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28yrolddiscerner

Dropping out for Jesus

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28yrolddiscerner

Would it be stupid of me to drop out of a Masters Counseling program to become a postulant in a cloistered community?

I feel called. But if it doesn't work out with the community, then I am lost in life.

What do you think? I am asking for a spiritual director tomorrow, but I'd like your opinion/support.

Thanks & God bless you all!

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Luigi

How far are you in the master's program? I'd say finish up the master's first - whatever community you join will probably value your knowledge and skills. Besides, it takes a year or two for most people to build a relationship with a community, cloistered or otherwise. Keep working toward your master's while you start building a relationship with the community - write, visit, spend school breaks with them, get to know the members. By the time you finish your degree, you'll have a clearer idea who they are and how they live, and they'll have a clearer idea of whether they'd like to invite you to join their community.  

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Sister Leticia

A few questions:

Has the vocation director/novice mistress/whoever you're discerning with suggested that you consider doing this? - ie, is she encouraging you to apply to enter as soon as possible?

If not, where are you with your discernment? Have you even discussed the possibility of applying to enter? 

What's your situation re debt, your family's support or otherwise, any other commitments etc? 

How far are you into your master's?

And a few comments:

Remember that you can only discern to apply to enter - it's up to the community to discern/decide to accept you and when to accept you. You might be bursting to enter next week - they might want you to wait another year. 

A lot of cloistered communities have a pre-entry period which might include a live-in or extended visits over several months. A live-in, ideally, is an important part of the discernment for you of whether to apply (and for the community, whether to encourage/accept!). So you might find yourself being told you can't apply to enter yet anyway, or that the pre-entry programme will last another X months, which will see you through to the end of your studies.

And remember that if you do enter and leave, you will NOT "be lost in life". You will undoubtedly grieve, be confused, angry, might find it hard to find your feet again or to find work... but you will not be "lost in life". God is too faithful to allow that. 

I hope things go well with your new SD, and you'll soon be able to settle down with and trust her/him. 

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TheresaThoma

This is definitely something to discuss with the community and with your SD.  The community could give you the best direction.

I know how hard it can be to try to decide if you should stop your schooling. I was in a similar situation with my undergrad. I am grateful that I was encouraged to finish it out. I was about a year from graduating and was not in a position to enter at that time.  I am grateful that I did but that is my own personal  stituation.

So some things to consider. Where are you in your discernment with the community? Are you in application or just getting to know them?  

Are you having to go into debt to complete your Master's? This could delay you even more but if your education is paid for then it might be beneficial to continue.

Are you going to feel "trapped" if you don't finish your degree? You don't want to drop out, enter a community and then feel like you have to stay with that community because you feel like you don't have alternatives.

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findvocation

Maybe this will help you out

 

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.  Mark 1, 16 - 18

 

Look i dont know how big is your call to the contemplative life/cloister, but dont forget you can lost it, if you dont try out. School can be done anytime . . . 

 

Whats your priority God/World ? 

 

you must know or yoir spiritual director.

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Sister Leticia

This isn't about God v world. This is about where God wants someone to be now and in the immediate future. And regardless of how Jesus called his disciples, God doesn't always want people to rush into religious life - evidenced by the many orders which have thorough discernments and pre-entry programmes, and expect people to finish their studies and fulfill commitments before entering.

And if a call is strong and truly of God, then it will not be lost. God will make sure of that!

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Luigi
7 hours ago, findvocation said:

Maybe this will help you out

 

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.  Mark 1, 16 - 18

 

Look i dont know how big is your call to the contemplative life/cloister, but dont forget you can lost it, if you dont try out. School can be done anytime . . . 

 

Whats your priority God/World ? 

 

you must know or yoir spiritual director.

Sounds like you've already decided. So why are you asking us? The approval or disapproval of anyone on this board is completely insignificant in comparison to Jesus walking right up to you and telling you to drop your nets. If you've made up your mind, give it a shot - assuming, of course, that the community will accept you. Just don't tell them that some random stranger on a discussion board recommended that you quit your master's program - it might undermine your credibility.

I do recommend that you check with your academic advisor before you leave the master's program. How long would your already-accumulated credits be valid? You can't be the first person to drop out who might want to come back. If they say you could resume where you left off for up to five years, that gives you plenty of time to do even a two-year  novitiate and three years of temporary vows. If you discern out prior to that, you can go back to school. 

As an afterthought... Jesus didn't call the apostles to a cloister. He called them to the active evangelical life because he had only three years to get the church up and running. He was on something of a deadline. So the analogy isn't quite a perfect fit. 

Whatever you decide, go in peace to love and serve the lord. 

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Francis Clare

Without sounding harsh, I don't think ANY of us on this Phorum are in any position to give you advice whether to continue with your schooling or drop everything and enter a community.  We don't know you, your situation, where you are in your discernment, etc.  And I think it's kind of  simplistic for anyone to simply quote a Bible verse and basically say "That's what the Bible says, so that's your answer"  

As a SD, I'd advise you to speak to your spiritual director, the Vocation Directress, and pray......long and hard.  Discernment is a process, not an event!   Take it slow and heed the advice of those you trust.

And to rebut Findvocation. No, schooling CANNOT be done anytime, especially if you are in a graduate degree program.  Most have time limits imposed on them.  When I did both my master's and doctorate degrees,(as well as my SD study) I had an expectations placed on me by the university.  I had X number of years from start to finish for my MAPT and so on.

This is an extremely important step you're going to take, so give yourself the time, space, and guidance to make an informed decision.  Please don't be pressured by one or more parties.  It's ultimately YOUR decision, but make sure it is an INFORMED decision.  It just simply cannot be a decision of the heart......that's where we most often get into trouble :))

Edited by Francis Clare

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Era Might

Just a historical note, Benedictine monasticism emerged as a way to give the lifestyle more stability and temper some of the zealousness and radicalness of people rushing out to the desert, living in trees, living in caves, etc. If you're joining a religious order, you're kind of committing to a certain stability...it's not designed for rash decision-making. Romantics don't make good monks or husbands lol.

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beatitude

The summoning of the first disciples at Galilee is often quoted in relation to vocations...but there is another less-famous text that is just as important.

"They came to the other side of the lake, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him...And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned in the lake....As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed." 

On one side of Galilee, Christ's instruction was, "Come with me immediately." On the other, the instruction was, "Go home to your friends, and tell them about mercy." So dropping everything and sprinting to a monastery is not necessarily the wisest course. We all have to pray and seek out what God is asking of us personally.

Being too impulsive has a parallel temptation: becoming a "professional discerner" or convent shopper, constantly talking and thinking about vocations, spending hours browsing different communities' websites, but always having a reason for why you can't take your first steps along a specific path. It is important to find a balance: courage to move swiftly when the time is right, prudence to judge when that time is here, and trust to carry you through any doubts.

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findvocation

Heyy internet people calm down a bit, its only my opinion, so we should respect each other.

 

I mean we are scared nowadays to make hard choices....... Maybe iam wrong, but isnt god everything ?

 

My spiritual father told me the devil wants to delay entrances (as much as he can) into religious orders because he knows how fruitful the life is. fight the fight and don't give up!

 

Whats the point then that we have answers in bible ? 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6,33

 

Totally agree with @Francis Clare .... we know so much little information about you

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beatitude

FindVocation, I don't think anyone was criticising you personally. They just had reservations about the advice you gave.

We do have answers in the Bible, you're right - it's just that they're not as straightforward as you're saying. As I pointed out, there is a Biblical example of a man wanting to follow Jesus right then and then, but Jesus telling him no, he needed to go back home and tell people there about mercy. That was this man's vocation, and it was just as important as the fishermen's call to drop everything on the spot and follow Christ. To discern well we need to interpret the Bible. If we could open it and see our every decision written down for us in black and white, you wouldn't even need a spiritual father for guidance.

I think the important thing is to be faithful to the present moment. To do what God is asking of you in this moment. To renounce any and all distractions in this moment. I don't think this conflicts with your spiritual father's advice at all. As today's Gospel tells us, someone who is faithful in little things can be trusted in great. One other dangerous temptation is daydreaming about how we'll serve God in the future as a monk or nun and viewing all the time we have until entrance as a complete waste - in short, neglecting the little things in order to fantasise about that one great thing that we're going to do. If we're faithful to small things, they will lead us down the right path, but if we keep frittering away time by daydreaming about what we might do in the future (or even next week!), we may never get anywhere.

Of course there are some people who keep putting off religious life even though they have a niggling sense that they might be called, inventing fresh excuses for why they can't try it with every week that passes. If someone has been discerning for years and appears to just be treading water and going nowhere, there's obviously an issue. But there's a difference between prevaricating about a religious vocation and thinking prudently about whether the time is right.

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Francis Clare

No one is attacking anything or anyone :))  The point I was trying to make is this.....as good-hearted as we might be, I think we're doing a great disservice giving "pseudo-advice" to someone we know nothing about.  We're just not qualified to do so. It's a kind of benevolent malpractice IMHO.  Even if we DID know more about them, it would be fool-hardy to jump in with our suggestions.  After all, who are we to advise someone else about a very important step that may change the entire trajectory of their life - for  better or for worse?  As a SD I can assure you it takes a long time with lots of prayer, discussion, more prayer, more discussion, etc. to come to an informed decision.  And even then, in some cases, it's "iffy".  I believe one owes it to oneself and to the prospective community to be completely honest and open regarding religious life in general or a specific community in particular and the pros and cons as you believe them to be.   It's amazing (not!) that things have a way of making themselves known when one is under stress or has doubts.  It may be overt or a bit of a subversive.  But things DO bubble up to the surface sooner or later.  And it takes a lot of "clean up" work , as the saying goes, to right the ship again.  I wish I could tell you how many people I've had as directees over the years who were not honest with themselves before entering and came out needing to embark on a lot of introspective work. It's better to do the difficult work first.

I guess my point is this......please get all your ducks in a row (with the help of a SD or other trusted person) before jumping in the pond.  It makes staying afloat that much easier :))

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BarbaraTherese
On ‎13‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 5:54 AM, 28yrolddiscerner said:

Would it be stupid of me to drop out of a Masters Counseling program to become a postulant in a cloistered community?

I feel called. But if it doesn't work out with the community, then I am lost in life.

What do you think? I am asking for a spiritual director tomorrow, but I'd like your opinion/support.

Thanks & God bless you all!

I am hoping you have been able to locate a spiritual director and that you are feeling more confident about the way forward?

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28yrolddiscerner

Dear BarbaraTherse-No, I have emailed and called two priests on campus but gotten no response yet. I'll send out another email tonight. I'm moving forward in prayer though. Thank you!

Luigi-I think that is smart. I'm going to at least finish this school year & continue visiting. Thank you!

Sr. Leticia- Honestly, I'm just getting to know this community, but I have been discerning religious life for 5 years in general & I know I have a calling. I'm just finishing the first semester of 2 years of study, including summers & I'm very stressed out by the amount of work. Yes, it is important to remember that it is a two-sided relationship. Thank you!

Sorry I didn't get to everyone. Great feedback! Thank you all very much!!! :)

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