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Flower33

Religious life or not?

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Flower33

Recently I have been debating about religious life being a consagrated virgin. I feel that I am being called into this vocation,however Into  am not completly sure yet. Can this be temptation, God's test or that I am not called into religious life: since I found out the vocation of a consagrated virgin I felt deeply called to it even though everyone said i was still to young to dicern correctly, am 20.But then suddenly many guys appeared in college who were apparently  interested in me. In that one year and a half I got asked out more than ever in my life. But why could this have happened, as soon as I became deeply interested in becoming a consagrated virgin? Am worried because can it mean that maybe this vocation is not for me?

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Sponsa-Christi

Hi Flower33, 

I'm a consecrated virgin--I knew I was called to be a bride of Christ when I was twelve, I first discovered the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity (and knew almost immediately that I was called to be a consecrated virgin) when I was nineteen, and I was consecrated when I was twenty-three. So I certainly don't think twenty is too young to start seriously discerning this vocation. :)

If men are interested in you, I don't think it's a sign that you're not called to consecrated virginity. The heart of this vocation is choosing Christ above all other men, so this might be just an opportunity to actually do just that. 

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chrysostom

I dated a nice Catholic girl briefly. I discerned out of that because despite how great it was, I realized I wanted to follow Christ with everything that I could give Him, including my natural inclination to marry a woman. So it's the religious life for me, as long as they'll take me!

I'd advise getting a spiritual director if possible. In any case, God loves you so much, loves you more than all the most loving fathers and mothers in the world put together. He guides with gentleness and with peace.

Edited by chrysostom

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kateritekakwitha

Boys ask out pretty much anyone and I would not think it should be a factor in discernment. Im pretty sure if they saw a nun in normal clothes they would ask her out as well if they didn't know! The main thing, is how do you feel? Even if you date a guy it doesn't mean you aren't called to religious life. I think many consecrated virgins also dated guys when young as part of discerning

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Nunsuch

kateritekakwitha, religious life is really not about how you "feel." That is an emotional and, in the end, rather limited and superficial response. Religious life is a call from God, and may or may not reflect "feeling."

You seem to be relatively new to the whole question of what religious life is. Others, Like Sister Leticia, have lived it for years and really ARE in a position to indicate what it is, what it is not, and what factors go into discerning a valid call. Please remember, as the first pinned post on this page reminds us all, that "vocation is not about you." It is not centered on self, on what you might "like" or "feel." For someone who has not lived the life, you seem to have very absolute and certain ideas. Part of religious formation, remember, is about learning that you may not always be right.

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JHFamily

Twenty is certainly not too young to discern. 

As a further note, I would suggest not dating young men while you are discerning.   Marriage is a natural state and as such, its goodness is readily recognizable and easy manipulated by emotion.   Religious Life and Consecrated Virginity, however, are supernatural states, and its goodness is only recognizable by grace, hence the reason many people discourage young people from discerning.  If you discern that marriage is for you, then, yes, dating is fine.  However, until then, keep your eye on the ball.

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JHFamily

What I suppose I mean by this is that many people cannot understand or "see" the advantages that comes with religious life or consecrated virginity.  All they can see is the sacrifice.  In a marriage, there are discernible "rewards" -- the companionship of a spouse, the blessing of children, the increase in worldly esteem.  In religious life, those rewards mostly lie hidden -- the spiritual growth, the whisper of God in her heart, the sweet waiting in the antechamber of heaven, the greater security in hoping for eternal life, the higher place in heaven.  They are spurred to accept this state because of the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.  These things mean nothing for worldlings, only for those who understand, by grace, that these are worth far more than what the world has to offer.   Few will ever come to understand these things by reason alone.  Most will need the light of God.  A good sermon on RL (and understand that CV really falls under RL):  

 

 

But to tie it back in to the original topic, while dating it is easy to forget those rewards that are not immediately discernible (RL/CV) for those that are (marriage).  Therefore, until RL/CV has been ruled out, it is better just not to date.  And another sermon on this topic:  

 

 

 

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Nunsuch
4 hours ago, kateritekakwitha said:

Are you saying that if someone feels miserable and wretched every day during vocation visit and postulancy that they could still have discerned correctly and should go ahead and make vows?

I don't see how you can know that, and I actually think it is harmful for you to be advising that.

 

Again, you seem very young. There is a huge difference between talking constantly about what you "feel" and "like" and "want" and claiming that I'm suggesting that the only alternative is feeling "miserable" and "wretched." What I said is not "harmful," but your tendency to misread may be. Again, you really might want to consider that people with more experience and training than you might actually know something you do not. However, I give up. I've tried to make helpful suggestions, but you appear determined to misinterpret and to see only what you want to see in what others say. So I wish you luck. You will need it. But I will not engage here further.

Edited by Nunsuch
clarification

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Francis Clare

I feel I must come to the defense of Nunsuch.  If you really knew her, her background, education, experience, affiliation/s, the scholarly articles, etc. she's written and published on RL perhaps you might change your mind :))  This is a woman with a depth of knowledg, experience, and connections that I could only hope to have in my little finger :))  Such is the beauty and the scourge of the Internet - we DON"T really know each  other, we CAN'T  hear the vocal nuancess or OBSERVE facial expressions or body language in replies, which in most cases makes it difficult to know the true context of those replies.  After being on this Phorum for several years - and having more than a few years of doing spiritual direction as well as working in other ministries in the Church, I see a pattern here that's reared it's head many times before.  

A member replies to a post in good faith, the original poster takes offense (for whatever reason) to the reply, then the mud starts getting flung about.  Words such as condescending and insulting come from the mindset of the tosser.  Something else is going on that we are not privy to, nor should we be. Someone who has posted a total of 1 time throws shade on a well-respected long-time poster sends up a red flag to me. 

I didn't read anywhere where Nunsuch was discourage joining young, flourishing orders.  Nor did I find her comments "condescending and insulting". Quite the opposite.  Discernment does not end the moment one crosses over the doorstep of the convent/monastery.  DIscerment, on the behalf of both parties (both the young woman and the community) goes on right up until the moment one is solemnly/perpetually professed.  It's not just a "phase" one goes through before making a decision to enter or not.

I have met with many women in my years as a SD- both those  going into the convent and those coming out (whether of their own volition or if they were asked to leave).  Yes, the issues of "feelings"and "likes" comes up, but they are not the only things nor are they the important ones I must add that we grapple with.  Without starting a firestorm, I will leave it at that.

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Antigonos
7 hours ago, kateritekakwitha said:

There is no need to be so condescending and insulting. Perhaps you could do with learning more charity instead of discouraging people joining young flourishing orders, insulting young discerners and insisting that everyone should join communities that make them feel miserable and wretched as some sort of sacrifice.  i think people SHOULD feel happy and at peace in the right vocation , even if you may not be, and this should part of the criteria of discerning the call of God. You cant stick to a vocation unless you can live the life after all.

Somehow, I hear a lot of anger here.  Whether or not I would agree with Nunsuch, I think my response would be openly "thank you for your input" and think privately whatever I chose to think rather than lash out.  And this isn't the first post where you've indicated that what you seem to want is confirmation of your own views rather than a realistic appraisal of the situation.

The truth seems to be that many, if not most, communities are coping with smaller numbers of young vocations than in the past, and consequently have larger percentages of elderly sisters, many of whom need assistance or even nursing.  When I look at photos, I see lots of older nuns in motorized wheelchairs, for example.

It may seem naive to others, but it seems to me that one enters a community for one's own interior life primarily, not for social aspects.  I know it was fiction, and was set in the 1920s and '30s, but one of the major struggles for the protagonist of "The Nun's Story" [the most intimate view of religious life I know] was "detachment".  It was all too easy to form, or want to form, attachments with other sisters.

May I ask if you have living grandparents?  How do you relate to them?  Do you find them interesting or boring? Can you see yourself as part of a chain stretching through generations or are the elderly simply impediments, especially if they are disabled in some way?  Even if you found a community where, say, the average age of the sisters was 15-20 years older than you -- which today is not really much of a gap, it would be an increasing gap as time passes.  If you are 20 today, I'm sure someone of 35 doesn't seem ancient; but when you are 50, and she is 65, or if the age gap is even wider, you would feel rather differently toward a new 20 year old postulant, and she, about you.

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