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Catherine Therese

...on Returning To The World

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Hemma

Well, my boss is very insightful. Later I learned that he has a husband (sic). The only female colleague that was positively interested in my monastery time is lesbian... strange world, isn't it?

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nunsense

Well, my boss is very insightful. Later I learned that he has a husband (sic). The only female colleague that was positively interested in my monastery time is lesbian... strange world, isn't it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

:lol4:

Edited by nunsense

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Catherine Therese

Wow... what an incredible community this is!

---- 
Firstly - to see that there are so MANY of us! Enormously comforting! If you look at the media, all the ex-religious who are making all the noise and being interviewed and such are disgruntled with the Church. This phorum sure is an antidote to the discouragement THAT causes. (I don't know how television coverage of the conclave turned out in other countries, but in Australia, it was atrocious. I had literally only JUST resurfaced and it was a massive culture shock to hear some of those interviews and opinion pieces!) I'm grateful for all your prayers, anyway, and now that I know a little bit about some of you, I can assure you that you're in my prayers too!

Thank you, each one of you! 
----
Nunsense - that Renegade NUN song would be tearing up the charts if your bro had gone public ;-) thanks for sharing that, totally made me laugh when I needed to do so! And thanks so much for checking out my blog. It's something of a slightly eccentric outlet for me I guess, with the random things I write about, but my hope is that every now and then someone stumbles upon it and is encouraged, or even challenged, in some way. I went to your bloglink and note that as you say, you are not writing anymore. I guess these things have a season in our lives (Ecclesiastes, much?)

Other things that totally made me smile: reNUNion... that was GOLD! 

 

Oh, and DTA... I see your polar-bear-wave and I raise you a massive smile from down-under. 
----
The job part of this thread: I have to admit I have not taken a one-size-fits-all approach in my job hunting since returning. 

When I have applied for commercial jobs back in the IT industry (from whence I originally came) I have referenced overseas non-degree tertiary study for personal interest. Quite a mouthful, huh? When I have applied for jobs with Catholic organisations I have been honest about it but tailored the quantity of information supplied depending on what I know about the hiring organisation. God is doing a few weird things in my life at the moment, though, so who knows where the job thing will lead? 

I don't think there is anything wrong with maximising one's chances in a job hunt and directing a prospective employer to the previous jobs or experience that are most related to the position, whilst downplaying things that are not directly relevant to the role, makes all the sense in the world to me. 

----

Finally, the advice offered by two of you, Sr. Mary Catharine and Marielynn: about not considering oneself an ex-nun... that is VERY helpful, thank you! I mean, part of the whole thrust of the book "And You Are Christ's" by Fr. Dubay, which we were required to read before entering, was this idea that we are NOT defined by what we do, but rather by who we are. 

Discerning religious life and experiencing religious formation is something I've DONE. If it were, at that point in time with that community, what I was supposed to do for keeps, that might have told me something about who I AM - a religious of the congregation of... <insert name>. Since, however, I discerned that I was called to return to the world, the experience has INFORMED who I am and contributed to that, but it does not define me. And I probably wouldn't have even thought about this without your prompt! So thank you for that food for thought. 

Edited by Catherine Therese

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Gabriela

I think that doing/being distinction is critical. From what I've heard from monastic sisters, that is the hardest part of religious life: Learning to just be, not to do.

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Gabriela

Well, my boss is very insightful. Later I learned that he has a husband (sic). The only female colleague that was positively interested in my monastery time is lesbian... strange world, isn't it?

 

I don't find this strange at all. I've had a lot of male friends with SSA, and I find them some of the best confidantes—even about religious life. I think that, in my case, what forms the bond is a common experience of struggling against the mainstream. Obviously we struggle in very different ways (!), but whatever the struggle, the effect on the person and their worldview and their character comes out the same, I think. And so those people are often attracted to one another regardless of the particular struggle they've had.

 

Does that make sense?

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catholicamama

I wonder if it's possible to have a special forum here for those who have returned from Religious Life.  There seems to be a decent size number here.  Catherine i sent you a pm.

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CrossCuT

Well, here I am. Yet another ex-nun. My temporal vows expired just two weeks ago.

It still amazes me whenever I think about it, how much I could be convinced that this monastery was my place for the rest of my life, just to realize only two years later that it wasn't.

I actually decided to leave about a year before I did it. I took my time to think and pray about it and wanted to finish the time of my first profession. But it got harder everyday to share this life knowing I was going to leave it.

One of the hardest things for me was to tell my sisters I was leaving. I didn't want to hurt and disappoint them, but I couldn't stay anymore either.

I had entered directly after having finished my masters degree. When I told my parents that I would leave, they expected me to come home right away. I considered it, but I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't a good idea to go from monastic life back to my parents house. Although they couldn't understand it, I'm sure it was better going somewhere else.

I took a job as an au-pair since it offers me a place to stay and a little money, plus the possibilty to get to know another foreign country.

There is only a very small minority of catholics here and the first thing to do was searching for a catholic parish.

Attending mass really is a new experience being an ex-nun. Before I entered the monastery I went to mass everyday and I thought I would go back to that practice, but it just doesn't work for me anymore. I settled now on going twice a week, but what I actually love most is to just sit in the church when there are no services and pray silently. I miss the Divine Office.

One day I really felt the need to talk to a priest. I went into the confessional, although I didn't want to confess, and asked the priest if he could speak german. His answer was: 'I am german.' So I sat down and started to tell my story and asking my questions. Since there wasn't too much time we made an appointment to talk. The other day, when I entered his office I saw a big picture on the wall showing the town where I was in convent. Although it wasn't a picture of my monastery it still reminded me so much of the time I spent there. It opened the wound and my eyes filled with tears. I do have a deep inner peace with my decision, but it really hurts to think about what I lost.

 

Thank you for sharing!

I have never known a former nun before, so all of these stories are extremely fascinating and moving to me.

Prayers for you and your continued efforts towards finding peace and joy again! :)

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marigold

Well, here I am. Yet another ex-nun. My temporal vows expired just two weeks ago.

It still amazes me whenever I think about it, how much I could be convinced that this monastery was my place for the rest of my life, just to realize only two years later that it wasn't.

I actually decided to leave about a year before I did it. I took my time to think and pray about it and wanted to finish the time of my first profession. But it got harder everyday to share this life knowing I was going to leave it.

One of the hardest things for me was to tell my sisters I was leaving. I didn't want to hurt and disappoint them, but I couldn't stay anymore either.

I had entered directly after having finished my masters degree. When I told my parents that I would leave, they expected me to come home right away. I considered it, but I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't a good idea to go from monastic life back to my parents house. Although they couldn't understand it, I'm sure it was better going somewhere else.

I took a job as an au-pair since it offers me a place to stay and a little money, plus the possibilty to get to know another foreign country.

There is only a very small minority of catholics here and the first thing to do was searching for a catholic parish.

Attending mass really is a new experience being an ex-nun. Before I entered the monastery I went to mass everyday and I thought I would go back to that practice, but it just doesn't work for me anymore. I settled now on going twice a week, but what I actually love most is to just sit in the church when there are no services and pray silently. I miss the Divine Office.

One day I really felt the need to talk to a priest. I went into the confessional, although I didn't want to confess, and asked the priest if he could speak german. His answer was: 'I am german.' So I sat down and started to tell my story and asking my questions. Since there wasn't too much time we made an appointment to talk. The other day, when I entered his office I saw a big picture on the wall showing the town where I was in convent. Although it wasn't a picture of my monastery it still reminded me so much of the time I spent there. It opened the wound and my eyes filled with tears. I do have a deep inner peace with my decision, but it really hurts to think about what I lost.

 

I am so moved by this post. So much of it I could have written myself (yet another returnee!) - as the one year 'out' mark draws closer, it's both harder and easier. A lot of the wounds are fading into scars, and I am really happy where I am at the moment, but at the same time I am convinced that I should be a monastic and my time in the monastery was the first time in my life I had that all the pieces clicking into place, not only being in the right place but doing exactly what I was made for, and not just once but all the time. It's hard to feel that way and then realise that you have to leave in order to survive...

 

Thank you LittlePaula - and everyone who has written in this thread - for helping me with your experiences :)

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AveMariaPurissima

Well, here I am. Yet another ex-nun. My temporal vows expired just two weeks ago.

It still amazes me whenever I think about it, how much I could be convinced that this monastery was my place for the rest of my life, just to realize only two years later that it wasn't.

I actually decided to leave about a year before I did it. I took my time to think and pray about it and wanted to finish the time of my first profession. But it got harder everyday to share this life knowing I was going to leave it.

One of the hardest things for me was to tell my sisters I was leaving. I didn't want to hurt and disappoint them, but I couldn't stay anymore either.

I had entered directly after having finished my masters degree. When I told my parents that I would leave, they expected me to come home right away. I considered it, but I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't a good idea to go from monastic life back to my parents house. Although they couldn't understand it, I'm sure it was better going somewhere else.

I took a job as an au-pair since it offers me a place to stay and a little money, plus the possibilty to get to know another foreign country.

There is only a very small minority of catholics here and the first thing to do was searching for a catholic parish.

Attending mass really is a new experience being an ex-nun. Before I entered the monastery I went to mass everyday and I thought I would go back to that practice, but it just doesn't work for me anymore. I settled now on going twice a week, but what I actually love most is to just sit in the church when there are no services and pray silently. I miss the Divine Office.

One day I really felt the need to talk to a priest. I went into the confessional, although I didn't want to confess, and asked the priest if he could speak german. His answer was: 'I am german.' So I sat down and started to tell my story and asking my questions. Since there wasn't too much time we made an appointment to talk. The other day, when I entered his office I saw a big picture on the wall showing the town where I was in convent. Although it wasn't a picture of my monastery it still reminded me so much of the time I spent there. It opened the wound and my eyes filled with tears. I do have a deep inner peace with my decision, but it really hurts to think about what I lost.

Thank you for sharing, LittlePaula.  As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I too am another "returnee," so I can relate in a particular way.  May God bless you!

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Marie Villalovos Smith

I find all of you absolutely beautiful for having entered where God called you, for whatever period of time he chose you to be there, learn what he wished you to

learn, then to leave when He again asked it of you. He knows all... and it takes great courage to follow where he wishes us to go.

 

Pax

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littlePaula

It really is moving to know that there are others who lived the same, who know how it feels. Thank you - all of you.

Especially to Marigold. This sentence ... It's hard to feel that way and then realise that you have to leave in order to survive... it just touches me so much. That's exactly it. And it is so hard.

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brandelynmarie
Yes, I too, am in awe of all of these courageous, holy & truly human women who discerned into & out of religious life. :saint: You all have given me much food for thought as I slowly move forward in my own discernment. May He give me the grace to follow His will in this...wherever it leads me ;)

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miserere55

I want to thank everyone who posted on this thread.  I, too, am a returnee to the world.  I wish I had known about Phatmass and" Leonie's Longing " when I left, it would have helped quite a bit.  My novice mistress from the monastery told us novices, postulants and juniors often, "that anyone who answers God's call to religious life, even if they only stay an hour, will be blessed in Heaven for having given up all and gone where they were lead."

 

 

 

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cmaD2006

LittlePaula -- thanks for having the courage to share part of your own journey.  There are a number of us on the phorum who have left in different stages of religious life (I myself left two different communities during postulancy -- one very positive experience and one quite negative).

 

If I can be of any support (that goes to anyone on here) feel free to PM.  We're all in this together, going towards the same goal of some day meeting face-to-face with Our Lord and King.

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maximillion

I've been out now for a lot longer than the 14 years I was in, but I never cease to praise Him for all I was given and all I learned in community.

I think it was preparation for the selfless giving that came later in caring for a very wayward and damaged foster child/children, and taught me valuable lessons of patience and faith that I would never have learned any other way.

 

So, though I still miss it  (yeah, none of you had guessed that had you? :hehe2:  :saint2: ) I know it was the right decision. I thank God for my vocation, I praise Him for the wonderful Sisters who demonstrated His love and His acceptance so ably whilst remaining so clearly human in nature...........

 

The decision to ask for exclaustration was the hardest decision I have ever had to make and the few months after I left the hardest time I ever faced at a personal level in my relationship with Him, so prayers to all of you have faced or who are facing those few months.

Wanting the life (in the cloister) so badly yet knowing in my heart it was no longer what He asked of me was a much more profound obedience than leaving everything behind to enter ever was, at least for me. It would have been so lovely to have stayed, and so wrong.

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