Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
IgnatiusofLoyola

What Happens When Nuns/sisters Leave The Order?

Recommended Posts

Totus Tuus
[quote name='Antigonos' date='29 March 2010 - 08:52 AM' timestamp='1269867173' post='2082561']
Then you think it was the sexual revolution which caused the disintegration of so many religious communities and so many nuns and priests leaving religious life, rather than Vatican II? Did [i]everyone[/i] misinterpret it? Were its decisions so confusingly written? [I'm quite serious about wanting to know your opinion; I'm not being sarcastic]
[/quote]

Oh! I wish I wasn't in such a rush or I would answer this more thoughtfully. I will try to come back to it.

No, I don't think it was just the sexual revolution. I think my post made clear that I consider that a contributing factor, however.

There were also preconditions... by that I mean, there were people purposely waiting for Vatican II to be completed who intended to purposely misrepresent its teachings in order to pull through an agenda that was in the works before the council was done.

I think it is a culmination of a lot of things, but I certainly do not think that Vatican II is in any way to take the blame for church problems we may be facing now.

Nor do I think that these problems in religious life, which are the topic of this thread, started after Vatican II. In fact, I think it has become clear that if anything, things are changing for the better since Vatican II. We still have a long way to go however in smoothing out some of the bumps.

That is how I see it, anyway.

More later, hopefully. Edited by Totus Tuus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nunsense
[quote name='Saint Therese' date='30 March 2010 - 02:11 AM' timestamp='1269875493' post='2082623']
I think its important to remember that 1- religious communities will usually do anything they legitimately can do help a candidate persevere(especially today when there are fewer vocations) 2- if someone leaves a community there is a valid reason and 3- If it were God's will for them to remain in the community, they would remain there.

God bless.
[/quote]


This is a beautiful thought but not true in every case. Sometimes there are personalities involved and superiors are human too. While it would be good if everyone acted in accordance with God's will at all times, sometimes what happens is that God uses whatever happens for His greater glory even if what was done wasn't done according to His will.

He has often turned suffering into something beautiful, but that doesn't mean that He wanted the suffering to happen in the first place. I doubt that all of St Therese's sisters or St Margaret Mary's were acting in accordance with God's will but He was able to use their behavior to sanctify these women.

The reason I take exception to what you wrote is that not everyone who has been asked to leave, wanted to do so or was asked for a 'valid' reason (at least one that was explained to them) and certainly not all of them 'do everything to help a candidate persevere' although this is the ideal and it would be good if they all did this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indwelling Trinity
[quote name='vee8' date='29 March 2010 - 10:07 AM' timestamp='1269868020' post='2082567']
:evil: Deafness schmefness you would have been right there helping her. [size="1"]Considering your age you probably were too![/size] :o :whistle: :blowkiss:
[/quote]

Laughing.... wait until you are the one doing such things!:P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sister Marie
[quote name='HisChild' date='28 March 2010 - 10:56 PM' timestamp='1269835016' post='2082400']
Sister Marie, thank you for your visible witness of your vocation to Jesus. It's so heartening to see sisters in habits. Among other things, it really does provide to the laity a religious moment - a time out, if you will, in our crazy and sometimes horrid world that our Lord is in our midst during our struggles. The habit, "even" modified, also often provides to a young woman or man a seed, one that may grown into a vocation. So thank you.

So, dear Sister, I just wanted to share that I understand what you speak of... and also to exhort those that reads these posts down the line who are discerning religious life to carefully discern your vocation to ANY community. What's the old saying? Don't judge a book by its cover. A pretty habit does not a holy community make. I just see so many posts here go on about the habits. This one wants to join this community because the habit is so traditional and so pretty and that one wants to join that community because the veil is to the waist or the habit is in the color she likes. And they think that BECAUSE of the habit and the traditional horarium or the grill separating the sisters from the people, makes the community somehow better or more authentic. These habits, these rubrics ARE beautiful, and can be incredible tools to help one along the way to holiness, but don't get seduced by the externals to the point that you do not see the inner heart of the community. Some of us have been there... and then post here today.
[/quote]

Dear HisChild,

Thank you for your kind words. I was a little wary of posting how I felt because I didn't want it to seem too judgmental. I certainly don't think that all sisters treat one another this way which is why I mentioned some communities who have been just lovely to me. It has just been my experience. I have also experienced the anger of sisters at the "childishness" and "immaturity" of wearing the religious habit. I want to say, if this helps me to grow in holiness, and it helps others, what is so wrong?

There is unfortunately a lot of jealousy and competition between communities especially as regards vocations. There are about 10-15 sisters in my community in formation (postulate through temporary profession) which is pretty good considering the circumstances. Sisters from the more liberal communities sometimes tell us that are going for "quality not quantity" as far as new vocations are concerned. The sisters from some of the more popular and orthodox congregations who have a ton of postulants each year look down on our slow but steady trickle of vocations while many of their postulants leave. Again, this is not a judgment on their formation, just an observation through my meetings with different communities.

I think we need to start working together. We need one another. Religious life is like one big puzzle in the Church. Each piece is necessary but must be given the room to be their own unique piece, still part of the large picture of authentic religious life. I teach... I can't be a nurse, a social worker, a writer, a painter, a doctor, and a theologian at the same time (although if there are any teachers on here, you know we do all these jobs as well!)! I need the other pieces to do that. If one piece has figured out a way to make formation better they should share it. If another piece has found a way to make more traditional habits on a budget, maybe they could help those of us who have had to buy modified ones instead of ignoring us.

Anyway, I know this is a little off topic but I think the puzzle image is a good one for formation too. Each sister needs to be able to be her own unique person as God made her but still have one mind and heart with the community. I think some communities are afraid today of letting their younger sisters be themselves and make mistakes because they are afraid of the future for the whole community. There has to be some room to grow without being asked to leave without any warning.

I really am praying for all of you and I thank you for praying for me. I have experienced some unfortunate departures of dear sisters who I still believe have vocations. Some of them felt compelled to leave because of circumstances they could no longer live in. It is a heartbreaking thing for that sister and for the community. If any of you would ever like to talk about some of your experiences through PM I would be available. I offer this to let you know that there is a religious here who does understand your plight and your need to talk it through. I'm on my way to evening prayer right now. Know each of you will be remembered before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!

Sister Marie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cmaD2006
[quote name='Saint Therese' date='29 March 2010 - 12:11 PM' timestamp='1269875493' post='2082623']
I think its important to remember that 1- religious communities will usually do anything they legitimately can do help a candidate persevere(especially today when there are fewer vocations) 2- if someone leaves a community there is a valid reason and 3- If it were God's will for them to remain in the community, they would remain there.

God bless.
[/quote]


[quote name='nunsense' date='29 March 2010 - 05:13 PM' timestamp='1269893600' post='2082797']
This is a beautiful thought but not true in every case. Sometimes there are personalities involved and superiors are human too. While it would be good if everyone acted in accordance with God's will at all times, sometimes what happens is that God uses whatever happens for His greater glory even if what was done wasn't done according to His will.

He has often turned suffering into something beautiful, but that doesn't mean that He wanted the suffering to happen in the first place. I doubt that all of St Therese's sisters or St Margaret Mary's were acting in accordance with God's will but He was able to use their behavior to sanctify these women.

The reason I take exception to what you wrote is that not everyone who has been asked to leave, wanted to do so or was asked for a 'valid' reason (at least one that was explained to them) and certainly not all of them 'do everything to help a candidate persevere' although this is the ideal and it would be good if they all did this.
[/quote]

What nunsense said (as well as dominican soul, I just didn't quote her).

I definitely take issue with #1 -- this is the *ideal*, that is that a community should do everything within its power to help the discerner persevere. In my praying/discerning/disecting of what happened to me recently I am convinced that the community was not mature enough to know how to "do everything within its power", in fact I think it completely missed the mark.

#2 -- what nunsense said; not everyone is asked to leave for a valid reason. And ... not everyone is told either what those reasons were.

#3 -- recently (within the last year) my view on the idea that "if it were God's will for them to remain in community, they would have" has really changed. We humans (those in formation, and the sisters in charge of formation) have free will. If for example, there was an injustice towards someone in formation -- was it God's will? I would say NO -- God would not have willed something inherently sinful. However -- did God allow it? YES ... and as Romans 8:28 says "We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." He will use all for our sanctification, because at the end of it all what counts is to seek God above all, to walk faithfully in Him regardless of vocation.

Saint Therese -- ideally what you said is true; but in practice I believe that it is not true with many communities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cmaD2006
[quote name='Sister Marie' date='29 March 2010 - 05:45 PM' timestamp='1269895511' post='2082836']
...
I think we need to start working together. We need one another. Religious life is like one big puzzle in the Church. Each piece is necessary but must be given the room to be their own unique piece, still part of the large picture of authentic religious life. I teach... I can't be a nurse, a social worker, a writer, a painter, a doctor, and a theologian at the same time (although if there are any teachers on here, you know we do all these jobs as well!)! I need the other pieces to do that. If one piece has figured out a way to make formation better they should share it. If another piece has found a way to make more traditional habits on a budget, maybe they could help those of us who have had to buy modified ones instead of ignoring us.

Anyway, I know this is a little off topic but I think the puzzle image is a good one for formation too. Each sister needs to be able to be her own unique person as God made her but still have one mind and heart with the community. I think some communities are afraid today of letting their younger sisters be themselves and make mistakes because they are afraid of the future for the whole community. There has to be some room to grow without being asked to leave without any warning.
[/quote]

Amen Sister -- formation is such a key component to the development of the religious, and you are right ... if the communities start working together instead of competing (since in reality God will call a candidate to X or Y community) it can only serve to strengthen the Body of Christ. I also have to admit that I had been kind of wary of those communities that do not wear a habit ... and what I need to look at is the quality of their formation, the faithfulness of their sisters for I bet that there are communities that do not wear a habit or wear a modified habit that are very faithful to the magesterium of the Church. And yes you're right (you said it in another post) that the habit does not make a sister.

I agree with the puzzle image -- a community has to have one heart and mind, a charism that all is faithful to ... but each sister brings their own uniqueness to the community and that serves to strengthen the community not diminish it.

[quote name='Sister Marie' date='29 March 2010 - 05:45 PM' timestamp='1269895511' post='2082836']
I really am praying for all of you and I thank you for praying for me. I have experienced some unfortunate departures of dear sisters who I still believe have vocations. Some of them felt compelled to leave because of circumstances they could no longer live in. It is a heartbreaking thing for that sister and for the community. If any of you would ever like to talk about some of your experiences through PM I would be available. I offer this to let you know that there is a religious here who does understand your plight and your need to talk it through. I'm on my way to evening prayer right now. Know each of you will be remembered before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!

Sister Marie
[/quote]

Thank you for your prayers ... they will be most helpful, and for the offer to communicate via PM. From experience I know that sometimes there is no outlet for what has happened, and to be able to discuss things in confidence with someone who will not be judgemental is a true blessing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dakurgie
I have found this thread very interesting and enlightening.

I have been discerning with a community for several years now and have student loans to payoff before I can enter.
But a real fear about entering is: If, when, and how I would be asked to leave or if I wanted to leave what would it look like? So everyone's experiences are truly taken to heart.

The question I now pose is: Would it be of value to talk about it upfront in the discernment process? Or, would it look like that you were not really interested?

I believe my fear has disapated but I also know that I personally take separations hard.

Thanks for your thoughts in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tinytherese
I really do think that it's the vow of obedience that gets me nervous when I think about it. This isn't to say that I'm a headstrong rebel and it can train us in humility. I just have the image of someone's identity being supressed, especially at a complative convent.

The practice of being silent many times of the day, get me feeling uneasy as well. This isn't to say that silence can't be a good thing at times, but I'd still like to have social interaction and for sisters to get to know each other properly. I remember going on a visit once to a community in the past, and what with all of the quiet and silence that we had to keep at most times apart from recreation, I felt as if they weren't getting a true feel for who I am personality and temperament wise.

Talk of mortification used to not be such a big deal to me as well, but I wonder how far you draw the line on that. I wouldn't want to become puritanical or scupulous. I know that we should definitely not be attached to material things, but I wouldn't want it to look or feel like we were being massochists or hate innocent pleasures, because pleasure is not evil, unlike what lots of people outside of the Church mistakingly think that we believe. I thought that religious communities were called to off whatever they do suffer for the good of others, but not to torture themselves in the process and beat themselves up. I get the image of someone getting hit with something and saying, "Thank you, may I have another." :mellow:

I just know that these things have been on my mind as far as religious life goes. Part of me is just so nervous about living such a vocation. I am a sensitive young lady who has experienced various forms of abuse, been manipulated, sadistically tortured, and been very hurt by people who I should have been able to trust. Some of my friends have minimized what I've gone though, acting as if I was the selfish one with a wonderful life that I should be grateful that worse didn't happen to me.

I would just really hope that if one dedicates their entire life to the Lord like this with others who do the same, that they would treat each other with love and dignity as every family should. They are not called "sisters" for nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Macies
As many of you know, I am in the process of leaving one community for another. Active to contemplative life. It has been difficult for a variety of reasons, but I have found great support in the most unexpected ways. Angels unaware.

Devotedtohim makes a good point which I think went unnoticed. Community IS what you make it/where you find it, and whether it be a marriage, a book group, group therapy, etc., leaving is almost always painful. I would go so far as to say it doesn't matter if you leave on your own or if you are asked to leave; it is a break in relationship and a break is painful.

I really respect the manner in which this subject has been discussed, privately without names or details. I know some of you have most likely changed certain details for privacy sake and I commend your use of discretion.

Great thread!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nunsense
Personally, I love St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi and always have, but I often wondered how her Prioress took her behavior. She couldn't have started this way as a postulant or novice or she would have been kicked out, that's for sure. But once she was professed, there was little they could do to her, so she was free to give rein to her 'feelings', which every Prioress has warned me against! :) If she had been in an English Carmel, the Prioress would have given her a dose of castor oil! :P

I love all the saints who had strong emotions or feelings, but we aren't encouraged to imitate that, just the stern, harsh ones! hmmmmm

On another note, one example of how superiors make mistakes and are just human sometimes when they ask someone to leave, is the case of Father Gracian, St Teresa of Avila's spiritual director, confessor and at some times, superior. She took a personal vow of obedience to him, and loved him dearly. He and St John of the Cross worked hard to protect the nuns from the control of the fathers, but at one election, Father Doria was chosen as superior of the fathers. Father Gracian voted for him, and St John of the Cross said to him (prophetically) "You have just voted for the man who will take away your habit." It was true. Due to jealousy and for political reasons, Father Doria managed to get Father Gracian kicked out of the Order in 1592. The Pope initially upheld this decision and it wasn't until 1596 that this order was rescrinded and even then Gracian had to wait another year before he could be reinstated because of the supporters of Doria (and even then there were even more problems). Superiors can and do make mistakes. Father Gracian would probably have become a saint if his career hadn't been so derailed and made this impossible for his supporters in the Church to do at the time. I pray to him because I know that he understand injustice and pain.

Everything that has been written in this thread has been good, in my opinion, because everyone has tried to express their pain or suffering with charity and understanding and compassion. St John of the Cross said that we need to look at the superior as Christ in the community and not to focus on their human failings and weaknesses, but he was also able to see the reality of a superior being human, or he wouldn't have made that statement to Gracian. St John and Gracian both suffered deeply at the hands of their Carmelite brethren, so nothing has really changed over the years.

Humans are humans. Our responses are what matters and we need to learn from our own mistakes and from our sufferings. But that doesn't mean we can't be practical and try to right wrongs wherever we see them, if at all possible. I am sure that although St John endured the hostility of his Prior while he was dying, he must have felt some sense of human relief when his Prior finally apologized to him and asked his forgiveness, because then he could die in peace.

We must love those who hurt us, and wish them well, but part of that prayer for them is that they learn from their mistakes as well. What a great blessing for St John's Prior to have been able to ask his forgiveness before he died, and to remove that sin from his soul.

This has been a fascinating thread and everyone has been so honest and so charitable as well. I feel blessed at being able to read these stories. Thank you everyone.


Just read your post Macies - prayers for your move :pray: Edited by nunsense

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vee
[quote name='laetitia crucis' date='29 March 2010 - 11:54 PM' timestamp='1269870854' post='2082574']
There should be a saint of "normalcy". One that committed venial [i]and[/i] mortal sins, yet rose above it to live a life of virtue (with the occasional struggles along the way)... in an attainable way. Someone EVERYONE could relate to, no matter where you are in life. Is that a tall order? :lol: :hehehe: Does a saint like that even exist?

[/quote]

Yes, go look in the mirror. :)

[quote]Laughing.... wait until you are the one doing such things![img]public/style_emoticons/default/P.gif[/img][/quote]

Whatever God wants. :thumbsup:

edited for clarity Edited by vee8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
osapientia
[quote name='brandelynmarie' date='28 March 2010 - 08:01 AM' timestamp='1269774078' post='2081899']
:console: I also want to thank everyone who has contributed on this thread as well...I cannot even imagine the pain :sadder: that you have experienced...It sounds difficult at times to distinguish between what is healthy & not healthy in a community while you are experiencing it & even afterwards! (i.e. Is this to teach me humility or is this absolute humiliation & abusive?) It is also edifying to hear how you guys have continued on your journeys to find His will for your life :) .I have suggested to some on here privately about starting a book on such a topic & so I am tickled that nunsense has such a project in the works :blush:

Wasn't Thomas Merton who said a monastery is a refugium peccatorum? :saint:
[/quote]
It may well be that Merton said that, I'm not sure. My own spiritual director, a Carthusian for 7 years, now a parish priest once said to me that if the Church is a hospital for sinners, then the monastery must be INTENSIVE CARE. That just cracks me up.

Pax,
Osap

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Divine Mercy 9999
This is a great thread - lots of very good posts. I have a question for anyone who wants to answer. What advice would you give someone discerning a vocation? Especially in light of your experiences (there has been lots of good advice given already :) )...

Second question - I am older and am discerning. I've heard it said that older vocations tend not to persevere. (It is the reason some communities won't take older vocations.) Any advice, comments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nunsense
[quote name='Divine Mercy 9999' date='30 March 2010 - 10:54 AM' timestamp='1269906851' post='2082976']
This is a great thread - lots of very good posts. I have a question for anyone who wants to answer. What advice would you give someone discerning a vocation? Especially in light of your experiences (there has been lots of good advice given already :) )...

Second question - I am older and am discerning. I've heard it said that older vocations tend not to persevere. (It is the reason some communities won't take older vocations.) Any advice, comments?
[/quote]


I am on my way out the door right now so don't really have time to answer much but I wanted to say that you are NOT 'an older vocation'. You are an 'individual' with a vocation and don't put yourself into any group or category that will limit your desire to belong to God through His Church. Your way may be harder, but every Cross is individual, and every gift is individual.


My sister sent me this little saying so I put it on my computer desktop.

[font="Verdana"]"What you are is God's gift to you.
What you make of yourself is your gift to God."[/font]

Prayers for your vocation :pray:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  


It costs about $850 a year for Phatmass.com to survive–and we barely make it. If you’d like to help keep the Phorum alive, please consider a monthly gift.



×
×
  • Create New...