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Kayte Postle

Feeling Called, but not Feeling the Apostolate?

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Kayte Postle    472
Kayte Postle

Hello all! It's been awhile, but I'm still floating around.

I have a question for you all, do you think you can be called to an order but not feel 100% about their apostolate? There is a community that I connect with their charism, spirituality, and prayer life very much. They are, however, mainly a teaching order, and that concerns me a bit. I never saw myself as a teacher, and honestly do not think I would do well as one. I haven't had the chance to discuss this yet with the VD, but hopefully I will hear back from her soon.  Thoughts?

Thanks!

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

I am not at all qualified in any way, Kayte, to answer you  - I am in the laity.

When I read your post, I did wonder if a religious order with an apostolate of teaching would offer a discerner who has other qualities and attractions, some other position more suited to them and their gifts and within their Order and community ........other than a teaching position.  Probably too advice from the VD will be a real signpost in your discernment journey.  I am taking it you mean the VD in the community that attracts you.

I am in Australia and it is 5.25pm here now.  A few hours away and I feel that those are waking or near it who really are qualified to reply to you and that this will be really helpful.

God bless your discernment journey.

Prayer.

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Sister Leticia    398
Sister Leticia

Hello Kayte

A few questions for you...

Do the sisters in this community see themselves as teachers (ie in classes schools/colleges only) or as educators, which is much broader? Education embraces much, much more than teaching -it's concerned with growth, development, formation. So a counsellor or a social worker or spiritual director or prison chaplain, for example, can be an educator, as much as the person who teaches adults or children. You might not yet know the answer to this, but it's something to ask the VD. 

How open do you feel the community is to having non-teachers in their midst?

If there are some sisters who aren't teachers (either never have been, or have re-trained since entering because they felt called to do something else and the community supported them in this) then see if you can talk with them. Find out how it has been to be the only ones doing something different, and how they manage to feel part of the community's mission. This isn't only about having different work, but also about a different schedule, different points of reference, different rhythm of work and holidays etc.

Go back to the community's roots and foundation. Were they founded solely to run schools, or to respond to local needs (which then or later became education)?

You haven't said what your work/studies/background is, what are you gifts and talents, and what you would hope to do with all this in the future. Is it so very far removed from education?

Blessings and prayers for you as you continue to discern

 

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Antigonos    201
Antigonos

I sometimes wonder, in orders which have an apostolate like teaching, or nursing, who does the cooking, or changes the light bulbs or sews the habits.  Some of these tasks can be rotated among the sisters, but some require special training or education -- I bet quite a few sisters in a teaching order find even putting up a hem a challenge, or that, as sisters age, and require special diets, at least one needs to be trained as a dietician.  So, when I read about someone who hesitates to discern with an order because she's not sure if the apostolate suits her [ or if she suits the apostolate] I wonder about those in an order who have jobs other than the official apostolate.

When my daughter did her Israeli National Service, she quickly discovered that she was much more computer-savvy than the secretaries, who had been given a new program without orientation.  Ostensibly, my daughter was there to be a "gofer" and general dogsbody for the nurses in the clinic -- but she quickly became the go-to person when the computer tied itself in knots.  Surely something similar happens in every community?

Edited by Antigonos

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Nunsuch    388
Nunsuch

You are wise to appreciate the difference between ministry and charism. Charism is clearly more important in discerning which community you feel called to enter. A few things occur to me. First, as Sister Leticia and others have suggested, there may be more ministry opportunities in the community than you realize. For instance, in a teaching community with which I am associated, there have always been a small number of sisters trained in health care-related works to take care of members in need of nursing, etc. This is obviously very different from a kind of "lay sister" capacity from the old days. Finally, if you are truly called to that charism, you may find yourself more open to the group's education work than you may realize now. Don't be categorically closed to it!

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Kayte Postle    472
Kayte Postle

@Sister Leticia You make a really good point. They are focused more on Catholic education rather just teaching. I was able to talk to a young woman who is entering the order and she was able to answer some of my questions about the apostolate. I'm still waiting to hear back from the VD.

@Nunsuch You are right! The charism is much more important than the apostolate. God will give me the grace to embrace teaching if that's what is being asked of me in this community. As someone has said to me before "today's grace is not sufficient for tomorrow".

 

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DameAgnes    613
DameAgnes

I have known 3 different young women who entered into the DSMME's saying, "I never actually saw myself as a teacher" and at some point in the novitiate said, "yeah...I'm not cut out to teach..." They all eventually left. One ended up persisting in a contemplative community, the other two never applied elsewhere. One can never know, in the end, until one tries it out. 

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OnlySunshine    4,501
OnlySunshine

I never saw myself as a teacher, either, because I've actually worked in childcare before and was not very good at it no matter how hard I tried or how much training I received.  I applied to a Carmelite order back in 2009 and one of their apostolates was working with foster/orphaned children and they had a school on-site at the convent.  I was asked to work in the apostolate for 6 weeks before entering the order and I wasn't able to work very long at all - mostly because of homesickness but I also did not like the apostolate since I am better with babies than I am with teaching older children.  I ended up withdrawing my application voluntarily.

If you've tried being a teacher before and didn't like it, chances are it is not for you.  If you've never tried, go for it because you may surprise yourself.

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Yinepu Sanctimonialis    16
Yinepu Sanctimonialis

I can advise two things to you Dear Kayte Postle...The Lord always message through our hearts, so always listen to your intuitions ... And talk a lot about what you need, what is in your mind (doubts, fears,...) with your VD and with everyone who related in your Calling and can help. Your life is the result of your choices ... And the most beautiful thing in our life to be Called... Please do not hesitating about to join, in one good community...everything come easily... I wish the best - decision - for you !

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Kayte Postle    472
Kayte Postle

Thank you all for all the great insight and advice! The VD will be calling me tomorrow to talk more, and I will get to ask some more questions. They also have a retreat next weekend that I am hoping to attend. Please pray everything works out.

This leads me to another question, for those who are religious or have entered before, did you feel the peace and hominess with your community the first time you visited or did it take several visits? I have visited this community before and am continually drawn there. However it didn't necessarily feel like home. (granted as an introvert it takes awhile for me to feel comfortable somewhere new) Thoughts?

 

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