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IgnatiusofLoyola

What Happens When Nuns/sisters Leave The Order?

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Sponsa-Christi

Also...people in the Church can still be nasty to you even if you are a CV!

 

It's true a CV doesn't have to live a life in common, but you're still a part of the community that is the Church (which, as we all know, is made up of imperfect human beings). 

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oremus1

thats all very true but in reality i'd say about 80%+ of the CVs i know are ex religious.

 

also @ sposa, thats true, but CV does not surrender their will in the same way or to the same extent as a religious. Your Bishop does not care what you eat for breakfastor what you are doing at 3:00pm for example. so there is less potential for abuse compared to convents. also the 'testing' / abuse and forced penance of nuns cannot really be compared to any equivalent in the CV life.

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nunsense

thats all very true but in reality i'd say about 80%+ of the CVs i know are ex religious.

 

also @ sposa, thats true, but CV does not surrender their will in the same way or to the same extent as a religious. Your Bishop does not care what you eat for breakfastor what you are doing at 3:00pm for example. so there is less potential for abuse compared to convents. also the 'testing' / abuse and forced penance of nuns cannot really be compared to any equivalent in the CV life.

 

 

It does seem that you have a very cynical and negative view of religious community life so perhaps becoming a CV might be your best option. As you say, there is no need to be obedient to another person if you are a CV (except perhaps your Bishop but of course, he doesn't get involved in your daily life) and since you only answer to yourself, there isn't any of that tedious trying to get along with others on an intimate day by day basis.

 

It's funny because I have had a lot of bad experiences in religious life, and yet my attitude is still positive -  I believe everyone is trying their best. Even when I have been abused (or 'tested'), I don't honestly believe that the person doing it is evil or even conscious of their actions. Most people think that they are in the right - or they wouldn't act as they do. Human beings have an incredible ability to rationalize and justify their actions. So those who have hurt others in religious life, no doubt have a belief that either they are justified in doing so for some reason or that the injured person is just over-reacting to the situation, or misunderstanding it.

 

So I like to look back on bad things that have happened to me in religious life (and in general) and say 'Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.' I haven't always felt this when I have just had to leave a community and the pain is still fresh, but that's just because any grieving takes time and goes through a lot of different emotional states along the way to acceptance.

 

That doesn't mean I excuse or condone unacceptable behavior, because I don't. And I certainly believe that one should avoid toxic environments and/or people whenever possible. But I also don't think it wise to take a bad experience and turn it into a reason to condemn all religious or even all in one community.I have been blessed to have lived with some near-saints as well as some very damaged and damaging individuals. I prefer to focus my memories on the blessings I have received rather than on the hardships - that way I am not carrying a sack full of giant boulders behind me as I climb a mountain (watch the movie The Mission to understand that reference). 

 

Anyway, if religious life just doesn't appeal to you, then perhaps it isn't for you.You have been discerning CV for a long time - perhaps you are on the right track?

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Sponsa-Christi

It is true that consecrated virginity doesn't have the same potential for "positive" abuse in the same way that religious life does (i.e., it would be hard to force a CV to do something actively).

 

However, CVs lack the canonical protections that religious have. So if a CV is treated badly by her bishop, she really doesn't have much recourse. For example, if a CV gets a new bishop, and he decides that he doesn't want to recognize her as being consecrated, that CV could be left in sort of a vocational limbo for the rest of her life. 

 

Also, being a CV, you do face a lot of negative prejudices from otherwise good Catholics. Once, I was introduced to a priest for the first time, and when he heard I was a CV, he said out loud to the whole group: "When I hear 'consecrated virgin,' I think: crazy!" That's kind of an extreme example, but it's not an isolated one in my own life at least. And issues of personal hurt feelings aside...if priests and other people in the Church assume these kinds of negative things about you right away, that could potentially make it very hard to be fully involved in the life of your parish or diocese.

 

So like religious life, it's still very possible to have bad experiences as a CV. This doesn't mean it's not worth the risk if you sincerely feel that Christ is calling you to this, but I do think a desire to avoid abusive situations is not a really good motive for discerning this vocation.

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maximillion

 

 

but I do think a desire to avoid abusive situations is not a really good motive for discerning this vocation.

 

 

Well said. 

 

Or if it comes to it, for choosing any vocation!

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oremus1

It is true that consecrated virginity doesn't have the same potential for "positive" abuse in the same way that religious life does (i.e., it would be hard to force a CV to do something actively).

 

However, CVs lack the canonical protections that religious have. So if a CV is treated badly by her bishop, she really doesn't have much recourse. For example, if a CV gets a new bishop, and he decides that he doesn't want to recognize her as being consecrated, that CV could be left in sort of a vocational limbo for the rest of her life. 

 

Also, being a CV, you do face a lot of negative prejudices from otherwise good Catholics. Once, I was introduced to a priest for the first time, and when he heard I was a CV, he said out loud to the whole group: "When I hear 'consecrated virgin,' I think: crazy!" That's kind of an extreme example, but it's not an isolated one in my own life at least. And issues of personal hurt feelings aside...if priests and other people in the Church assume these kinds of negative things about you right away, that could potentially make it very hard to be fully involved in the life of your parish or diocese.

 

So like religious life, it's still very possible to have bad experiences as a CV. This doesn't mean it's not worth the risk if you sincerely feel that Christ is calling you to this, but I do think a desire to avoid abusive situations is not a really good motive for discerning this vocation.

Yes thats true but the sort of thing you describe re the CV does not have the potential to be physically or psychologically as harmful to the CV as the abuse of nuns. For example, if the CV does not like the opinion or comments of a priest or person, she is free to avoid them. The cloistered nun does not have that choice she must ensure that sort of thing day after day worrse and worse, even if she wants to leave, it will take many months to sort out. If the CV is attacked physically she easily has recourse to the police. the cloistered nun has not got any protection.

 

The CV will not have enforced penances put upon her, whereas the nun might.

 

And yes, in many diocese, the bishop ignores the CVs. and maybe the CV is not fully invoilved in her parish. but that is a whole different level to a prior or sister who actively seeks to make life horrible on a day to day basis for the cloistered nun who has a vow of obedience, and could be required to do enforced penance.

 

If the priest says the CV vocation is crazy, that is a whole other thing comapred to someoen you see everyday saying horrible things to you all the time. in  convent, since part of you expects the Lords will to be revealed through your superior you yourself cannot  tell the difference between being tested and being abused. it slowly eats away at you. until you cant take it anymore and either go crazy or someone on the outside helpd you out.

 

also the CV can freely chat to third parties about what she is going through. the cloistered nun cannot. her letters may be censored and she would never know.

 

the bishop is unlikely to bully the CV. in convents, bullying can easily happen.

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truthfinder

Yes thats true but the sort of thing you describe re the CV does not have the potential to be physically or psychologically as harmful to the CV as the abuse of nuns. For example, if the CV does not like the opinion or comments of a priest or person, she is free to avoid them. The cloistered nun does not have that choice she must ensure that sort of thing day after day worrse and worse, even if she wants to leave, it will take many months to sort out. If the CV is attacked physically she easily has recourse to the police. the cloistered nun has not got any protection.

 

The CV will not have enforced penances put upon her, whereas the nun might.

 

And yes, in many diocese, the bishop ignores the CVs. and maybe the CV is not fully invoilved in her parish. but that is a whole different level to a prior or sister who actively seeks to make life horrible on a day to day basis for the cloistered nun who has a vow of obedience, and could be required to do enforced penance.

 

If the priest says the CV vocation is crazy, that is a whole other thing comapred to someoen you see everyday saying horrible things to you all the time. in  convent, since part of you expects the Lords will to be revealed through your superior you yourself cannot  tell the difference between being tested and being abused. it slowly eats away at you. until you cant take it anymore and either go crazy or someone on the outside helpd you out.

 

also the CV can freely chat to third parties about what she is going through. the cloistered nun cannot. her letters may be censored and she would never know.

 

the bishop is unlikely to bully the CV. in convents, bullying can easily happen.

 

Hi Oremus1,

I've read several of your posts now on several different topics, and you seem to have a rather distorted view of religious life. ( don't get me wrong, I prefer that rather 'traditional' religious life of EF communities and all that).  Some of the comments you write about not having any protection from abuse and enforced penances lead me to believe that your understanding of the cloistered life is based off medieval stories and anti-Catholic literature from the 19th century (ie Maria Monk and such). Cloistered nuns can leave - most will do it through the appropriate channels such as having their vows dismissed, ex-claustration, or some (rarely) just up and leave.  Convents aren't in the lock-down they once were. 

 

If you have the chance, I would highly suggest speaking to not only a  spiritual director (and since you have traditional proclivities even try to speak to an FSSP or ICKSP priest if you get the chance), but also go and meet a cloistered community, even if you don't feel called to them particularly.  Ask these questions about cloistered life that you have.  

 

God bless!

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oremus1

Hi Oremus1,

I've read several of your posts now on several different topics, and you seem to have a rather distorted view of religious life. ( don't get me wrong, I prefer that rather 'traditional' religious life of EF communities and all that).  Some of the comments you write about not having any protection from abuse and enforced penances lead me to believe that your understanding of the cloistered life is based off medieval stories and anti-Catholic literature from the 19th century (ie Maria Monk and such). Cloistered nuns can leave - most will do it through the appropriate channels such as having their vows dismissed, ex-claustration, or some (rarely) just up and leave.  Convents aren't in the lock-down they once were. 

 

If you have the chance, I would highly suggest speaking to not only a  spiritual director (and since you have traditional proclivities even try to speak to an FSSP or ICKSP priest if you get the chance), but also go and meet a cloistered community, even if you don't feel called to them particularly.  Ask these questions about cloistered life that you have.  

 

God bless!

Thanks very much. Yes you are right. I am very traditional. But I somehow have an idea that EF communities and orthodox ones are very horrible, nuns bathe in cold water, they are really strict, they have a rigid horarium and people walk around like robots and cant think for themselves, they are very unhappy and mostly old. this idea is partly form looking at pictures on their website, and also talking to CVs who were ex nuns. then i read this thread and some of it was horrible. i also wrote to a community once who were really strict and horrible sounding when they wrote back.they also were nasty that i was vegetarian, basically saying i was disobedient and would not be a good nun. well i would say, we can judge a persons morals by how they treat those weaker than them. like foetuses. or animals.

my SD is traditional. but he LIKES those things in religious life. i thnk you are right though. i will actually go to one i think . just to see.

Edited by oremus1

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truthfinder

I'm sorry you've had bad experiences with communities. Unfortunately for you the really vegetarian orders were mostly Minims and they died out (for the most part) quite a while ago and they also tended to be super penitential. 

 

Be careful with horariums.  In many instances, they are what a community hopes for everyday - but doesn't necessarily achieve. Also, they don't always reveal everything.  Quite a few Carmelite horariums that are posted don't actually note that they have a siesta in the afternoon (not all do this but some do). Poor Clares that rise at midnight ease postulants in to this.  

If you do find a community that you like the charism, but are afraid of the schedule or the discipline which they have, the best may be to try.  If you can't handle it, it's clear you aren't called there.  Throughout the history of the nuns and cloistered communities, there have always been one community that is way stricter than another, and another one laxer.  Doesn't mean that neither were right or wrong (as long as they weren't fostering heresy), it just means the nuns had different approaches to holiness.  

 

You may also want to look into Vistandine nuns - they were specifically founded to not have physical penances and harsh fasts.  

 

I wish you the best and I'll be praying for you!

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oremus1

I'm sorry you've had bad experiences with communities. Unfortunately for you the really vegetarian orders were mostly Minims and they died out (for the most part) quite a while ago and they also tended to be super penitential. 

 

Be careful with horariums.  In many instances, they are what a community hopes for everyday - but doesn't necessarily achieve. Also, they don't always reveal everything.  Quite a few Carmelite horariums that are posted don't actually note that they have a siesta in the afternoon (not all do this but some do). Poor Clares that rise at midnight ease postulants in to this.  

If you do find a community that you like the charism, but are afraid of the schedule or the discipline which they have, the best may be to try.  If you can't handle it, it's clear you aren't called there.  Throughout the history of the nuns and cloistered communities, there have always been one community that is way stricter than another, and another one laxer.  Doesn't mean that neither were right or wrong (as long as they weren't fostering heresy), it just means the nuns had different approaches to holiness.  

 

You may also want to look into Vistandine nuns - they were specifically founded to not have physical penances and harsh fasts.  

 

I wish you the best and I'll be praying for you!

 

I dont mind doing penance, but I prefer to choose to do penance. whereas if someone MADE me do a horrible penance, for a long time or something,  it would be a miserable thing surely.

did the minims die out because of their harsh lifestyle?

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Nunsuch

Oremus, I caution you not to rely solely on ex-religious for insight into religious life. This is sort of like basing your impression of marriage on those who have been divorced or annulled....

 

Note that I am *not* someone attracted to EF or "traditional" religious life. However, I know many who are, and they are happy and content.  Otherwise, they would not stay. You may want to look at the most recent newsletter of the Benedictines of Mary (affiliated with the FSSP), whose foundress just celebrated 70 years as a religious. There are TONS of happy pictures of her, and of her community.

 

Finally, as to enforced penances. First, no one is asked to engage in penances out of some sort of distorted notions of holiness. Indeed, in most communities, rigorous penance is not a part of things (if it is at all) till one is in vows, and only after the formation process has both explained and prepared the individual for it. As for SELF-imposed penances, most communities require permission to engage in them.  Both in doing what the community asks and in NOT doing what one decides for oneself, the issue is one of OBEDIENCE--one fo the basic vows of religious life, right? If you are committed to doing what YOU want, then perhaps you are not called to a life that is grounded in obedience?

 

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truthfinder

Some of it was their lifestyle, I believe some got attached to specific devotions (this point is foggy in my memory) that died out, whereas a good portion were suppressed. Minims that exist (nuns) are mostly located in Spanish-related countries.  See: http://www.minimas.org/  (there is a really strict minims group in Mexico but their association with the church is fuzzy - I believe they are still affiliated with the SSPX.)

 

The thing about choosing your own penance is that there is still pride - which is the underlining sin and fault. 

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graciandelamadrededios

I'm sorry you've had bad experiences with communities. Unfortunately for you the really vegetarian orders were mostly Minims and they died out (for the most part) quite a while ago and they also tended to be super penitential. 

 

 

 

What do you mean by Minims died out?

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truthfinder

What do you mean by Minims died out?

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that all Minims died out.  However there were offshoots that were extremely austere that no longer exist.

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