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soundbyte

Help Needed...mother Against Vocation

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soundbyte

So for the past year and a half I have been discerning the priesthood and recently I have decided that it is truly what I am meant for. I've met with the vocation director of the diocese and have gotten the ball rolling. My plan was to enter the seminary this coming fall. Everyone I have told has been super supportive and extremely happy for me...except one person.

 

My mother (who has never been too religious) is hardcore against my vocation. And not in a "struggling to accept" sort of way, but she is full on against it, and has forbidden me from joining. She said some very hurtful things about the priesthood and the Church and refuses to even discuss it again. I feel strongly called into the priesthood, and a lot of people I know have told me I'd make a great priest, but my mother won't even entertain the idea, or meet with a priest to discuss it.

 

I'm not sure what to do. Right now I'm writing her a letter so that I can explain where I'm coming from and maybe open her mind a little bit, but I know that it won't be a magic fix.

 

Does anyone have any advice? Or maybe similar experiences? I want her to be on my side, but I also understand that I don't necessarily need her blessing to continue forward with this. Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

 

P.S.

I feel like I should also mention that I am 22.

 

 

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Chiara Francesco

Take heart.  There have been countless saints, blesseds, venerables and regular joes like you, me and others who have had family strongly against their vocations but these people followed their call by God and through your prayers and God's mercy these families all came around at some point - either 100% or a whole lot better where they see how happy their son/daughter is and are proud of them and happy for them.  Also many conversions to faith come.

 

I recently read the life of St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi who who told many families who tried to block their children's call to religion of their impending problems and in some cases even death if they did not allow their children to enter monasteries, seminaries - and all predictions came true!  While God is not that drastic always, it's happened.

 

Many saints like St. Clare and her sisters, St. Faustina ran away from their families without a word to follow God and others like St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Carmelite (Edith Stein) who was a Jew and became Catholic angered some of her family and definitely her mother and then even created more anger in her mom when she entered Carmel.  If I remember correctly, her mom never came to visit her in Carmel - she may have written near the very end? before she was taken away to Auschwitz where she and her sister Rose (who was a Carmelite extern, Third Order and who lived at the Carmel) died in the concentration camp.

 

For another Carmelite, St. Teresa of the Andes, she had brothers who were not very religious and one living a fairly bad life who had conversions after she entered and her sister, Rebecca, who was against her leaving her, after her death in Carmel at 19, entered the same Carmel and became a nun.  She had family members who were against it.  Her father didn't want her to leave and she had an aunt (mom's sister) who brought it to a bad priest who tried to talk her out of it, etc. 

 

There's so many more examples and stories I heard first hand sitting in parlor grilles of PCCs, Carmels and a Dominican communities that all turned out well in the end and the few that didn't they are so happy in their vocation and being consecrated to God, the blow and pain of these family members are lessened and they trust God will at some point soften their hearts.  I too had a problem and while I have not entered, will soon and my family members are starting to come around.

 

Thank God you are of legal age.  You first duty is to God and your vocation call to see IF you are indeed being called to be a priest - unless your are  your mother's caretaker if she is ill or you have young children or some such duty that would preclude you from following your call.

 

Unfortunately, families can be selfish where they really want THEMSELVES to be happy and not you.  They don't put your wishes and desires and what makes you happy first - as they should as it IS your life. 

 

God comes first - even in marriage, children.  Myself and many others have had the same problem but you must follow your call.  Don't forget these important words that Jesus spoke in the Gospels:

 

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 10:34–39)

 

But more times than not, his sword will undo, soften or lessen it's impact with change of hearts and minds in families.  I will pray for you to stay strong and heed God's call of "Come, follow me" and that you will be a priest, God willing, and that your mom comes around to support you and has her own conversion.

 

Be "worthy" of God, follow Him!

Edited by Chiara Francesco

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Orans

Welcome to out phamily, Soundbyte, and Easter greetings to you!

 

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your calling to the priesthood  :priest:  That's the best thing that can happen to anyone in their life  :like3: . Your calling is not just 'your private thing' but thousands of people will depend on your vocation to being Christ for the people of our day with power to bring God from heaven to them, and to bring them to God through the sacraments and through your own person and ministry.

 

This is a radical calling rooted in Jesus and His Spirit, and you will need to PRAY a lot to make that bond alive and very strong in your life. You are "entering into a team with God in Jesus" in a very special and powerful way, and of course this world that is very much against God will create all kinds of obstacles to the project.

 

It's sad that your own mother cannot understand it -yet. You will have to be as patient with her as firm in your vocation. This will entail suffering, yes, but that will make you more Christ-like every day. Pray, pray, pray to find strength and peace, and to be faithful to your calling.

 

Your mother doesn't have the right to oppose your path. She might think she has to save you from a pit -if she sees only the negative in the priesthood and the Church- but that will change as she sees you becoming a more loving and joyful son/person.

 

We will pray for you. Don't be afraid to step forward into the path you feel called to. Offer your suffering for your mom, that she will receive the grace she needs to accept your decision, and to be at peace with it.

 

Follow your call. You will never regret it.

 

Peace and best wishes from your sister in Christ,

Orans

 

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FutureSister2009

Welcome to the "My mother is against my Vocation Club" It's not a happy place to be.

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nikita92
Soundbyte- My perspective...while we all would like our family and friends to feel happiness where we are concerned...fact is, we are NOT responsible for theirs!! You are a adult at 22. Forbidding her adult son...is controlling and selfish on her part!! Your mother's problem with your decision..while it is not what you would want for her..please keep in mind...it is HER problem. She can choose to be stubborn, negative, pessimistic etc..or she can choose the the opposite. However, we can't make people FEEL or embrace anything! We are not responsible for others feelings. Trying to get her to understand and change her line of thinking on the Catholic Church, would take a lot of time, effort and energy with no positive outcome guaranteed; Unless she was willing to become opened minded and receptive to your efforts. I would suggest "catholic answers.com" for possible educational references you might want to use. (I have been there and done that with my own Stubborn German mother) while it would be wonderful to have your mother's blessing... please realize it might not come. Please don't let that ruin your desire to become a religious. God has blessed you with a special wonderful vocation for your life! ;) I would also validate her feelings, that maybe something she was looking forward to having grandchildren from you one day. That in itself, may be adding to her unreceptivness. It is just a thought! I am 55.. When I revealed to my non-religious mother of my intentions...she became disgusted with me and made snide comments, that I was "having a mid-life crisis"!! Lol..I have argued all my life with her.. I knew that trying to battle a stubborn, German, control-freak was a no win situation. I just let it go. Forgive my straightforwardness...I get it from my mother!! lol Be strong and stay on course! Blessings for you and your family!! ;))

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FutureSister2009

Soundbyte- My perspective...while we all would like our family and friends to feel happiness where we are concerned...fact is, we are NOT responsible for theirs!! You are a adult at 22. Forbidding her adult son...is controlling and selfish on her part!! Your mother's problem with your decision..while it is not what you would want for her..please keep in mind...it is HER problem. She can choose to be stubborn, negative, pessimistic etc..or she can choose the the opposite. However, we can't make people FEEL or embrace anything! We are not responsible for others feelings. Trying to get her to understand and change her line of thinking on the Catholic Church, would take a lot of time, effort and energy with no positive outcome guaranteed; Unless she was willing to become opened minded and receptive to your efforts. I would suggest "catholic answers.com" for possible educational references you might want to use. (I have been there and done that with my own Stubborn German mother) while it would be wonderful to have your mother's blessing... please realize it might not come. Please don't let that ruin your desire to become a religious. God has blessed you with a special wonderful vocation for your life! ;) I would also validate her feelings, that maybe something she was looking forward to having grandchildren from you one day. That in itself, may be adding to her unreceptivness. It is just a thought! I am 55.. When I revealed to my non-religious mother of my intentions...she became disgusted with me and made snide comments, that I was "having a mid-life crisis"!! Lol..I have argued all my life with her.. I knew that trying to battle a stubborn, German, control-freak was a no win situation. I just let it go. Forgive my straightforwardness...I get it from my mother!! lol Be strong and stay on course! Blessings for you and your family!! ;))

 

I'm an adult at 21 too aren't I? I mean, my mom won't let me pursue my Vocation and I thought I would be able to do as I pleased at the age of 21. This just doesn't make sense.

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FutureSister2009

Soundbyte- My perspective...while we all would like our family and friends to feel happiness where we are concerned...fact is, we are NOT responsible for theirs!! You are a adult at 22. Forbidding her adult son...is controlling and selfish on her part!! Your mother's problem with your decision..while it is not what you would want for her..please keep in mind...it is HER problem. She can choose to be stubborn, negative, pessimistic etc..or she can choose the the opposite. However, we can't make people FEEL or embrace anything! We are not responsible for others feelings. Trying to get her to understand and change her line of thinking on the Catholic Church, would take a lot of time, effort and energy with no positive outcome guaranteed; Unless she was willing to become opened minded and receptive to your efforts. I would suggest "catholic answers.com" for possible educational references you might want to use. (I have been there and done that with my own Stubborn German mother) while it would be wonderful to have your mother's blessing... please realize it might not come. Please don't let that ruin your desire to become a religious. God has blessed you with a special wonderful vocation for your life! ;) I would also validate her feelings, that maybe something she was looking forward to having grandchildren from you one day. That in itself, may be adding to her unreceptivness. It is just a thought! I am 55.. When I revealed to my non-religious mother of my intentions...she became disgusted with me and made snide comments, that I was "having a mid-life crisis"!! Lol..I have argued all my life with her.. I knew that trying to battle a stubborn, German, control-freak was a no win situation. I just let it go. Forgive my straightforwardness...I get it from my mother!! lol Be strong and stay on course! Blessings for you and your family!! ;))

 

I'm an adult at 21 too aren't I? I mean, my mom won't let me pursue my Vocation and I thought I would be able to do as I pleased at the age of 21. This just doesn't make sense.

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DameAgnes

Soundbyte, I will pray for you. I know it's difficult, even at 22, to make a life-decision that seems like it will forever separate one from one's family. It's true that Jesus said he came to divide mother from daughter, etc, and you certainly can (and perhaps at some future time should) simply move where you feel the spirit is leading you, but for a little while, let's pray. Miracles do happen and it would be easier for you and for her if she can reconcile herself to this a little better. I know several nuns who faced what you are facing, and all of them eventually pursued their calling, not always with parental approval, but somehow once a parent sees how happy a child is in his or her vocation, they finally become happy for them. 

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Kateri89

Well I wonder if it's harder for a discerner who's mother is flat-out against them following their vocation or a discerner who's mother is heartbroken over their vocation.  In my case, it's the latter.  I'm 23 and my mother cries when we discuss my plans to enter a convent soon.  She's asked me why I can't get married, have kids and then volunteer in my spare time.  I've tried to explain that I believe I'm called to dedicate my entire life, not just my spare time.  I realize that it's hard for her and that's why I'm trying to be patient and understanding.  I think it's essential to see that we discerners are making a sacrifice that we've chosen to make; our parents are making a sacrifice because they have no choice.  I don't really have any advice other than to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you with your mom.

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cmaD2006

I'm an adult at 21 too aren't I? I mean, my mom won't let me pursue my Vocation and I thought I would be able to do as I pleased at the age of 21. This just doesn't make sense.

???

 

I don't understand how you can't pursue your vocation.  There is a line between Honor Thy Parents and following what God wants from you.  What God wants has to be first.

 

Now ... if you were 16-14-12, it is a completely different story.  At any age under 18 (and in some countries it is slightly older) you are considered a minor and your parents have control and a say over you.

 

But at 21, you should be able to be much more independent.  I know that it can be tricky when you are under their roof, and not everyone is able to move out, but it does need to be worked on (in my opinion).

 

My father was initially opposed to my vocation ... but I was luckily in that by the time that question popped up I lived about 300+ miles away.

 

If you seriously are having a hard time pursuing your vocation because "your mom won't let you" then I would talk with your parish priest about it and see how to pursue your vocation in a way that is healthy and that will lead to a proper discernment of call.

 

-- Cma

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Golden Years

You know that old saying, your whole purpose in life may be to serve as a warning to others?  Well nice to meet you. 

 

I wanted very much to enter religious life at the tender age of 18.  My mother's statement was, "If you become a nun it would kill me."  Coming from a Protestant background, I had no one to support me or advise me and I soon lost my faith.  I ended up pregnant and alone.  I am now 54, and looking back with deep regrets, although in my own defense I was doing the best I could with what I had.  I might still be able to find a good community that will take me -- after all, "nothing shall be impossible with God" -- but it's been an uphill battle to say the least and I don't expect it to get any easier once I get accepted. 

 

Moral of the story:  IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A VOCATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD OR RELIGIOUS LIFE, DON'T LET ANYONE OR ANYTHING STOP YOU! 

 

If it is truly God's Will, He will give you the grace you need to persevere.  Give thanks to the Lord for giving you this very precious opportunity to show Him how much you love Him, and to follow him up the Way of the Cross.  He will guide you every step of the way. 

 

Blessings and prayers for you and your family and welcome to Phatmass!

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OnlySunshine

You know that old saying, your whole purpose in life may be to serve as a warning to others?  Well nice to meet you. 

 

I wanted very much to enter religious life at the tender age of 18.  My mother's statement was, "If you become a nun it would kill me."  Coming from a Protestant background, I had no one to support me or advise me and I soon lost my faith.  I ended up pregnant and alone.  I am now 54, and looking back with deep regrets, although in my own defense I was doing the best I could with what I had.  I might still be able to find a good community that will take me -- after all, "nothing shall be impossible with God" -- but it's been an uphill battle to say the least and I don't expect it to get any easier once I get accepted. 

 

Moral of the story:  IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A VOCATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD OR RELIGIOUS LIFE, DON'T LET ANYONE OR ANYTHING STOP YOU! 

 

If it is truly God's Will, He will give you the grace you need to persevere.  Give thanks to the Lord for giving you this very precious opportunity to show Him how much you love Him, and to follow him up the Way of the Cross.  He will guide you every step of the way. 

 

Blessings and prayers for you and your family and welcome to Phatmass!

 


You sound very much like my friend who is now a novice Sister in a Benedictine community.  I don't think her parents were particularly opposed to her entering the convent but they were from England and part of the C.ofE. faith.  She checked out the Sisters of Nazareth with her friend but felt frightened about that particular community and wasn't sure she could live it.  She ended up leaving the Catholic Church and was estranged for a long time.  She moved to the United States and got pregnant out of wedlock.  She's worked as a contract nurse in several states.  She is 53 years old now and has tried hard to fit in somewhere.  I'm praying this community works out for her. 

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soundbyte

Thanks for all the advice and support everybody! I'm just going to keep praying and moving forward. I won't give up on trying to open my mom's mind a bit, but I won't let her opinion affect my decision either.

 

Also, this site is flipping awesome.

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Antigonos

IMO, if you are legally an adult, the first thing you need to do is to become physically independent of your parents.  Reading between the lines in some posts, it is obvious to me that many of you are still living at home, or are financially dependent still on your parents, which gives them leverage over you, even if their intentions are good [if they are paying for your education, for example].  Cutting the "silver umbilical cord" can be immensely difficult, both practically and emotionally, but it is ESSENTIAL for one's own maturity, whether discerning a vocation or just "growing up".

 

My parents were happy when I chose to go to nursing school; they had had me late, and worried that I wouldn't be able to support myself should they pass away.  But while I was in nursing school, they kept me on a very restricted allowance, "so you won't get into trouble" [i.e. couldn't even buy clothes on my own, and Mom had some very weird ideas of what "teenage" girls should wear--quite Victorian, in fact.  There was no money for cosmetics -- "unsuitable" until I was "working", and so on] and the minute I graduated it was assumed I'd return from New York to Washington DC to live at home and "save money".  Quite a row ensued when I refused to do so.  The tug of war went on for some time.  "We love you", they said. "We only have your best interests at heart", they said -- and they believed it.  But it was emotional blackmail.

 

As I am now the mother of three adult children, one of whom is currently in difficulties with her marriage, I can say the temptation to step in and "solve" their problems is great.  But I resist the temptation, remembering my own young years.  And you have to resist your parents' good intentions.  There's a great song by Cat Stevens: "Father and Son".  Listen to it.

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TheresaThoma

Hey soundbyte

My two cents. I'm also in my early twenties and discerning a religious vocation. My mother is also  dead set against it (like being written out of the will against it). It can be very very hard to walk that line between honoring (and loving!) your mother but also following your vocation. 

I have been told by some very wise people "Its your vocation not your mothers" meaning that as much as my mother may oppose it I have to make the choice and her opinions shouldn't influence it. 

Something to consider is that obviously you mom is NOT called to a Religious vocation so she will never be able to completely understand your call to the priesthood. Some people can learn to understand it a bit but if they are totally against it and not open to even trying to understand it then it won't happen. A result of this I learned the hard way. I was so excited about discerning and contacting communities etc I shared too much too fast with my mom and that did a ton of damage. Keep what you share low key and simple. Find things that are related to your discernment but are neutral topics (ie if you go to visit the seminary talk about the grounds or something in the chapel). It can help her feel more connected without having to deal with your discernment.

 

These things take time and it isn't going to be easy or painless, I will be praying for you and for your mom.

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petitpèlerin

I've seen families come around. One of my friends made his first vows this winter and his family who has been struggling for years to accept his vocation was not only supportive but proud of him. He was raised non-religious/atheist, converted, and followed his call into religious life. It was terribly hard on his family since they just didn't understand this whole God thing. But they see who he's become (I swear he's halfway to sainthood already) and they respect it even if they don't get it. At the offertory of his profession mass, his father put his hand on his shoulder as they left the pew to get the gifts, and you should have seen the look on his (the father's) face. I was nearly in tears. I've never seen a man more filled with love and pride for his son. So, have hope. Follow your vocation, be patient with your mother and kind to her through her struggle (because every parent makes a sacrifice when a child follows a religious vocation, even a devout parent and even a fully-independent adult child), and see what graces may come to your family.

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Guest Allie

I'm an adult at 21 too aren't I? I mean, my mom won't let me pursue my Vocation and I thought I would be able to do as I pleased at the age of 21. This just doesn't make sense.

 

Absolutely you are. :nunpray:
 

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