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I wonder if your parents would consider letting you work for a year? There are many options that would certainly continue educating you - maybe voluntary if you can still live at home? Or as an au pair? That way you would have that bit of 'space' between school and religious life, time to learn a bit about the world and about whi you are in yourself more, too?

Everytime I talk to you I am struck by your maturity - there are many young women who are older than you yet come across as older - and I think this is something that will help you with your discernment. Keep seeing your SD, and talk to your parents too. I know from other posts that your mother is being supportive and that is such a wonderful gift, I wouldlove a genuinely supportive mother! Remember to respect her, particularly due to your young age, and see if you can come to an arrangement whereby you can keep her happy and supportive, it will be priceless later. God bless you as you continue your discernment, and I will be praying for you as you approach confirmation too!

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[quote name='FutureSister2009' timestamp='1318539553' post='2320771'] FYI, I'm not going into a cloister. [/quote] Your eagerness is beautiful to see, and the honesty and candour with which y

No, a Benedictine. It's a tall dark stranger with an edging of white round the head and neck. I see it, it grows ever clearer...

You know... in the case of the maturity argument... I honestly think a young person matures [i]better[/i] in the convent than in college! College really doesn't give you much in the way of real world

Do you have a spiritual director? Someone who is not personally involved with the decision, such as your parents or the community.

I think if you had someone helping you with unbiased advice, then it might be good.

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[quote name='nunsense' timestamp='1318292886' post='2319415']
Yes, I forgot about how much debt Americans get into by going to college because that doesn't happen in Australia. So in that case, perhaps enter first... if you leave, still time to go to college. And if you stay, then all the better!!! :)
[/quote]

I think I agree. I know how daunting it feels to have to choose one or the other. I tried university and then left so I could seriously figure out this nun thing. I'm glad for the short time I spent there, it taught me alot about myself, and how to live with people other than my family. I've now spent two years working whlie I got to know my community and paid off debt - again, invaluable experience. Hateful at times, just wanting to enter now now now, but I am stronger for it.

However, you seem to have a relationship with a community already. While a real calling isn't going to evaporate if you take a few piddly years for study or work, you want to strike while the iron's hot, and getting that life experience seems a bit arbitrary if there's a community pretty much 'ready and waiting'. You're going to get alot of life experience inside the convent too!

From the little I know about the Carmelites, while you have your library of course, it would seem that there is less time for focused study than there might be in other orders. So the only real reason for going to college that I can read into your situation is if you really want to study a particular subject in depth.

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So, I'm a lurker, but since I was in the same situtation a few months ago I felt like I had to say something. Speaking with a priest and the NM of the community I am discerning with, they mentioned three things to consider:

1. Would debt be a problem? As can be seen from what others have said, it is definitely an important question.
2. "Moral problems" - I think this is mostly means considering whether those nice Catholic boys (or any boys) would be too much of a problem/temptation. :)
3. The temptation to apathy, confusion, fear, etc.

Regarding these last two, the NM said that they can be overcome with prayer, sacraments, humility, God's grace, and other such helps. The priest I talked to also had helpful things to say. He said that whatever one's age, the devil will try to ruin your vocation. If you enter out of highschool, or young, the temptation would be "I never had a chance to see the world, I don't know what I'm giving up....." and with the older it would be "I'm an adult, why are these nuns telling me how to clean the dishes?!" :hehe2: He said that the most important thing to do if one went to college would be to maintain a child-likeness.

*thinking of what else I can say that's helpful* If one does go to college, it's probably a good idea to take it a year at a time. Just so as to be open to God.

I think that's all of the general advice I've acquired, so I will end with posting this thread that I started about this time last year. :)
[url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/106233-college-and-religious-life/"]http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/106233-college-and-religious-life/[/url]

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[quote name='miserere' timestamp='1318337302' post='2319593']
So, I'm a lurker, but since I was in the same situtation a few months ago I felt like I had to say something. Speaking with a priest and the NM of the community I am discerning with, they mentioned three things to consider:

1. Would debt be a problem? As can be seen from what others have said, it is definitely an important question.
2. "Moral problems" - I think this is mostly means considering whether those nice Catholic boys (or any boys) would be too much of a problem/temptation. :)
3. The temptation to apathy, confusion, fear, etc.

Regarding these last two, the NM said that they can be overcome with prayer, sacraments, humility, God's grace, and other such helps. The priest I talked to also had helpful things to say. [b]He said that whatever one's age, the devil will try to ruin your vocation. If you enter out of highschool, or young, the temptation would be "I never had a chance to see the world, I don't know what I'm giving up....." and with the older it would be "I'm an adult, why are these nuns telling me how to clean the dishes?!" :hehe2: He said that the most important thing to do if one went to college would be to maintain a child-likeness.[/b]

*thinking of what else I can say that's helpful* If one does go to college, it's probably a good idea to take it a year at a time. Just so as to be open to God.

I think that's all of the general advice I've acquired, so I will end with posting this thread that I started about this time last year. :)
[url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/106233-college-and-religious-life/"]http://www.phatmass....religious-life/[/url]
[/quote]

Welcome to VS miserere and this is indeed great advice especially the bolded part.

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I think a person should wait until after college (or work experience). When I was 17 or 18, no way I was mature enough to make decisions about my whole life. I think you have to strike a balance - mature enough to understand what you are doing but not too set in your ways that you can't accommodate to the requirements and sacrifices of religious life (e.g. personal freedom, obedience, etc). I didn't really start discerning until I was a senior in college. If you've accummulated alot of debt, paying it off will take quite a bit of time so you must be resigned to delaying entrance. If you are a senior in HS and really thinking about religious life, I agree with other posters - DON'T take out too many loans. It can be very discouraging to face paying back hundreds of thousands of dollars when you yearn to be a sister. I was lucky - I picked a reasonably priced college and my parents had saved the money so I didn't have loans. My advice to any discerning HS student would be get your college degree - maybe start off in a more reasonably priced community college or a state school. Get some life experience - find yourself and be as sure as you can be that religious life is really and truly right for you. If it's not, then you already have an education and won't feel like you have to stay because there's no alternative.

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For those who go to college: what classes? public or private? technical, university, etc? college experience thus far? debt?
Those who do not: did you have alot of pressure? did you do the one year deal? etc., etc.?

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One thing I have been wondering, please bear with me.

Their most recently clothed novice is very young looking - 17/18? You are very, very young. What age are the other novices, postulants, aspirants etc? Then how many in the community are aged, say 28-45? I ask this because sometimes I look at websites and they seem keen to take very,very young postulants, and seem to always have very young noviciates, but few young professed sisters, which suggests alot leaving before solemn profession. If this seems to be the case with your community, then I would seriously consider waiting a few years.

But again, as you will be under 18 you need to listen to your parent's advice and come to decisions that they are happy with too.

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I know the general opinion is to wait and get a little life experience but sometimes I'm not so sure that is the best advice - but of course it's all personal and depends on the individual.

My daughter left home at 18 because she really wanted to get out on her own. She hated authority and rules, especially mine! But guess what she did instead of staying home and going to college? She entered the army! This was the girl who hated being told what to do, to clean up her room, be home on time, etc.

She has been in the army now for five years and intends to re-up for a third time. She tells me that she wants to make it her career. First she was trained as a cook, and now they are going to train her to be a nurse. She loves the structure, the friendships and feeling of family, the security... so much about it. I'm sure she had a tough time in the beginning with the basic training (she had to carry her rifle everywhere, including to the toilet!) and learning to obey was probably hard too, but she is thriving in that environment and is very happy.

I just think that you have to make this choice based on who you are and what you want. If you enter now and don't stay, at least you tried it. But if you accumulate alot of debt and can't enter for a long time, you may never get around to trying it. I could be wrong about this, but I don't necessarily think that age is the real issue here. Maybe in some ways, not having life experience also means being more open to the structure, authority and discipline of a convent?

Anyway, as you can see, there are conflicting thoughts about this even here, so don't rely on us to give you the answer :)

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[quote name='the171' timestamp='1318374900' post='2319854']
For those who go to college: what classes? public or private? technical, university, etc? college experience thus far? debt?
Those who do not: did you have alot of pressure? did you do the one year deal? etc., etc.?
[/quote]

Like everyone else says, you'll want to consider internals (your own maturity, spiritual life, etc.) balanced with externals (what you parents/superior/spiritual director say). You have time to think and make some of these decisions in a couple of years, and believe me, a couple of years can make a huge difference.

I am a senior in college and have loved it. Yes, I have major senioritis and wish I could be with the Sisters now, but I know God's using me where I'm at. Some of your decision making, with discernment in mind, may depend on your financial situation. I go to a public university, so it's considerably cheaper, which is important to me since I'm paying my own way through college.

See the debt thread. The reality is- no matter where you go, if your parents aren't paying- it's expensive. You can keep that in mind and present that to your parents. But if you do decide to go, it is possible to graduate debt-free. Work your rear end off for good grades, apply for every scholarship known to man. Work during the summers- even when you are in high school- and possibly during the school year if you can.

Since you are seriously discerning a cloistered community, "professional skills" aren't probably quite as necessary. I just spent the past 4 years of my life getting a degree in Agriculture Communication...to put it mildly, it's of fairly limited use within a teaching order. But going to college can give you enough "life skills" to be truly helpful. You might not understand economizing in community until you've been completely broke and making your pasta last as long as possible. It is likely to help with separation from your family.

No matter where you go to college, you can practice these things with the outlook of discernment. The options with campus ministry- even, actually I would say especially, at a public university- are tremendous. Not to say Catholic colleges aren't great; they are just different. I probably should start a separate thread on this so as to not hijack, but don't fall into the trap that you can't grow in your faith at a state school... especially if you are concerned about finances.

Finances shouldn't determine your entrance or delay, but they can play a small role. You'll have the answer, just give it time. Spiritual direction will help tremendously; he/she might be able to help you make the decision whether you are ready. I admire you so greatly for knowing what God's calling you to so early in life.

Edited by Lisa
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[quote name='faithcecelia' timestamp='1318377204' post='2319882']
One thing I have been wondering, please bear with me.

Their most recently clothed novice is very young looking - 17/18? You are very, very young. What age are the other novices, postulants, aspirants etc? Then how many in the community are aged, say 28-45? I ask this because sometimes I look at websites and they seem keen to take very,very young postulants, and seem to always have very young noviciates, but few young professed sisters, which suggests alot leaving before solemn profession. If this seems to be the case with your community, then I would seriously consider waiting a few years.

But again, as you will be under 18 you need to listen to your parent's advice and come to decisions that they are happy with too.
[/quote]

Well, they haven't had many vocations in a long time because Louisiana was really hit hard by the vocation's crisis (female religious-wise). At least that's what I've noticed, because alot of the recent vocations are out-of-state. That's changing though. (Lafayette's novitiate is mostly Louisiana) The two that just took their final vows came here (already in their first vows, I believe) from Vietnam so they weren't formed here. All the postulants and novices are in their late teens to early twenties. (2 postulants {19-25} and 1 novice {19-22}. Not very sure about ages.) The two aspirants are me and another girl named Chloe (later vocation {late 20s-early 30s}) Their novitiate is really just taking off, but they are very picky with who they begin serious discernment with. Sr.Mary John tells you here opinion as soon as she develops it. hahah :) But those are the only ones in the community I know because they keep very closed doors.
[quote name='nunsense' timestamp='1318378174' post='2319900']
I know the general opinion is to wait and get a little life experience but sometimes I'm not so sure that is the best advice - but of course it's all personal and depends on the individual.

My daughter left home at 18 because she really wanted to get out on her own. She hated authority and rules, especially mine! But guess what she did instead of staying home and going to college? She entered the army! This was the girl who hated being told what to do, to clean up her room, be home on time, etc.

She has been in the army now for five years and intends to re-up for a third time. She tells me that she wants to make it her career. First she was trained as a cook, and now they are going to train her to be a nurse. She loves the structure, the friendships and feeling of family, the security... so much about it. I'm sure she had a tough time in the beginning with the basic training (she had to carry her rifle everywhere, including to the toilet!) and learning to obey was probably hard too, but she is thriving in that environment and is very happy.

I just think that you have to make this choice based on who you are and what you want. If you enter now and don't stay, at least you tried it. But if you accumulate alot of debt and can't enter for a long time, you may never get around to trying it. I could be wrong about this, but I don't necessarily think that age is the real issue here. Maybe in some ways, not having life experience also means being more open to the structure, authority and discipline of a convent?

Anyway, as you can see, there are conflicting thoughts about this even here, so don't rely on us to give you the answer :)
[/quote]

If I could tote you around to answer the concerns that are brought up to my attention, I would be so much better off. :) hahaha

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[quote name='the171' timestamp='1318374900' post='2319854']
For those who go to college: what classes? public or private? technical, university, etc? college experience thus far? debt?
Those who do not: did you have alot of pressure? did you do the one year deal? etc., etc.?
[/quote]

Public. Your state has an EXCELLENT scholarship program. It's really, really phenominal. There is much "free" aid (as in no loans) available in Louisiana for students. Classes....well, for you, there are tons of options. There are some really wonderful religious studies programs that are well done.

I happen to love college. I love the Catholic center, my classes, the programs I'm in...it's really wonderful. I've been incredibly blessed to have a 2/3 scholarship, a workstudy, and a grandmother who can pay the little that's left. When I leave I will have no debt. I know that few have no debt accruing. And I'm also entering (or hoping to enter) an active/contemplative order that does teach, so I'd have to go to university anyway! :)

Pray about it. I'm praying for you!

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[quote name='LaPetiteSoeur' timestamp='1318383220' post='2319937']

Public. Your state has an EXCELLENT scholarship program. It's really, really phenominal. There is much "free" aid (as in no loans) available in Louisiana for students. Classes....well, for you, there are tons of options. There are some really wonderful religious studies programs that are well done.

I happen to love college. I love the Catholic center, my classes, the programs I'm in...it's really wonderful. I've been incredibly blessed to have a 2/3 scholarship, a workstudy, and a grandmother who can pay the little that's left. When I leave I will have no debt. I know that few have no debt accruing. And I'm also entering (or hoping to enter) an active/contemplative order that does teach, so I'd have to go to university anyway! :)

Pray about it. I'm praying for you!
[/quote]

I will and thank you. :) I'm doing the same for you.

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