Jump to content

Discalced Carmelite Nun Communities


Recommended Posts

[quote name='VeniJesuAmorMi' timestamp='1346805665' post='2478480']
That is true; I completely agree with you. While I was discerning and then preparing to enter the thoughts were more, "now I am finally entering; all I desire is to give everything to Our Lord." Well, this was certainly with the right intentions, but now I see it was a reflection of my impatience with His timing and also lack of trust. I was so anxious to enter and wanted to as soon as possible; I also didn't have a spiritual director helping me and this was also a problem. So I was finally entering and was indeed going to give everything to Our Lord; but in no way did I realize what "everything" really meant, and I wasn't prepared. I had the view of the "everything" being exterior, and not so much the poverty, chastity, and obedience that one should have in their heart. I wasn't spiritually mature and I needed growth that wasn't going to happen in the cloister, as I had entered too soon and didn't have a strong interior life. :saint2:

The experience was humbling, and indeed I hope that this serves to only increase humilty in me. Thankfully I am getting the guidance that was needed all along, and I hope to do this right this time .... in His time. Father who is helping me recently had me read "The Golden Arrow: The Autobiography and Revelations of Sister Mary of St. Peter." Well, if only perhaps I had read this before! She had desired so much to enter Carmel, but she had a good priest guiding her, and he would not let her. It would be 5 years until she was permitted to. In that time she had prepared herself under his direction for what was waiting for her in the cloister.

So now, having this experience and not having the door to Carmel open for me at this time, I find that I am becoming stronger and experiencing that spiritual growth that I should have been working on before (or rather should have let Him do the work He was trying to do) but I just rushed myself right along. Father had mentioned that when I had entered Carmel I got altitude sickness from taking that one big step, when I should have been taking a little step at a time and not have pushed the door open to Carmel myself, but that it will come when I'm ready.

I should say also that I now know the importance of having guidance when one is discerning, and that its so important to be open and honest about everything. If not, we won't get the help we need. I had that same thought in the cloister as you have now. I had often said that I would rather die at the enclosure door rather than have to leave it. It happend, and your right that the pain doesn't leave, but it is still picking up that cross and following Him. I've gained a lot of self-knowledge and many virtues that perhaps I wouldn't have acquired any other way because He chose this cross to bring me to this point now. We will only keep our peace if we follow Him. :)

edit: for spelling.
[/quote]

This is beautiful VJAM. I would love to have your advice on how to prepare in the months leading up to entering the cloister. Many websites/nuns say, "Just live your life like normal," but I think your testimony and my gut-feeling show that there are preparations one can make, or like your priest said small steps up the mountain so we don't get altitude sickness! :)

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 654
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Chiquitunga

    138

  • graciandelamadrededios

    110

  • VeniJesuAmorMi

    74

  • inperpetuity

    52

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

We sing the same antiphon at the veiling. In the Spanish and Italian monasteries the nun is prostrate during the singing and the younger nuns cover them with rose petals! [media]http://youtu.be/Kv0

Thank you emmaberry and chiquitunga for the congratulations! Emmaberry-my entrance date is march 19 (tentatively). The community is English-only, even though its roots are Mexican. Hope you have a

Posted Images

[quote name='VeniJesuAmorMi' timestamp='1346717303' post='2478032']
Your very welcome. :)

I miss the life there very much. Please say a little prayer for me. Thankfully I have a priest who is very kindly giving his time and help to me as I continue discernment to Carmel. I'm very hopeful.
[/quote]

VJAM, I will definitely keep you in daily prayer. May the Lord light your way and bring you to the fullness of His plan for you.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Always love reading your insights too, VJAM! :heart: Thank you!

I meant to reply to this earlier ..


[quote name='VeniJesuAmorMi' timestamp='1346509189' post='2477130']
I heard that on August 24th the 5 that were there went back to Nebraska (after a month of being in CA) and then they would take 5 more Sisters and head back to CA. I guess that would be 10 total? I'm surprised they didn't send more, but then again maybe its because they should have only 21 in the community anyway so they wouldn't make a new foundation and fill it up already! :hehe2:

They will also have a lot of Sisters still in Nebraska... it will be interesting to find out that still another foundation will be happening soon. :)
[/quote]
About the size of the community in Canyon, 10 was probably the most they could fit, as two of the Sisters' cells are also the refectory, [url="http://cal-catholic.com/wordpress/2012/07/30/new-carmelite-house/#comment-4291"]http://cal-catholic....e/#comment-4291[/url] I also heard from this father of one of the Sisters that they won't be accepting postulants for "some time" But if you're called there, it will be God's timing as you say anyway :) [i]"What God wants, as God wants. when God wants"[/i] - St. Maravillas of Jesus, OCD :saint:

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='emmaberry' timestamp='1346809587' post='2478546']
This is beautiful VJAM. I would love to have your advice on how to prepare in the months leading up to entering the cloister. Many websites/nuns say, "Just live your life like normal," but I think your testimony and my gut-feeling show that there are preparations one can make, or like your priest said small steps up the mountain so we don't get altitude sickness! :)
[/quote]

I would love to share some advise, and also some of what Father has told me that has been reassuring and helpful. If I think of anything else, I'll post here from time to time. I hope I may be helpful.

After I talked to Father the first time about my situation, he noted first thing that the big problem was that I was not directed by a good priest before I entered. St. Teresa of Jesus would do nothing without consulting a priest first. This is a priestly universe. God works best through them. So, a good confessor would have helped me to know what was needed to enter and stay in the monastery. He recommended that I read "In This House of Brede." Its a fictional story of a woman who enteres a Benedictine monastery (I'm reading it now, and it was written many years ago so it was nice that the description of everything in the monastery is very traditional.) The book really brings out human nature and weakness; this is a view I didn't have of being a nun and living in community. I suppose it was all those pictures I would look at and the romantic view I had in my immaturity.

About other books; he recomended also some works of St. Teresa of The Andes, and Blessed Elizabeth because they wrote some things on how they were spiritual in the world. This brings up an important point, about being virtuous in the world being more challenging, it seems to be essential to have this be challenging before one enters a community; especially the cloister. It seems mysterious in a way but nothing is hidden about yourself in the silence of a cloister. Who you are really comes out and sometimes you wouldn't even know. Its a lesson in humility and self-knowledge. In the book "The Interior Castle" St. Teresa gives high praise to the room of self-knowledge, as its important to take this with us everywhere. Humility is certainly the root of all virtues. I think when we focus on living a virtuous life in the world, it really is great preparation to live the life in the monastery because with everything around us in the world, and even those we live with at home, can be difficult but we will face similiar things in the monastery that we should know how to deal with.

Everyone who enters the cloister will have to face themselves sooner or later...and a certain crisis will come. Once you pass through it, the sailing becomes more smooth. In the world its so easy to "escape" from reality and oneself, and I would do this often before I entered. Simple things like distractions (spending a long time on the internet and listening to music, finding something to do that was not bad but was useless so the time would go by fast when I felt bored.) So to stay away from images and sounds that are not godly. Perhaps someone wouldn't believe that things they have seen and heard will come to the memory and could cause great trials, and as we know that we do not have distractions to go to in the cloister; these distractions we once used before we enter become distractions in the silence. It might be helpful also to make notes after making an examination of conscience to find out what distractions you have in silence and ask Our Lord for the graces to overcome these things. In the silence we really see who we are and who God is. It could help to add a penance or a humiliation to each of the faults you find; this will help make you stronger and overcome these things too. A set schedule in great if you could keep one. Set different prayers for set times (or spiritual reading, times of silence) then when that time comes, stop whatever else your doing and go and say that prayer or whatever that time was set for. Think of it as the monastery bell, Our Lord, calling for you. :)

Its nice also if you know the different practises and mortifications that the community has, because its nice to be able to do these at home, or wherever you may be. I find recollection of the eyes very important, not looking at things or people when its not necessary, because once something or someone is in your thoughts it will remain and may not be a good thing at all during prayer (it also helps mortify your senses.) Also, not talking about yourself or really anything if it won't be helpful to another or cause damage in any way. Good posture is another good one. Not eating between meals is very important. Not giving into your feelings, but no matter what your feeling, be joyful for others. I found that always keeping a smile in community was very important. The one act of another affects the others in community, whether it be good or bad. Anything that could be an opporunity to make an act of mortification to your senses and your will especially! Nothing seems too heavy or difficult when we are working for something, in this case Someone, that is everything to us. Then we will keep going no matter how hard it seems.

I wrote a lot already (hopefully not too much!) but when I think of anything to add I will. It would be great too if anyone had advise they have or have been told. I'm in this same boat too. :)

Edited by VeniJesuAmorMi
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='VeniJesuAmorMi' timestamp='1346868384' post='2478821']
I wrote a lot already (hopefully not too much!) but when I think of anything to add I will. It would be great too if anyone had advise they have or have been told. I'm in this same boat too. :)
[/quote]

Thank you so much! I feel bad asking you to post this on the thread, instead of PMing it, but I have a feeling it will be of great benefit to others beside myself who are waiting to enter.

You say that in the cloister you have to come face to face with yourself. I have also heard this from nearly every religious I have spoken with, so I know it is a reality. What exactly does this mean though? For me, it seems like you have to come face to face with how sinful, selfish, prideful, etc you really are.. There aren't any distractions to make you think everything you do is for an unselfish motive or the greater glory of God. Is this a correct understanding? Why do so many leave or have a crisis in the midst of this? Is part of this trial feeling far from God? On that note, were you in the convent long enough to experience a 'Dark Night?' If so, how did you work through this? This is one of the things that terrifies me. My Protestant upbringing hammered into me that prayer=consolation, so I have been trying to rid myself of this notion, but I still feel 'good' in prayer, and am worried that if this stops, I will not persevere in the cloister, simply because it will be so foreign to me. How are these types of things dealt with 'inside'? My prayer life and the feelings that inevitably come with it ebb and flow of course, but I have never experienced complete desolation... How does a cloistered nun deal with this, since prayer is her [i]whole life[/i]? In No Greater Love a nun spoke of feeling God's absence for 18 years. She persevered, but I don't know if I could have done it! Since everything in a nun's life points toward God, I am at a loss for how these nuns manage to stay when God does not close or present for long periods of time.

The schedule is something that gets me-at college I had a really great schedule and was 'on top' of spiritual devotions, you could say. Now I am at home waiting to be accepted and hopefully enter, and it is such a challenging environment! I get to Mass, but even that can become kind of routine after a while. I used to spend daily hours in adoration at school, here at home there are so many distractions and honestly, I am just lazier in this environment.

You say posture-is that something postulants are taught in the cloister? I will work on that. I am trying to make my posture better anyways, but it is difficult and this may give me some needed motivation to keep those shoulders back! :hehe:

I was really worried about how little the PCCs ate, but then I went on a no sugar, yeast, cow milk, wheat, or fruit diet for my PCOS. Now I don't know if I'll be able to eat all the food they give you at mealtime-and Poor Clares are expected to eat every crumb!

Custody of the eyes is one of those gems that I wish more people in the world would learn! Every Mass without fail, someone will come in late, and everyone around me whips their head around to stare at the late person. The world would greatly benefit from this monastic (or should I just say Christian?) practice!

The SD will start up once I learn whether I am accepted. I agree with you that it is very important.

One thing that has helped me to have a more realistic view of the convent and the nuns inside it is (get ready for it): Phatmass and VS. I came onto this forum thinking that everyone would be super [i]nice[/i]-I can't decide on a better word than that. Yet though VS was created especially for discerners, former religious, and those who are just interested in vocations, people are not always rainbows and sunshine, although the VS/PM community is a great group! Likewise, PM itself is for Catholics, so I figured I'd find a big happy group of people who believed the same things I did-I mean we are all Catholic, right?-and that is definitely not the case! This has helped me realize that even in the cloister, where it seems that the nuns are all exactly like one another (same habit, schedule, living quarters, prayers, etc), there will be differences, and if I let them, these can dissolve into petty disagreements. I really think PM has helped me realize that people can be perfectly orthodox and genuinely Catholic and yet differ with me on some issues that I always thought were givens. They can also be Catholic and sometimes come across as snarky or mean..this is the internet after all. I am SO thankful for this, because it would have been a very hard reality to recognize in the cloister! I hope all this makes sense.


VJAM, were you served a certain portion at mealtimes, or was it self-serve? I love what you have posted so far. If you think of anything else, I'd love to heart it, and may God reward you! (I am also sorry this is so long!!!)

Edited by emmaberry
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='emmaberry' timestamp='1346878489' post='2478943']
Thank you so much! I feel bad asking you to post this on the thread, instead of PMing it, but I have a feeling it will be of great benefit to others beside myself who are waiting to enter.
[/quote]

I'm thankful that I think I can answer all your questions, as they are all things that I have experienced. :)

The coming face to face with yourself I think all has to do wtih self-knowledge, so it as you said; seeing yourself as you really are. This kind of goes back to the silence again; there are things that will come up within you that perhaps you didn't even know were there, and some will enter with past wounds that they thought healed but will open again. It seems somewhat mysterious when you think of it, but we all need healing and also His mercy. If we see these things and face them, they can be worked on before entering. So spending time in the silence and practicing mortification is very important before taking the step of entrance. Seeing yourself as you really are is seeing also how He sees you, so at the same time we will know Him even more. It seems like we get surprised when we notice a fault or a sin in ourselves, but He isn't surprised; He knew all along. :) ... This must be lack of humility. We need humiltiy to bear self-knowledge, and He will provide that. We either despair and give up, or we humble ourselves and ask for His mercy. I must have been too proud. So I think this has to do with the perseverance; we either give into ourselves, or we give into God. When we give into ourselves we will only be brought down and then we give up. I know of a Sister who was talking once to a Mother Subprioress about how fervent she was to mortify herself. The Mother said in reply, "Sister, if you won't; God will."

Self-knowledge does have a lot to do with the dark night but there are many other trials and temptations that one will endure; especially in community life. A group of women living together, anywhere, could get difficult; so this could become one of them. But love isn't in feelings, it is in the will. St. Therese is a great example of how to live out charity in community life. We will all have our own unique crosses to bear but its important to remember not to lay them on others, and this especially to be careful of in community. Rather, carry yours and help carry the one your Sister has. :) There will be so many opportunities to give yourself, mostly in little ways (but with great love), to your community.

About the interior dryness and darkness of a soul; this will be different for everyone. St. John of The Cross will obviously answer this better then me. How it comes and how long it last will be what God permits. He knows how much He will let us bear; it will not be more then what He has chosen. Though at times we get so low and we don't know if we can go on, but here then comes the image of Our Lord during His Passion. We will be able to do it because He first did it for us. It will take a great faith and trust to believe this, but if He chooses this cross for you, he is going to supply the graces because His grace won't let you fall and stay down, we have only to accept it. It takes someone with a well formed interior (spiritual maturity and growth) to see Our Lord in everything and to stay there (within yourself) with Him; knowing that He is always there, especially those times when our feelings tell us He's "not there." In fact, when this is so, He is even more close to us then when we feel Him with our senses. St. John of The Cross talks more about this. It is pure faith, and certainly if He gives us the grace of a cloistered religious vocation, then we really have this grace of pure faith. Consolations can be for beginners in the spiritual life, and also at times for strength. He will send them at the proper time. We have to be like a child with Him. Childlike, not childish. When I first started experiencing the dryness I had a lot of anxiety (this was before I entered; though I was still in this state upon entering) and not knowing at the time, but I was going through detachment because after my conversion I experienced many consolations in prayer, but then they became on and off and the trials started but thats when I distracted myself (some of what I mentioned in the last post.) In this state He was calling me closer to Himself by taking away what I was attached to, consolations and also exterior things, but I believe I impeded this work by fighting against it for some time. The acceptance of our sufferings will make us more interior. The more we show our sufferings (perhaps to get attention or because we carry them reluctantly) we actually make them heavier to bear than what they really could be, and if we show them in community the others will have to bear them also. Thats not a good thing.

About the schedule; now that your at home you could always see your family as your "community" right now. :) It sounds like its more challenging so you could really practice mortifications and denying your own will in a lot of cases. (Its almost like my situation, but different circumstances.) I'm living with my parents, but I help with chores and there are many times when we could refrain from saying something that we know we shouldn't; perhaps when being told to do something thats not to our liking or when we just have one of those days when we don't feel like smiling (then just smile anyway so they don't know there's anything bothering you.) Think of your family as your religious Superiors, who are in the place of Our Lord. For me, giving into feelings was so much a fault, but by not giving in we strengthen our will and become stronger because we then not act with feelings but with love.

The posture you would pick up on very quickly, especially when everyone around you is doing it! It would always be corrected anyway. When your a postulant, it seems that everything is new and that you haven't done it before. Even brushing your teeth and laying down in bed! It seems so strange at first that its like this, but it will catch on. Postulants usually have a lot of funny stores they take with them throughout their formation. They're fun to share at recreation! I don't think we ever got tired of hearing the stories. :)

At meals, you got a plate of food served to you. But the Sister who was serving would pass around trays where you could take more. There also was a put back plate, where you could put back food if you think your plate had too much. I think postulants and novices have to ask this permission though (to put back food; or rather you would say you won't be able to eat all the food on your plate, then you get told what to do.) If you didn't finsih what you had to eat you would have your leftovers with your next meal. This was how it was done in the community I was in. If a Sister wasn't feeling well, she would get made whatever she needed. When your sick in the monastery, you got treated like a queen.

I really enjoyed your view about PM and the monastery! It is true; even though your with people who have the same faith and who are there for the same reasons we are all completely different and there may be clashes; its a cross of being in community. Living in a community is a grace also, not everyone could do it. But like here at PM and there at the monastery we have many chances to show Our Lord's love to eachother.

So, these are views I have based on my experiences I've had, and what I've learned. I couldn't speak for anyone else, but I hope it helps. :)

edit: for spelling.

Edited by VeniJesuAmorMi
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Veni for posts. I find them very helpful. I believe "self-knowledge" is where older vocations would have a "leg up" on the younger ones. For if a person has any amount of insight at all they will indeed grow wiser as they grow older because of experience.

I would think posture is particular to Carmel (perhaps in their meditation/mental prayer periods) and not so much Poor Clares or Franciscans in general. The Franciscans are much more "loose" in this regard.

Edited by ACS67
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='ACS67' timestamp='1346945298' post='2479395']
Thank you Veni for posts. I find them very helpful. I believe "self-knowledge" is where older vocations would have a "leg up" on the younger ones. For if a person has any amount of insight at all they will indeed grow wiser as they grow older because of experience.

I would think posture is particular to Carmel (perhaps in their meditation/mental prayer periods) and not so much Poor Clares or Franciscans in general. The Franciscans are much more "loose" in this regard.
[/quote]

Your very welcome; I'm glad I could help. :)

What a good observation about the older vocations. When one gets older they do become more set in their ways.

God reward you for your insight about the posture! Your right. Now that I think of it, in pictures I have seen of other Orders, they do use chairs with backs on them, and posture didn't seem particular. In Carmel, you won't find backs to anything they sit on; in fact I learned in the monastery that not only not leaning your back against anything and sitting straight, but also there is a certain way to sit, not just with the back. (I don't know if I explained this well? It would be easier to show then explain in words.) I had the same thought that this has to do with keeping always the spirit of prayer.

I have found that it is a really good mortification to keep good posture. It seems that at every moment if you are aware of a mortification that you could do, it will keep you close to Our Lord and aware of His presence. Once you get into the practise of always doing some mortification at all times, however little, you'll want to always do it as it helps so much and will help keep one spiritual, especially during distractions and in the midst of worldly things.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Then on the flip side of things - St. Thomas Aquinas would say that a posture for prayer should neither be too uncomfortable nor too comfortable - so that one can remain alert for prayer.

The Dominican approach would be that one should choose the appropriate means to achieve the ends. This would mean that trying to create a "universal" posture in choir may be counter-productive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='mantellata' timestamp='1346961794' post='2479469']
Then on the flip side of things - St. Thomas Aquinas would say that a posture for prayer should neither be too uncomfortable nor too comfortable - so that one can remain alert for prayer.

The Dominican approach would be that one should choose the appropriate means to achieve the ends. This would mean that trying to create a "universal" posture in choir may be counter-productive.
[/quote]

Thats a good point! "Being alert in prayer" thats a nice way to put it too. :) .... I didn't find that the posture was uncomfortable. I guess trying to imagine what it would look like might seem that you weren't able to move. It wasn't that, though being still was important and not touching your face, or being fidgety with your hands. This was for greater reverence before Our Lord in The Blessed Sacrament, and helped with less distraction too. It can seem though that when one is too comfortable in any posture, or in anything really, can cause carelessness and self-indulgence. One fault will lead to another, as they say. Being uncomfortable during pray can be a distraction as well. Then finding that balance that is good for oneself would be important. But as the grace is there for someone called to that way of life in Carmel, they will find for them that everything had the right balance and wouldn't be a hinderance to prayer.

(I think I'm posting too much on this thread! :hehe2: I have a great love for Carmel and the traditions they continue to keep from Our Holy Mother) but just another little bit about this community; most of the prayers said in this community were done kneeling and also to get permissions, but if someone got what is termed "novice knees" they could get permission to stand, or sit if they had too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='ACS67' timestamp='1346945298' post='2479395']
Thank you Veni for posts. I find them very helpful. I believe "self-knowledge" is where older vocations would have a "leg up" on the younger ones. For if a person has any amount of insight at all they will indeed grow wiser as they grow older because of experience.

I would think posture is particular to Carmel (perhaps in their meditation/mental prayer periods) and not so much Poor Clares or Franciscans in general. The Franciscans are much more "loose" in this regard.
[/quote]

I know of many Carmels, even 1990s who have leeway in their praying postures - many communities tailor it to each sisters best availability.

Despite the Carmel of Kirk Edge, a 1990s, being so strict, austere, they have leeway in kneeling for mental prayer. For sisters who can kneel the full hour do. For those who can't (any age), their "policy" is: you kneel for the first and last 5 minutes of the hour (if at all possible) and then for the middle 50 minutes you can either continue to kneel, stand, use a prayer stool or for worse cases physically or temporary injures, sit in the choir stall and for those who can, not lean their back against the back of the stall.

Many Carmels see that though the preferred way is kneeling, many sisters have developed knee and back problems and sisters with injuries, knee and/or back conditions aren't conducive to good functioning in the community and often effects their vow of poverty with medical bills, etc. for sisters that wouldn't normally have needed medical attention if allowed options opposed to kneeling.

Many Prioresses in different Carmels have told me that a bad knee for one who enters Carmel doesn't preclude one from Carmel. So they have come to be wise and modify when needed - as in other areas.

As emmaberry mentioned her PCOS, many orders will and can accommodate you and your diet needs - within reason. Many are (Carmels and PCCs) will offer substitutes in their diet for you. Obviously you can't walk in and say "I am an Atkins or Primal eater so I must have meat at every meal!" when this is by choice but if you had a medical condition where you needed meat even a few times a week they usually can accommodate you - of course does depend on the community. That is allowed in St. Clare's rule and the rule in Carmels.

But about the "older vocations getting more set in their ways" is very wrong in many cases, of course not all but a lot! More like a misconception! I am 50 and I am NOT set in my ways! I have had MANY prioresses, abbesses of PCCs, Carmels and one Dominican monastery PREFER older women than younger ones but of course they take youngs! Once a very wise Abbess said that if orders compared the "numbers" to how many younger women left to how many older women left, they are often the same or not much difference! It's just easier to assume an older women left because she is: older, set in her ways, couldn't adapt, lived to long on her own, etc." when it more than like is she had no vocation to that order/community or none at all! Just like younger ones! I know many younger ones more set in their ways than older.

Perhaps some are set in their ways but myself and many others I know personally here in the world and others who entered orders and are professed do not see it that way. It comes down to will you totally surrender ALL to God? Will you totally practice and live your vow of Obedience to the prioress and others in the community? Will you give up your preconceived notions, your way of doing things is better, etc. These nuns who entered late in life did this and more. PLUS it comes down to God's grace AND if you even have a vocation to this order and community. Perhaps the ones who leave either did NOT have a vocation or where not willing to totally give God free reign and give up themselves.

And the "facing yourself" is different for each woman, some have a harder time than another will. It depends on your relationship to God before you enter. I can imagine a St. Clare or St. Teresa of the Andes or St. Therese entering and not doing to do too much 'facing of themselves' as they were so holy to begin with! The same with non-canonized saints - most of us know a few.

As for the "dark night", Padre Pio knew this as did Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta but though they were in terrible dark nights, they KNEW Jesus was beside them, with them during every second of it. That's the key. When you start to really believe and think God HAS left you, then you are done. If you think the dark night serves no purpose you are done. If you have no faith, trust, confidences in God that He IS there holding you, embracing you, loving you, then you are done and you'll leave the community or do very badly unnecessarily. Just say, "Jesus I trust in You"

I have a book (and it is available at the Notting Hill Carmel online book store) of the life of Mother Mary of Jesus, foundress fo the 33 Carmels in the UK, Wales and Scotland - Kirk Edge and Notting Hill of course - who besides on her life, it is a good book to study for a Carmelite novitiate (or even other order!) as she writes of the dark night and all and the advice given is so wonderful.

Reading saints, besides St. John of the Cross, who suffered from this and who they dealt with this: St. Therese, St. Pio, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, and many others will help - besides much prayer, Our Lady and boundless trust and confidence in God!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Laudem,
Is the book called "In the Silence of Mary"? I would like to read that.

I appreciate what you said about older vocations. I think perhaps I worded my response so that it was misunderstood. I certainly would never advocate for older women being "set in their ways." My position is that older women, older vocations have an advantage (my words "a leg up") over younger vocations in that they (the older women) have more self knowledge by the sheer fact of having lived and experienced life more than the younger. Would I still have a problem with the "permissions"? Yes. That is because right now, I'm too proud. I know this from "self knowledge." :) I have never thought of exploring a vocation to Carmel until recently (within the last month) but now I think I should, even though it would be the hardest thing I have ever done. Veni and Laudem your advice and encouragement is of great help to me, and I am sure others as well.

The "dark night" is not something to be taken lightly for sure. What you said Laudem is right on the mark. My consolation for the "dark night" (and I have had a few) is the Sacred Heart. I love the Sacred Heart, hence my avatar. That very picture is enthroned in my apartment.

Again, thanks so much Veni and Laudem. I appreciate your posts. :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='ACS67' timestamp='1346945298' post='2479395']
I would think posture is particular to Carmel (perhaps in their meditation/mental prayer periods) and not so much Poor Clares or Franciscans in general. The Franciscans are much more "loose" in this regard.
[/quote]

I remember Mother Francis in A Right to Be Merry saying she always sat up a little straighter when "[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][size=4]This is that summit of the highest poverty which has established you, my dearest sisters, heiresses and queens of the kingdom of heaven[/size][/font]" was read from Saint Clare's Holy Rule, implying that she wasn't already concentrating on her posture. Good insight.

Also, in My Beloved, Sister speaks of the constant fatigue most nuns experience. She says that she leaned on the wall and a nun told her, "A Carmelite leans on nothing but Jesus"!!

Edit:


[color=#222222][font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)][quote name='Laudem Gloriae' timestamp='1346973292' post='2479547']
But about the "older vocations getting more set in their ways" is very wrong in many cases, of course not all but a lot! More like a misconception! I am 50 and I am NOT set in my ways! I have had MANY prioresses, abbesses of PCCs, Carmels and one Dominican monastery PREFER older women than younger ones but of course they take youngs! Once a very wise Abbess said that if orders compared the "numbers" to how many younger women left to how many older women left, they are often the same or not much difference! It's just easier to assume an older women left because she is: older, set in her ways, couldn't adapt, lived to long on her own, etc." when it more than like is she had no vocation to that order/community or none at all! Just like younger ones! I know many younger ones more set in their ways than older.
[/quote]

Yes, I agree that not all older vocations are more set in their ways. It reminds me of some communities who make their age limit 21+, 25+, etc because they deem high school grads as too immature. It's great that there are so many communities who accept you, and of course I am so thankful some communities let high school graduates enter!

There really is a place for everyone in the Church. :)[/background][/size][/font][/color]

Edited by emmaberry
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think phrase "set in ways" is perhaps not the best turn of phrase for what is being discussed.

Taste of independence perhaps.

My experience in religious life is that having this or [u]not having this[/u] can be a detriment to a vocation. Actually not having a sense of how to act as an independent and thinking woman is worse for a vocation than being older and knowing what you are giving up. It was - in my former community - a reason why a vocation director would tell a young woman to wait, go to college first.

There is more to "loose" when you are older - more to give up of the important things - family, nieces, nephews, career. The insecurity that one experiences in religious life after having given up all that seemed to promise stability makes it very difficult for an older vocation not to "look back" and wonder if it truly is right to give up so much. Yes obedience can seem a bit like tedium - but it is accepted more for what it is - a means of stripping the will of its ego - not just a carry-over from obedience to a girls parents.

I think what makes communities careful with older vocations is that you need to make sure that the woman is not on a rebound, not looking for security in a different way, not worried that she will not find a husband and does not want to "live alone", or has a host of other reasons that are not indicators of a calling to religious life. Physical ailments that are severe enough to constitute an impediment are also more prevalent among older vocations. This is why I think it is wonderful that there are some communities out there whose charism actually fosters older vocations - since they do exist.

Simply framing it as an obedience question or "set in ways" - while may be a factor, I believe is an over simplistic answer on its own.

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.



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...