have always wondered if a prospective community would wonder about why those communities did not work out for you. Of course, this community is accepting you with loving arms, but I wonder if you had encountered this and how you handled it for my own future reference. I have a grandson too, and I wonder how you will handle not being around him. I have a feeling my daughter will be quite upset if I decide and am accepted to enter a cloister. I have not yet crossed that bridge, but any help would be grealy appreciated. God bless!

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nunsense
[quote name='Totally Franciscan' timestamp='1328995030' post='2385550']
Nunsense, I am so very grateful to God that you have found a home at OLTR. I have put you on my prayer list that God give you the grace and perseverence to fulfill His Divine Will for you. I have a question. I notice that you mention that you had been in four previous communities. I have been in two and have always wondered if a prospective community would wonder about why those communities did not work out for you. Of course, this community is accepting you with loving arms, but I wonder if you had encountered this and how you handled it for my own future reference. I have a grandson too, and I wonder how you will handle not being around him. I have a feeling my daughter will be quite upset if I decide and am accepted to enter a cloister. I have not yet crossed that bridge, but any help would be grealy appreciated. God bless!
[/quote]

Excellent questions TF. I can answer your second question first because it is easier for me. My situation with my daughter and grandson is a pretty unique one so I don't have the same problems that you will no doubt have if you enter a cloister. You probably have a close relationship with your daughter and she will want you to be involved with her life and this is going to be a difficulty for both you and her (that you can overcome with God's help). My daughter was a very abused child and I adopted her when she was seven years old after she had spent many traumatic years in the foster care system. She suffers from RAD (reactive attachment disorder), so our relationship has been difficult from the start and she often reminded me that I was 'not her real mother'. When she turned 18, she left home and didn't really want any more of a relationship with me. The rejection hurt very much but I knew I had to give her time and space to work things out for herself. The fact that she agreed to meet with me this time after nearly five years, and to let me meet my grandson was wonderful. And the very fact that she actually considers him to be my grandson means that she also thinks of me as her mother now. But our relationship is still fragile. She was able to express to me that since having her own baby, she has been able to get angry at her biological mother for abandoning and rejecting her and her birth family for the things they did to her (she used to romanticise them), and this also helped her to appreciate the things that I did for her in the 11 years we were together. She thanked me and said that she hopes the past is the past and that we can start to build a new relationship now. But it will take time and I don't want to rush her. So entering for me isn't as hard on her or me as it would be on you and your daughter. Over time my daughter will no doubt come to visit me with her husband and child and we will learn to be a family - but from a distance. You and your daughter already have a strong emotional bond, so it will be hard for the initial separation, but perhaps easier in some ways, as you already know that you will always love each other.

As for the question about having entered previous communities, I guess the response to this would depend on the reaction of the community you are hoping to enter now. When I mentioned to one of my previous spiritual directors that I was worried about my age and my previous attempts at religious life, he told me that as long as I still felt the call, I should pursue it, but I should be honest about my prior attempts. Being honest however, does not mean being negative. I tried to look at each experience and see what I had learned about myself and to meditate on why it hadn't worked for either me or the community. On three occasions I left, and on one occasion I was asked to leave by the Prioress. I had to determine if the same conditions still existed that had caused problems in these other communities and if so, what could I do about it?

Once I felt comfortable in myself about the answers to these questions, I knew that I would be able to speak about these attempts with a new community. In some ways, I knew I needed to change, but sometimes I felt the fault was with the previous community and not with myself, so I had to find a way to express this without appearing too critical or judgmental of them. I also wanted to see it from the point of view of each community to see if there was anything I could have done differently or if the result would have been the same no matter what I had done. I think that spending eight months in the bush as a hermit, living alone with God, gave me plenty of time to reflect on all of these issues, and to heal from the wounds that I had received either through my own actions or the actions of others. It was kind of like going into a cocoon, and then emerging with a new perspective. During this time, I also developed a complete dependence upon God alone - and perhaps came to truly understand St Teresa's statement that 'God alone suffices'. I also think my appoach to discernment changed during this time because even though I still felt called to religious life, I knew that if God willed it, then it would happen, and if He didn't, then I didn't want it either.

I think that may be one of the reasons why I had the 'melt down' at the end of the first week at OLotR. I had felt this call so strongly and yet it seemed nothing was happening, so I was angry at God for 'calling' me but not appearing to 'want' me. I do remember shouting at Him to take away the call if He wasn't going to do anything about fulfilling it! (Yes, I know, I am very cheeky. But He and I made up later :P ).

So my advice is to do a lot of thinking and analysing about your prior experiences in religious life until you can look at them honestly and positively (even though there may have been negative experiences as well). Once you can explain these things to yourself, then you will be able to explain them to others as well.

And don't forget that the community will no doubt have already had a lot of experience with women who have already tried religious life elsewhere, and will have their own understanding of why these things happen. One of the last postulants at OLotR had been a Carmelite for many years prior to trying with them. At the end of a year, they all found that she was not able to let go of her Carmelite spirituality enough to embrace the Benedictine charism so she left them. Perhaps she tried again at another Carmel, or perhaps she decided not to pursue religious life anymore, I don't know, but they gave her the opportunity to try for a year and she learned some things about herself that will no doubt help her with her future choices. That is what the postulancy is all about anyway. Sometimes it might take longer for one person to discern than another but God knows we are only human and even if the spirit is willing, the flesh is often weak. As long as we keep turning back to God every time we fall, then we know we are safe - He will pick us up, dust us off and put us on our feet again. So we can't fail, as long as we keep trying, and rely on Him for our strength.

I wish you all the best in your discernment process, wherever it leads you. Remember always that you are loved more than you can possibly imagine. Was it St Catherine or St Therese who said that He doesn't want our achievements, just our effort? I believe this is true. As a parent myself, I appreciate so much the effort that my daughter is making to come closer to me. Isn't God so much more loving than we are? I can't imagine that anyone who truly loved Him, could ever be a disappointment to Him. :heart: Edited by nunsense

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MarysLittleFlower
Thanks for the update Nunsense!! I really enjoyed reading about your experience.. but the whole time I kept wondering, what would happen next! lol :) I hope that this is the community for you. Prayers :heart:

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nunsense
[quote name='MarysLittleFlower' timestamp='1329010122' post='2385635']
...
I hope that this is the community for you. Prayers :heart:
[/quote]

:) For God, nothing is impossible! :)

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Totally Franciscan
Nunsense, I can't tell you how much your post has helped me. In fact, I have printed it out to read over and over again to let it all sink in and work on my answers as you worked on yours. Thank you so much for being so open about your experiences and how you came to terms with them. I keep thinking that God has been so good to you, especially now that your daughter is appreciating what you have done for her, and has touched your soul in marvelous ways to help us here on Phatmass.

Regarding my previous communities, one particular quote of yours, "being honest does not mean being negative", or not being "critical or judgmental" really struck me. My previous community was up to some really bad stuff, and I have never told anyone about it, not even my family. I often wondered how I would relate the reason for my leaving that community to a prospective community. Regarding my first community, I have spent many a year saying "if only I had stayed", or "if only my postulant mistress had told me she thought I had a vocation" to the point of wondering if I was a disappointment to Him for not persevering. Your last sentence of your post touched my heart, "I can't imagine anyone who truly loved Him could be a disappointment to Him." Like you, I have also had THAT conversation with God, "Why do you give me this desire to be a religious, yet not make it possible for me to fulfill it?" It seems we have a lot in common (I am a medical transcriptionist. Is that your field?), so your post has really helped me, and I thank you so much for sharing so openly with me.

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nunsense
[quote name='Totally Franciscan' timestamp='1329083939' post='2386047']
Nunsense, I can't tell you how much your post has helped me. In fact, I have printed it out to read over and over again to let it all sink in and work on my answers as you worked on yours. Thank you so much for being so open about your experiences and how you came to terms with them. I keep thinking that God has been so good to you, especially now that your daughter is appreciating what you have done for her, and has touched your soul in marvelous ways to help us here on Phatmass.

Regarding my previous communities, one particular quote of yours, "being honest does not mean being negative", or not being "critical or judgmental" really struck me. My previous community was up to some really bad stuff, and I have never told anyone about it, not even my family. I often wondered how I would relate the reason for my leaving that community to a prospective community. Regarding my first community, I have spent many a year saying "if only I had stayed", or "if only my postulant mistress had told me she thought I had a vocation" to the point of wondering if I was a disappointment to Him for not persevering. Your last sentence of your post touched my heart, "I can't imagine anyone who truly loved Him could be a disappointment to Him." Like you, I have also had THAT conversation with God, "Why do you give me this desire to be a religious, yet not make it possible for me to fulfill it?" It seems we have a lot in common (I am a medical transcriptionist. Is that your field?), so your post has really helped me, and I thank you so much for sharing so openly with me.
[/quote]

TF - the important thing is to move on from whatever happened to you in the past. You can't change it but you can use the experience to help you discern what to do next. If you have ever had negative experiences at a job, you must know how to let them go and move on, right? And when you went to the next job interview, you had to explain why that job didn't work out - without being too critical of your previous employer (because that would make you look bad too). The funny thing is that I didn't really have to explain too much to the nuns at OLofR about my previous experiences at all. They were a little curious about life as a Carmelite and asked me a couple of questions, but on the whole they just accepted that God obviously hadn't wanted me to stay at those places. They hoped that I would be happy with them, but they didn't feel as if they had to 'sell' the place and I could see that whatever my ultimate decision, they would be supportive of it. Sometimes we worry about how others will react because we are projecting our own insecurities. If we can come to terms with what has happened, then others will be able to accept it as well. The hard thing for someone who has been in previous communities is dealing with that feeling of failure that accompanies leaving. But every experience that happens to us can be a source of growth and strength.

And maybe God lets us 'hang out there' sometimes just to show us how much we really do want Him. The longing can become unbearable and that feeling of needing a little help from Him increases our dependence on Him. Even the Apostles got a little upset when Jesus appeared to be ignoring their danger during the storm at sea. He slept on quite peacefully while they all freaked out! :) But it wasn't until they woke Him up and got his attention that they could rest easy again. Sure, He rebuked them for their lack of faith, but He still saved them, and He showed them that whatever happens, He could make things okay again.

Job sort of went through a similar thing. As long as he was coping with his troubles, God left him alone, but as soon as Job couldn't take it anymore and started yelling at God, he got some attention. Once again, he was rebuked - this time for daring to question God's motives, but Job was fine with that - he said sorry and then God fixed things up for him. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Didn't Jesus tell us about the widow who demanded justice so often that the judge gave it to her just to shut her up? He had to have a reason for telling that story! :) Babies cry to get attention. How could God resist an appeal from the heart?? hmmm? :) Just never forget how much He loves us.

And for your last question - no, I don't do medical transcription work, I do interviews by insurance investigators of people who file claims. The hardest part is dealing with all the different accents! :P

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Totally Franciscan
Nunsense, God has given you the gift of His wisdom, and I am so very grateful. Everything you have said has touched my heart and given me hope to move forward. I think God has used you to speak to m heart. Isn't God good!

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nunsense
[quote name='Totally Franciscan' timestamp='1329259206' post='2387101']
Nunsense, God has given you the gift of His wisdom, and I am so very grateful. Everything you have said has touched my heart and given me hope to move forward. I think God has used you to speak to m heart. Isn't God good!
[/quote]

Yes, God is good. The Holy Spirit uses us to help each other in ways we can't imagine. I had similar experiences at the monastery, with others being of immense help to me, so I'm glad that some of it has been able to be passed on to you.

I am not online as much as I used to be, simply because I have to earn a lot of money in a short space of time, so that means lots more typing work. I don't get sent a new file until I have finished the one I am working on, so now I try to get them turned around as soon as possible. It isn't as if I have a lot of other things to do right now anyway, so it is working out fine. Once I am in the monastery, I will be able to slow down a little with the amount of work I accept. I have managed to work out some bank details already (for transferring money), but the airfare is the next big expense and I can't do that quite yet. I know that all is in his hands however, so I am just putting in my own effort while relying on Him to make it all come together.

I do like to stop by and read some of the posts on the phorums though, and I am encouraged by how well everyone seems to be doing. 2012 looks like a good year for many people. So those of us doing well need to pray for those who are still having problems. :) God never leaves any of us.

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nunsense
Tonight I have been writing to one of my old Carmelite Prioresses, offering her my 3-volume set of the UK Divine Office, since I will be using a Latin breviary at OLotR and not the English one. I figured they could give it to a new entrant and not have to buy another one (they cost around $200 for a set). She and I email a lot, and I am sure their prayers have helped me along my journey. I have had my breviary set for five years, and it has kept me sane reciting it on my own between convents. It is a strange feeling to be letting it go, but I wanted it to go somewhere that it would get some use :)

I also heard from OLotR about the celebration for the Prioress' Golden Jubilee, which was on St Scholastica's feast day. It sounds as if everything went well. Mother Prioress is going to Regina Laudis in April to celebrate it again with the Abbess there, as they both have the same Jubilee day but the Abbess of RL wanted to have hers when the weather gets better there so all the guests who want to attend can do so. I am just sorry I had to miss it.

Hearing from OLotR made me miss them even more. I am content and happy and taking each day as it comes (a lot of cleaning and packing right now in between work) but my heart is already back there. *sigh* I think once I book the airfare, I will actually feel that it is all going to happen, but that won't be for another week at least (waiting for money to come into the bank).

Well, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday here, with Mass at 8.30am, and I have decided that I am not going to be on phatmass during Lent except for Sundays, which are feast days. Will update more a week from Sunday (don't expect much to happen in the next few days). Time to go pray :pray:

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HopefulBride
Nunsense,

Happy Ash Wednesday! (early I know but I'm sure by the time I get to a computer again it will be tomorrow where you are) I am really encouraged by you. I have followed your story over the past couple of years and more than anything it is your desire to be one with the Lord and to follow Him without restraint that I find wonderful. You are truly one after His heart. I pray that as you approach your entrance day, the Holy Spirit continues to set your heart on fire for Christ.

Keep me in your prayers!

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