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Help Needed...mother Against Vocation

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Spem in alium    3,611
Spem in alium

 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. 

 

I can relate to this a lot. My parents haven't expressed that they're against my vocation (actually, they've been fairly interested and wanting to talk about it), but I get so excited and enthusiastic about things they can't relate to or aren't as interested in that I often feel as though I'm boring them by talking about my discernment. My friends are more the problem - thinking it's a phase I'll "get over", going on about how that means I'll never get married, have kids, see them, etc,

Though I haven't been discerning long, I do have three key recommendations that really help me: pray, listen to your heart and be patient. Follow the path you feel is right, the path that will lead you to God. It is your vocation, certainly, but it includes many more people than just yourself - people who will, like you, be faced to adjust or conform to a choice. Be patient with your mother and all others involved. As was said above, they too are dealing with struggles.

I will hold you in prayer. Blessings.

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elizabeth09    102
elizabeth09

Even though your parents are giving you up to do God`s Will is not even a easy task.  More then not, they want to have grandparents.  I know a priest, who is an only child.  It must be hard for the mother to give up her son.  Just remember that Mary had gave up her son, because He died on the cross.

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Mary-Kathryn    13
Mary-Kathryn

Write your Mother a letter. Tell her you love her. Tell her what you've learned from her. Most of all tell her how grateful your are for her. Then tell her that it is because she has raised you so well that you are now able to find strength to answer the call to the priesthood.

 

You may not be able to change her mind, but please do not be as I was. My vocation was opposed by my family when I was a young woman. I eventuall married,but there was always that "place" inside that felt a little empty. Now that I am alone again God has gently called me once again... at age 50, I am answering this time.  Through His Love, two communities have cracked their doors a bit and are corresponding with me. I am to go one retreat in May and another next summer.

 

Listen to your call...follow it. Breathe deep when your Mom says hurtful things and then say "I love you." Trust me one day she will be saying to all her friends "My son, the priest..."

 

In the meantime, cling to the Blessed Virgin as your "second" mother for comfort and support.

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emma8201986    79
emma8201986

My family is not happy about me pursuing a vocation either although they are not impeding me.  My mom lost a lot of money in her 401k a few years ago and, while it has come back, she knows she will have to put off retirement.  So when I talk about vocation, the first thing in her mind is "what if you leave in your 40s - there will probably be no Social Security (or limited) and you will have nothing for your retirement ."  Also, she worries that Catholic schools are closing all the time and all the communities I am looking at are teaching orders (I am a teacher) - what if there isn't enough work?  What if the economy tanks?  People won't be able to afford Catholic school and any community's endowment will be hurt.  Of course, I say that God will provide but she is not convinced.

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FutureSister2009    529
FutureSister2009

My mom not supporting me is really taking a toll on me. I'm fine with staying here to graduate. That's okay with me. But I want to be able to visit communities while I'm still here so that I can just go right in when I'm done. I don't want to have to wait any longer than I already have to. And if you want irony, my Baptist father is surprisingly more supportive of it than she is. I'm actually trying to get him to talk to her about it.

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Fr_Ash    0
Fr_Ash

Okay, excuse an anglican posting here but maybe you can share some advice on my situation.

I am an Investment Banker by training and entered seminary after receiving my MBA. (Our denomination fortunately allows non-stipendary ministry). When my mother found out that I had entered seminary she was very angry, even tried to have me removed from the program. She refused to attend my ordination.

Recently I am increasing feeling a need to enter ministry on a full-time basis. She retired on a very meager income and had been depending on me supporting the family (one of the reasons self-supporting ministry was attractive in the first place as it would allow me the opportunity to financially provide for her). Many people tell her how edifying they find my ministry compared to the full time rector at our family parish, but she is not in support of my career transition.

An old colleague of hers (who now serves on the PPC) openly admits that she had been away from the church for several years after her marriage, only to return after I began to re-evangelise her family. Her eldest sister last year became very frail and having been away from the Church for several decades the rector refused to see her. I went to her, and gave her the sacrament if the sick. Today she is a regular parishoner attending mass weekly.

Still my mom feels my concentration should be on my secular vocation (largely for financial reasons). Several years ago I dayscerned in prayer that she has a personality disorder and for most of my life (I'm 42 now) has used fear, obligation and guilt to control me.

I've just come to a place where I have surrendered the situation to God, praying that if He truly wants me to minister, he has to change her heart but I don't think that is going to be enough.

What needs to happen is an intervention from her family for her to get help for her disorder but its something they are loathe to do.

I really don't see a way out of this situation.

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Antonella    33
Antonella

Being old and with a low income is something scary and I think that her feelings towards your ordination came not (only) from selfishness but also from fear. As she needs to understand you, you also need to understand your mother. If you understand why is she behaving the way she does it will be easier for you to communicate with her and be patient.

The only thing you can do (beside prayer which shall never stop and is always fruitful) is have an honest and open conversation with her. Hearing from people how great her son is won't help her getting over the fear of being left alone. She probably wants to hear this from you. Make sure she understands that you will still be able to provide for her. And if she doesn't react well (or you tried this and failed) have patience! Time is amazing at healing and at making parents more accepting of their children's vocation. :)

You can also ask for advice form somebody in the seminary. I'm sure you are not the only one there who had problems with their parents.

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Pax17    192
Pax17

I, too, had a controlling parent who probably had a personality disorder.  Dealing with emotional abuse--and that's what it is--is exhausting.  Please don't let this get in the way of your vocation. 

If you feel you are called to full-time ministry, pursue this.  You are entitled to have your own life, doing what you feel you are meant to do.  You don't want to look back when you're older and regret that you didn't take this opportunity (trust me on this, I'm 63).

People with personality disorders are totally self-centered; they do not think anything is wrong, so getting help for them usually doesn't work.  Their mindset  doesn't change.  They remain focused on themselves, not others.

Be there for your mother...love her, stay in touch (if it's not too painful), provide some financial support if you can, and pray for her.

 

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EleanorW    10
EleanorW

I know a cloistered nun whose mother wrote her a letter accusing the nun of abandoning her.  That has to be incredibly distressing, for both the mother who feels that way and the nun.  At the same time, what an accomplishment to have truly become an adult and to have pursued her own identity in God.

Maybe Jesus knew how hard it was to put your vocation above your parents wishes.  Maybe that is why he told us we must leave father and mother and follow  Him.  I do think it's something everyone has to do, not just religious. 

A person called to marriage has to be willing to marry the person he or she loves, even if that person doesn't have the parents' approval.  A person called to be an artist has to be willing to disappoint parents who wanted a lawyer or a doctor in the family.  

This is part of growing up that some people skip, and they may regret it later when they find they have assumed an identity that doesn't fit.

If you're open to the idea, I suggest talking to a counselor about your thoughts and desires.

 

Edited by EleanorW

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TheresaThoma    2,286
TheresaThoma

Hi I saw that I replied to this thread a long time ago but over time things have changed (though I still stand by most of what I said before).

Recently my mom has become more open to my vocation and in some ways supportive. I know this is due to several factors. One is that I moved out on my own. The second is that I started sharing things with her in small doses. I focused on things that she could relate to, funny stories, things about the Sisters that made them more human. Through that she became more open about talking about it in general. I think the most recent thing is she has started to see how the community I am currently discerning with cares about me as a person and not just as a perspective Sister. I think in some ways she feels like they are on the same "team" everyone involved wants me to be healthy and happy. Also prayer! I have been praying for her and the Sisters have been praying for her.  I will have to see what happens when/if I come to actually entering but for now I am happy.

Some days I am still in shock that she has become more open to my vocation. I hope that this gives others some hope for their own situation. 

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