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JMJ
I have been careful. I know a vocation, there isn't a real question about something being there. It's just the "hi! sign the application and then we can talk!!!" that I've heard about that has been an eye opener. And I really can see what ya'all mean by that...

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[quote name='Caritas' timestamp='1282271886' post='2160433']
Yes, I agree. I think when there are girls on retreats not even out of high school who are being told that they definitely have a vocation or that now is the time to try it out, they're generally going to follow that advice-- especially from a vocation director. I know that I used to want an answer from others-- I wanted to hear those words that I should try it out now. I don't want to be overly critical or anything, but I think this is a real issue that needs to be addressed, because I hate to see so many girls who eventually do leave or who become convinced of something that isn't there.
[/quote]

:yes: I agree with you. I started visiting convents at a very young age. I believe the first convent I visited was the Shrine of Perpetual Adoration in Hanceville, AL at age 9. So, I've been very blessed to be able to have the opportunity to visit different religious orders around the US , even by myself at times, starting so young. I have my parents to thank for that. :) But there were times, especially as my high school years were close to an end, where religious orders would basically beg me to join!
And unlike you, that literally made me not even want to discern that religious community anymore! :( I think it's something that needs to be addressed as well. My sister joined a religious order at age 18, but by the time a year passed, they basically changed their minds about her! And I know situations are more complex then that, but what you brought up IS part of the problem I believe.

[quote name='TeresaBenedicta' timestamp='1282272322' post='2160437']
I do agree that it can be dangerous for some girls to hear that from a vocations director... On the other hand, I think there is a certain truth to "Try it out" and that it's possible to "lose one's vocation". But I also think that it's extremely important that there be great prudence in knowing when and how to say these things concerning one's vocation. It can be detrimental to one's vocation to hear it... yet for others it can save their vocation.
[/quote]

Yeah, that's my problem at this point. I don't know which vocation advise is for me. :rolleyes:

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I don't see what all the "worrying" and hand-wringing is about. Some here are making it sound like the DSMME's give every girl an application and insist she has a vocation, as soon as she makes a retreat. Of course that is not true. But if they DO give pretty much anyone who asks an application, what's the harm? To my way of thinking it is a witness of great surrender to say, "sure, here is an application, let's see where the Lord is leading you..." it may be that the Lord is NOT, ultimately, leading them to the DSMME's, but wants them to make that pit stop on the way to something else.

God's ways aren't our ways. In the end, girls who are not called to religious life (or not called THERE) will figure it out, and the DSMME's will have assisted in their formation, in complete openness to the will of the Lord. Let's face it on this very board we see men and women who realize they've been "over-discerning". There is something to be said to sayin "just jump in and go on faith for a little while."

Sounds alright to me.

After all, the apostles did not need long discernment processes.

Edited by DameAgnes
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[quote name='DameAgnes' timestamp='1282334027' post='2160726']
I don't see what all the "worrying" and hand-wringing is about. Some here are making it sound like the DSMME's give every girl an application and insist she has a vocation, as soon as she makes a retreat. Of course that is not true. But if they DO give pretty much anyone who asks an application, what's the harm? To my way of thinking it is a witness of great surrender to say, "sure, here is an application, let's see where the Lord is leading you..." it may be that the Lord is NOT, ultimately, leading them to the DSMME's, but wants them to make that pit stop on the way to something else.

God's ways aren't our ways. In the end, girls who are not called to religious life (or not called THERE) will figure it out, and the DSMME's will have assisted in their formation, in complete openness to the will of the Lord. Let's face it on this very board we see men and women who realize they've been "over-discerning". There is something to be said to sayin "just jump in and go on faith for a little while."

Sounds alright to me.

After all, the apostles did not need long discernment processes.
[/quote]

:yes:

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[quote name='DameAgnes' timestamp='1282334027' post='2160726']
I don't see what all the "worrying" and hand-wringing is about. Some here are making it sound like the DSMME's give every girl an application and insist she has a vocation, as soon as she makes a retreat. Of course that is not true. But if they DO give pretty much anyone who asks an application, what's the harm? To my way of thinking it is a witness of great surrender to say, "sure, here is an application, let's see where the Lord is leading you..." it may be that the Lord is NOT, ultimately, leading them to the DSMME's, but wants them to make that pit stop on the way to something else.

God's ways aren't our ways. In the end, girls who are not called to religious life (or not called THERE) will figure it out, and the DSMME's will have assisted in their formation, in complete openness to the will of the Lord. Let's face it on this very board we see men and women who realize they've been "over-discerning". There is something to be said to sayin "just jump in and go on faith for a little while."

Sounds alright to me.

After all, the apostles did not need long discernment processes.
[/quote]

I agree.

I don't believe we were specifically talking about the DSSME'S anymore..I wasn't at least. I believe they help girls well.

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[quote name='MaterMisericordiae' timestamp='1282195801' post='2159931']
That's really what worries me (more Ann Arbor than Nashville). I think Ann Arbor is a beautiful community with a wonderful apostolate, but I wonder about their vocation program. I've heard stories of girls being overzealous after going on one retreat because they got application papers. How many of these girls developed relationships with the community that was more than just a weekend retreat and a few emails? :unsure:

I don't mean to offend anyone with this statement and if I'm wrong, please forgive me. But I think more caution is warranted with these larger communities. When you think about the smaller cloistered or active orders, usually (not always) a lot of prayer and discernment happens before the person is given application papers and approved to enter. They want to make sure it's the best decision for both the candidate and the community. Sometimes it doesn't work out in the end even then.

(I just want to say that not all girls who go to Ann Arbor get application papers. I know two girls who wanted to enter before they even went on retreat and they spoke to Sr. Joseph Andrew and were asked to wait a year or so, which I think is wise. Both of the girls decided to develop deeper ties with the community and in the process, one discerned that she was not called to Ann Arbor.) :))
[/quote]


[quote name='MaterMisericordiae' timestamp='1282197980' post='2159944']
I think more discernment and caution should be used when dealing with young women (this coming from one! ;) ). I know in my discernment, especially at the beginning, there were periods where I was zealous to enter ANYWHERE just as long as I could be a Sister. I mean, it was like the first community I felt a remote attraction to could be the one. I worry about heartbreak with these young girls. A friend of mine told me that one of the vocation directors of these larger communities told her that if she didn't enter RIGHT NOW that she'd lose her vocation! :ohno: God doesn't do that. He doesn't say, "Enter now or I'll take this gift away from you." It's a process of serious prayer and contemplation and should be before taking such a monumental step.

I think of discernment as a courtship with Jesus. When you are dating someone, you don't just go on one date and then get engaged! You have to learn the person (or, in discernment, the community) and spend time with them before coming to that decision. One weekend with a community is not enough (like you said) to gauge your appropriate interest. If weekend retreats are all that are available, it would be best to go on several, but I think a live-in, if possible is the best. Being with the community and participating in their normal schedule is best.

God bless!
[/quote]

Hahah, this is kinda late, but I wanted to let you know you're basically saying to a t what I'm trying to say as well.

God bless ^_^

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[quote name='DameAgnes' timestamp='1282334027' post='2160726']
I don't see what all the "worrying" and hand-wringing is about. Some here are making it sound like the DSMME's give every girl an application and insist she has a vocation, as soon as she makes a retreat. Of course that is not true. But if they DO give pretty much anyone who asks an application, what's the harm? To my way of thinking it is a witness of great surrender to say, "sure, here is an application, let's see where the Lord is leading you..." it may be that the Lord is NOT, ultimately, leading them to the DSMME's, but wants them to make that pit stop on the way to something else.

God's ways aren't our ways. In the end, girls who are not called to religious life (or not called THERE) will figure it out, and the DSMME's will have assisted in their formation, in complete openness to the will of the Lord. Let's face it on this very board we see men and women who realize they've been "over-discerning". There is something to be said to sayin "just jump in and go on faith for a little while."

Sounds alright to me.

After all, the apostles did not need long discernment processes.
[/quote]

I apologize, I didn't mean to imply this at all.

Pax :)

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the DSMME retreats aren't meant to show you the life of their community as much as it is rather a focus on your relationship with Jesus Christ in the most Holy Eucharist...

Sr. Joseph Andrew and the Sisters pretty much trust that the 24 hour-retreat centered on Eucharistic Adoration, will bring you into their community if you belong there...

Edited by dominicansoul
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[quote name='dominicansoul' timestamp='1282344585' post='2160802']
the DSMME retreats aren't meant to show you the life of their community as much as it is rather a focus on your relationship with Jesus Christ in the most Holy Eucharist...

[i]Sr. Joseph Andrew and the Sisters pretty much trust that the 24 hour-retreat centered on Eucharistic Adoration, will bring you into their community if you belong there...[/i]
[/quote]

:love:

I've never heard it explained that way and all I can say is... if my heart weren't already with another community, the Dominicans would be pulling me back in again!!!

:nun:

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[quote name='dominicansoul' timestamp='1282344585' post='2160802']
the DSMME retreats aren't meant to show you the life of their community as much as it is rather a focus on your relationship with Jesus Christ in the most Holy Eucharist...

Sr. Joseph Andrew and the Sisters pretty much trust that the 24 hour-retreat centered on Eucharistic Adoration, will bring you into their community if you belong there...
[/quote]

:)

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[quote name='DameAgnes' timestamp='1282334027' post='2160726']
I don't see what all the "worrying" and hand-wringing is about. Some here are making it sound like the DSMME's give every girl an application and insist she has a vocation, as soon as she makes a retreat. Of course that is not true. But if they DO give pretty much anyone who asks an application, what's the harm? To my way of thinking it is a witness of great surrender to say, "sure, here is an application, let's see where the Lord is leading you..." it may be that the Lord is NOT, ultimately, leading them to the DSMME's, but wants them to make that pit stop on the way to something else.

God's ways aren't our ways. In the end, girls who are not called to religious life (or not called THERE) will figure it out, and the DSMME's will have assisted in their formation, in complete openness to the will of the Lord. Let's face it on this very board we see men and women who realize they've been "over-discerning". There is something to be said to sayin "just jump in and go on faith for a little while."

Sounds alright to me.

After all, the apostles did not need long discernment processes.
[/quote]


I honestly didn't mean it that way, and if it came off like that, I'm sorry. Discernment is not an exact science. I've never been a religious so I cannot honestly say how the Holy Spirit works other than how He works in my heart. :)

If a young woman feels that she is called to that community, or ANY community for that matter, then I believe she should take the leap of faith and go for it. But I wholeheartedly believe that it should be taken seriously and prayed about. :nun:

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I'm not sure I see any harm in giving out applications. After all (I think) many Orders have applications on their Web site--or maybe perhaps what is posted on Web sites is usually just a "preliminary interest" form--I confess, I've never looked carefully at one.

However, I have read on VS about some Orders apparently taking the attitude, "Well, even if you're not absolutely sure we're the right Community for you, why not join us and give it a try?" I only have this information secondhand, so I don't know or how often this happens, if at all. But, I can see a number of problems with this approach.

From everything I've read on VS, the decision to enter religious life in a specific community is a BIG DEAL. It's not like going to college where you can phone home every night if you're unhappy, and besides, it's only for four years.

The women on VS that I see preparing to enter as a postulant (not simply as a "live-in" for a limited period of time) are making a life-changing decision. They are giving up jobs, giving away their possessions, selling their cars, saying good-bye to parents and friends. Joining an Order means giving up your current life, for a new, entirely different life, with the expectation and hope that you will remain in the Community for the rest of your life. And, from what I have read, convent life is very different than secular life and requires a lot of adjustment--even if it is ultimately "happy adjustment" leading to a life dedicated to Christ.

For those who have discerned carefully, and found the "right" community, this is a bittersweet time. Yes, their lives are completely changing, but they are also very excited and happy, because they have found a community that they love and look forward to joining. None of the women on VS who are entering soon, and whose posts I have read, are doing so with the mindset of "Well, I'll try it and see what it's like." It's far too important a decision for that. The decision not only affects them, but their parents, their family, their friends, particularly because, in most Orders, contact with family and friends is limited during postulancy and the novitiate.

To me, it's like the next step in a courtship, where you get engaged. In a parallel way, these women have decided to make a lifetime commitment to a particular Order and community. The new postulants are going in with high expectations and hopes, although the women on VS who are entering soon also seem to "have their eyes open" and know they are going to have to give things up, that the life will be ultimately fulfilling for them, but also difficult. As much as anyone can before entering, they seem to realize that there will be a "price" as well as great joy in devoting their lives to Christ.

So, I see it as an engagement. The commitment has been made, and will be further solidified when the women join as postulants and then later are then clothed as novices. I've not seen any of the women on VS who plan to enter soon having the mindset of "Well, I'll give it a try."

The mindset of "Well, I'll give it a try, and see what it's like" seems almost like the equivalent in religious life of "living together" in secular life. Yet, although entering religious life isn't a sacrament as marriage is, the commitment is very similar--the woman is planning on becoming a true "Bride of Christ."

A "live in" is totally different. It's like a couple taking a vacation with one of their families. There is neither the commitment or the intimacy of marriage. Plus, there are lots of other people around, and there is no expectation that "this is it." It's a chance for a couple--or, in the case of a "live-in," for a young woman seriously considering a particular community--to get to know each other better.

I've read on VS how terribly disappointing and sad it usually is to leave an Order and Community. Even when the woman knows rationally it is for the best, she often feels like she failed, because she had wanted and intended to keep her commitment forever. It appears that some Orders handle a woman leaving better than others, but even in those Orders that handle it well, leaving is still difficult. Not to mention that the woman leaving now has to begin her life over again--find a job, a place to live, make decisions about her future.

I can't imagine making the decision to completely change my life, and the lives of my family, on the basis of "I feel I have a vocation and I like this community, so I'll try it and see what it's like."

Perhaps some women "over-discern," but, like marriage, I would expect that the better the young woman and the Community know each other before she enters, the happier both of them will be, and the less the chance of the young woman (or the Community) realizing that this is not the right place for her.

Just like marriage, no one can know exactly what life in a particular Community and Order will be like until they enter. But, I'd think there would be a greater chance for success and fulfillment, and a lifelong Religious vocation (or marriage) if the "leap of faith" is made with as much knowledge beforehand as possible.

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I've said this before in a previous thread here in VS, I think...

But I think what we're seeing here is mixing of vocation theology and how it should applied. Traditionally it's been taught by many of the Saints (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whose feast it is today, St. Thomas Aquinas, etc) that a simple desire for religious life and no immediate impediments (sick parents, debt) is enough to enter and "give it a try." Yes, it's a life-long commitment, but it's a good in the purest sense and all that is needed is moral certitude in order to jump in, so to say.

This sort of thinking isn't really all that popular anymore. (Heck, life-long commitments aren't that popular anymore!) But there is a truth to it.

And I think this is the sort of attitude one might encounter with some religious communities. Which, I think, is perfectly fine. It's supported by tradition and reflects a proper understanding of vocation.

BUT, there are a LOT more communities nowadays and distance really isn't an issue. To be frank, there are more "possible" avenues down which one might explore [i]how[/i] to live out their vocation. So it's not necessarily as simple as just "jumping in" like it might've been even 100 years ago.

So, just some thoughts about that.

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[quote name='Ora et Labora' timestamp='1282140587' post='2159485']
I'm also very interested in this order. In fact, if I DO become a religious, this will definitely be the Order God has called me to. I'm just not sure if being a religious is my vocation yet. :sweat: Anywho!! I wanted to tell everyone I just got a letter from them!! I've been to one of their vocation retreats back in January of 2007, but just recently wrote them on their website and told them I was interested...again. Haha(:

I have a question as well...once their chapel is full, what happens to the newly entered? :idontknow:
[/quote]

From the pictures, the ND's chapel is quite large and nowhere near full. Also, because they are teaching Sisters, many ND Sisters are sent to teach in other cities and do not live in the Motherhouse. From looking at the ND's Web site, they are constantly adding new cities and schools, most in places beyond Nashville. I'm sure the chapel is more crowded at Christmas, for example, when it appears that the Sisters come back to the Motherhouse.

In the days when postulant classes in some Orders could number more than 100, Orders managed to work it out. For example, some Orders set up Provincial Centers in various parts of the country where Sisters might do all or a part of their formation. So, I have no doubt the ND's will work it out, as well, if it ever becomes an issue. (BTW--I have no idea what the ND's expansion plans are, beyond setting up a new community in Australia, which is mentioned on their Web site. So, my mention of Provincial centers was merely an example. The ND's long-range plans may be entirely different.)

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[quote name='TeresaBenedicta' timestamp='1282349563' post='2160841']
I've said this before in a previous thread here in VS, I think...

But I think what we're seeing here is mixing of vocation theology and how it should applied. Traditionally it's been taught by many of the Saints (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whose feast it is today, St. Thomas Aquinas, etc) that a simple desire for religious life and no immediate impediments (sick parents, debt) is enough to enter and "give it a try." Yes, it's a life-long commitment, but it's a good in the purest sense and all that is needed is moral certitude in order to jump in, so to say.

This sort of thinking isn't really all that popular anymore. (Heck, life-long commitments aren't that popular anymore!) But there is a truth to it.

And I think this is the sort of attitude one might encounter with some religious communities. Which, I think, is perfectly fine. It's supported by tradition and reflects a proper understanding of vocation.

BUT, there are a LOT more communities nowadays and distance really isn't an issue. To be frank, there are more "possible" avenues down which one might explore [i]how[/i] to live out their vocation. So it's not necessarily as simple as just "jumping in" like it might've been even 100 years ago.

So, just some thoughts about that.
[/quote]

I hadn't heard that historical point of view before--I'm glad you posted it. It gives some very good perspective.

I'm merely thinking of the threads on Phatmass when VS'ers formerly in religious life have talked about how difficult (and truely devastating, in some cases) it can be to leave a Community, or to leave religious life altogether--and some/many can feel like failures, at least for awhile. So, even though it is inevitable that some Sisters will leave, no matter how careful their discernment (and some circumstances, like health issues, can't be predicted), I would hope that Orders would want to be as careful as is reasonable in which women they invite to join as postulants, and that future postulants would be as careful and prayerful in their discernment as possible, without overdoing it.

And, as you wisely pointed out, the world has changed. In the past, it also wasn't usual that a diocese might have a waiting period before a couple could be married in the Church, or to require a couple to take marriage preparation classes. (Yes, I know marriage is a sacrament and isn't exactly the same, but there ARE parallels.)

As with everything else, from what I have read, the discernment process is unique to each individual, and each Community has its own ways and traditions in deciding which postulants to allow to enter. I've read of women who knew immediately which Community to enter, and of other women who took longer to discern. But, as with marriage, it appears that there comes a time when a woman with a vocation needs to stop discerning, and take that "leap of faith," just as couples can be TOO careful or fearful of marriage, and if they have known each other a reasonable time, have done their own "discerning," and are truly in love, at some point, they also just need to take the "leap of faith."

Edited by IgnatiusofLoyola
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