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beatitude

My next steps

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TheresaThoma

I very happy for you and I will be praying for you as you take this next major step. Its a bit surreal isn't it?

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beatitude

In a way it's surreal. In another way it just feels completely...normal. :) I've got to know the sisters well and I'm at ease with them. It's been just over ten years since I met them, and I can see that the intervening decade has been good for me: as a twenty-year-old I really couldn't have entered anywhere. I was still figuring out what my capabilities and limitations were. At one point I would have said that I'd wasted a lot of time and looked enviously at those young women who enter straight from college or even school, but now I'm not so fixed on doing everything at 100 miles an hour and I can appreciate that each person's journey is different. This self-acceptance and peace is another sign to me that I'm doing the right thing. Even if I don't persevere in the life, I will have been right to try.

I am also remembering my reaction to these nuns when I met them for the first time. In my country they wear all blue, in honour of Mary, but no habit as such - it could just be a blue skirt and a blue shirt that they found in any second-hand shop (they take their poverty very seriously) with their congregational cross. They try to live in the same way as the poor and marginalised, so in Brazil this means a mud hut in an Amazonian village with the indigenous people, and in London it means a cramped apartment in an inner-city high rise. They say that they themselves cannot do much in these places, but they bring the Blessed Sacrament there, and He can do everything. As a nineteen-year-old, I was intrigued by this way of life, but also unimpressed: I wanted a beautiful monastery with ancient stonework and the traditional flowing veil and all the rest of it. I wanted some glamour and mystique. It was almost as if I were picking and choosing 'my' congregation from a conveyer belt of sushi. Now part of me is wondering nervously if I will even be accepted for postulancy - suppose some sisters disagree with the provincial about me? - which is a definite about-face! And this too is another sign that I'm knocking at the right door, because Heaven knows I couldn't have found this unfamiliar humility otherwise. ;)

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TheresaThoma

I can identify with this, recently the Lord has been showing me that as much as I thought I was ready I really wasn't. I was discerning with a different community and even though it might seem like those years were a waste of time but it was a time of preparation. 

I had a bit of a surreal moment too when I realized that I was ready to ask about entrance. I have a bit of "homework" from the community to do before I can "officially" ask. I know that the Sisters have some concerns but the vocation director and Mother have been very positive. The Lord is definitely using this time but it has continued to fly by. 

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McM RSCJ

Dear Beatitude,

I was so happy to read this update from you.  Over the years that I have checked into this website, your posts have always radiated a beautiful spirit, even when you were in tough situations, as with a particular roommate. . . .

Your posts also suggest you already live/work among the marginalized (your work with mentally ill persons) and in a simple way (a year not buying any new possession), so from what you have said about the Order you are asking to enter, I think your lived charism already makes a match with theirs.  I just hope that all can indeed find the accommodations (re:disabilities, etc) that makes it possible for you to proceed as a member of this Congregation if you continue to believe this is indeed your path, your calling.   God bless. 

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beatitude

Thank you for all the good wishes. :) 

22 hours ago, McM RSCJ said:

Your posts also suggest you already live/work among the marginalized (your work with mentally ill persons) and in a simple way (a year not buying any new possession), so from what you have said about the Order you are asking to enter, I think your lived charism already makes a match with theirs. 

I agree with this. I feel about Brother Charles of Jesus the way many people feel about Therese de Lisieux and her 'Little Way' - when I look at him I see the Gospel made possible, and it no longer feels so daunting to lead a Christian life.

When I lived in the refugee camp in the Middle East it hurt and worried me that eventually I would have to come away again, and I didn't feel able to be fully present to those people when I wasn't sharing 100% in their life. A girl in the psychiatric unit resentfully said something similar to me when I was going home: "At least you can get out of this place." For a while I looked for the job that would enable me to be most useful to people in that situation - psychologist, doctor, therapist, etc. - but then I realised that I was thinking about it in the wrong way. A sister who is interviewed in this video sums up their life in a way that makes me stand still and really think: "There's a kind of friendship that has grown up between many of us, and it's hard to explain...We would never have become close if we were, say, social workers and then went away in the evening. I think it's made a big difference that we stay here, day and night, also that we stand in the sun, take the same bus, stand in the cold - so I do think it makes a big difference..." This is what I've been searching for, and even if they or I decide that my vocation isn't with the community, I hope I will at least learn from them how to live this way.

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TheresaThoma

Thank you for sharing the video. It gives a beautiful snapshot into their life. I really like their way of dress it is practical and simple yet it still subtly marks them as religious. It just fits them.

It sounds like you have a good mindset in moving forward.

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Hna.Caridad
On 10/22/2017 at 11:48 AM, McM RSCJ said:

I was so happy to read this update from you.  Over the years that I have checked into this website, your posts have always radiated a beautiful spirit, even when you were in tough situations, as with a particular roommate. . . .

Your posts also suggest you already live/work among the marginalized (your work with mentally ill persons) and in a simple way (a year not buying any new possession), so from what you have said about the Order you are asking to enter, I think your lived charism already makes a match with theirs.

I could not have said it any better, McM RSCJ.

Beatitude, please know that I'm praying for you and for the Sisters in the congregation with whom you are so close as you all continue to discern a future together.

 

 

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NadaTeTurbe

I'm very happy to hear that. For you and also for the community. I'll pray for you and them. 

Btw your post make me remember I haven't written anything to the Sisters back in my hometown since coming in Ireland. Will do it now ! 

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Sister Leticia

McM's response has made me recall the idea (which I fully believe in!) that those of us called to religious life are born with the charism of our congregations. It's part of our DNA, so to speak, since the very beginning, though we don't know it (in the same way that we often don't know all the details of our ancestry and DNA, the things which make me who and what I am) 

But just as ancestral talents or temperament can determine what we end up doing (even before we discover that we've inherited this or that trait), so this charism buried deep within us affects our choices and attitudes, maybe with our work or studies or our interests or preferences. In your case, Beatitude, as McM has said, this has meant striving to live simply and working with the marginalised, and in other areas too, living and growing into this charism which has always been within you, and which you are now just beginning to discover and know as yours

And thus the search for a religious family is really just a search for that DNA match which will enable us to grow even more into this charism. 

The time ahead of asking and waiting and preparing can be exciting, scary, joyful, stressful - if not in the same day, certainly in the same week! Enjoy it, and all the opportunities for growth and discovery and changing relationships it will bring - and enjoy the knowledge that you are supported by so many prayers. 

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Antigonos

I am very happy to read of your "forward steps".  Even though we did not get to meet when you were in my neck of the woods, I've always felt a certain connection.  May your path continue to be "el-al" [upward and onwards]

 

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beatitude
16 hours ago, Antigonos said:

I am very happy to read of your "forward steps".  Even though we did not get to meet when you were in my neck of the woods, I've always felt a certain connection.  May your path continue to be "el-al" [upward and onwards]

 

I hope I'll be back to visit at least once more before I enter, as I have a lot of friends and old neighbours who would like to see me before I embark on a nunly existence and potentially get sent anywhere. :) I will write to you when I'm coming and we will finally get that cup of tea.

On ‎27‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 9:39 PM, NadaTeTurbe said:

I'm very happy to hear that. For you and also for the community. I'll pray for you and them. 

Btw your post make me remember I haven't written anything to the Sisters back in my hometown since coming in Ireland. Will do it now ! 

It's great to see you back here, Nada. Who knows, perhaps one day we will find ourselves in the same blue outfits. ;) 

Thank you everyone for your prayers. Sister Leticia, your thoughts on being born with a particular charism are really interesting, especially given the aversion to the sisters' life that I felt when I met them the first time. I think this aversion came from lack of faith (belief that such a simple ministry couldn't possibly be useful) and an anxious preoccupation with more superficial things. What they had to say to me evidently did resonate deep down, or I wouldn't have kept talking to them and going to visit, but the difference between how I felt towards their life then and how I feel ten years later is so great that it's almost as if I've shed a skin. I'm remembering that part of C.S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Eustace loses his dragon hide.

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Antigonos

I will write to you when I'm coming and we will finally get that cup of tea.

Looking forward to it!

Slightly at a tangent: I can understand why religious orders want women to enter young, for several reasons, but my personal take is that few 20 year olds have the wisdom and experience of 30 year olds -- that 10 years makes a huge difference, and I think the chances of the more mature at persevering in a vocation are much greater.  Nothing a person does ever goes to waste, in the long term.

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Sister Leticia

Yes, there are orders who still prefer younger entrants, but in the west/northern hemisphere, many prefer entrants who are at least in their mid-twenties, precisely because of greater maturity, life experience and so on. As you say, no experience is ever wasted. In my own congregation, which is international, even in those countries where women generally marry at a much younger age we'd think carefully about taking someone younger than 19-20.

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bardegaulois

Beatitude, this is the first visit to Phatmass I've made in many months, and this is the first thing I see here. I recall a conversation we had some time ago, which makes me especially pleased to hear your news:

God be with you throughout this process. Be assured of a place in my prayers.

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NadaTeTurbe
On 30/10/2017 at 1:56 AM, beatitude said:

It's great to see you back here, Nada. Who knows, perhaps one day we will find ourselves in the same blue outfits. ;) 

 

As you say, we need some maturity before entering religious life, so I'm waiting to finish my studies and have a bit of work experience before doing anything. But the door is open, for sure ;) 

I think another reason why our sisters are so worried about vocation is that it was so flourishing after their foundation, and for at least three/four decades. Now they are in a crisis, and some of the sisters who entered in the 60's, 70's, did not see that coming... I remember once, they told me they had for this year something like 10 postulants. I smiled, said it was a lot - some international communities that I know don't even have 2 or 3 postulants -, and the sister looked at me so sadly, and said "No, it's not, it's not enough." My heart just broke thinking about my "three" old little sisters who are so anxious about what will happen in their community :(

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beatitude

They were founded on the cusp of the Second World War, and I think the flood of vocations came because people who lived through that saw the truth of what the sisters were saying and doing about reconciliation. Today there may be a lot of violence in the world, but people tend to insulate themselves from it as far as possible, whereas in post-WWII Europe that wasn't so easy to do. I am praying that for so long as these sisters are needed, women will step forward and they will be here.

I still have so many doubts about my own vocation, but you don't need to be 100% certain of something to try it, and I don't think I can pray for vocations to this community with a pure heart when I'm saying in the next breath, "But of course it's not for me, God, it's too difficult for me." And it IS difficult. I 'click' with most of the sisters in the house where I'm staying at present, but one of them is a constant talker, and I crave silence. She met me at the train station and on the 90-minute journey back to the community it was talk, talk, talk without let-up. Today she and I went to do the shopping and I would have loved to walk in silence at least part of the way, but I heard everything - her childhood (even down to the colour of her family home), how she has a friend who used to be a train worker and how as young women they would buy clothes together, how she came to join the sisters, the list went on. If she's in a room with someone, she'll talk. It's a tough balance for me between responding politely and with interest, and retreating with tact when I need a little space. Today it dawned on me that if I enter and get sent to this house I could spend years struggling with this balancing act, and I thought longingly of my quiet little apartment and almost retracted my decision to ask for postulancy. Then the question came to me, "Do you want to be a saint?" and I realised that to say 'yes' with any sincerity I have to try this.

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