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Reasons To Leave A Monastery


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Hischild,

Thank You for sharing. Several of us have entered religious life more than once and have experienced similar things as you. I always felt guilty and no longer worthy of God's love after leaving and actually sometimes still do feel that way.

The story I like most is the one that is told of a monk. Every night, before bed, he would kneel and pray, telling God that "tomorrow I leave the Monastery." Then every morning at Mass he would tell God, "with your grace, I will stay just one more day." And that is how he persevered till death. He could only take it ONE day at a time and every night he thought of leaving.


Thank you for sharing that story. What grace that monk was given!
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Friar John Paul, this thread is about the experiences of people who have left monastic life.  I don't know whether you have had the experience of leaving a religious community but I don't think it is

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Dear Sr. Madeleine Marie:   I have read this thread carefully, and maybe I missed it.  If your community was specifically mentioned in this thread please hit the report button and we (mods) will cor

Indwelling Trinity

His Child. Thank You for you writing. I too as you know have experienced some of the same. God uses things such as these to strip us of all that is not him. Even when things seem so unjust He brings something beautiful out of it in the end. Through events that have happened in my religious life that have shaken me to the my very core, there were times i feared it  would take my mind and soul.

I thought i had been cast out and rejected by God and there was no where and no one to turn too; God was hidden from me.. Still God gave me the grace to hang on if only by a thread, for his merciful love endures forever. Thank You all for your contributions.

 

As for you my Dear Friend, I miss speaking with you. I am now in AZ    I just got out of hospice and will be going into assissted living in 2 weeksbecause of  MS with paralysis, Gatric paralysis   and  cervical myeloomalacia. The pain has been intense on evry level and yet i am more sure of my vocation than i have ever been. I rejoice when i heard them say let us go to God's house.! Let us each allow God to make his home within us. Nothing else is necessary. Just to wait on him in silent adoring love.

 

Maybe one day we could talk again.  A Blessed advent to  you may he always find safe shelter in you heart and in those you care for.

 

I am happy and well and more in Love with Jesus than ever! Pray for me as I seek to speak to the bishop.

 

your sister,

 

emmanuel

 

 

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His Child. Thank You for you writing. I too as you know have experienced some of the same. God uses things such as these to strip us of all that is not him. Even when things seem so unjust He brings something beautiful out of it in the end. Through events that have happened in my religious life that have shaken me to the my very core, there were times i feared it  would take my mind and soul.

I thought i had been cast out and rejected by God and there was no where and no one to turn too; God was hidden from me.. Still God gave me the grace to hang on if only by a thread, for his merciful love endures forever. Thank You all for your contributions.

 

As for you my Dear Friend, I miss speaking with you. I am now in AZ    I just got out of hospice and will be going into assissted living in 2 weeksbecause of  MS with paralysis, Gatric paralysis   and  cervical myeloomalacia. The pain has been intense on evry level and yet i am more sure of my vocation than i have ever been. I rejoice when i heard them say let us go to God's house.! Let us each allow God to make his home within us. Nothing else is necessary. Just to wait on him in silent adoring love.

 

Maybe one day we could talk again.  A Blessed advent to  you may he always find safe shelter in you heart and in those you care for.

 

I am happy and well and more in Love with Jesus than ever! Pray for me as I seek to speak to the bishop.

 

your sister,

 

emmanuel

 

Oh IT, I wish I could put my arms around you and take your pain away. And, yet, you have something I don't have--you are happy and well and more in love with Jesus than ever. Faith is such a mystery. I have been thinking of you and praying for you a lot lately. I'm SO glad you posted this. I miss talking to you.

 

For myself, my "dark night" continues, but I take each day step by step, and although I don't feel God at all most of the time, I try to remember to thank him for all he has given me, and I try not to burden others when I am sad.

 

I apologize for going off-topic, but I am SOOOOOO glad to hear from IT!!!!

 

To have comments from IT is a special blessing for all of us. As IT said, she has shared some of the experiences of those who have posted here. But, what she has written in her post should be a shining light that God is able to work, even though people are imperfect and the body is imperfect.

 

My health has gotten worse, and I am mostly homebound. But, despite my continued inner "darkness" I realize that in my homebound life God has given me a gift that he doesn't give many others--I have time to pray for others and to read. I am still confused, but I have come to the conclusion that, for me, at least, while I am alive, there are always going to be things I don't fully understand. Human beings are so imperfect compared to God that our understanding is always going to be imperfect, and some day I WILL understand.

 

Unlike most of you who have posted in this thread, I have never been in religious life, although I have been fascinated by it from a young age. However, I have never felt the call to religious life, but rather to marriage. In some ways, I have been blessed that I haven't felt a call to religious life, because even from childhood, I had several physical and emotional canonical impediments that would have prevented me from being accepted. Instead, in later life, I have become an informal "supporter" of Sisters. Virtually everyone I share messages/email/mail with is in religious life. God has told me several times to provide financial support to a Sister--whether entering or ongoing in religious life. (No, I didn't hear a "voice"--I simply knew with an unwavering conviction that that was what God wanted me to do. And, I found that at those rare times when I knew exactly what God wanted me to do something, I just did it, with no questions or doubt. No rational explanation--I just "knew.")

 

Again OT, but a little of my story may illustrate how God works even through hard times, although IT has had it much harder than me and I am not fit to kiss IT's feet. I have not worked for 10 years now, and I am on SS disability. Most of the time I am homebound. I was part of a government study on my physical condition 10 years ago, and one of the questions was, "Do you feel your illness has made you a better person?" At that time, I just laughed--It was an absurd idea.

 

10 years later it is not an absurd idea at all. Over time, I have painfully come to realize many ways that my past behavior was hurting other people and putting them down. Yet, that was not my intentional AT ALL, so I was totally surprised by people's reactions, and my eventual realization that I had been doing this made me very sad. There was a complete disconnect. Since I became ill, I have become more humble, more aware of other people's feelings, more aware of how what I say and do affects others. I wish I had known all this when I was 20, but I didn't. Right now, I am continuing to work on not having huge regrets for all my behavior and decisions in the past, and I am very slowly learning to forgive myself, and just as importantly, to forgive those who wronged me.

 

I worked in a very dysfunctional workplace for 20 years and many of the stories I have read here concerning things that happen in religious life also happen in a close-knit workplace. Obviously it is different, because in secular life you don't live with your co-workers. But in my job I still spent most of my waking hours with my co-workers. And, unlike religious life, my co-workers mostly were not even trying to be more perfect, and many things happened to me that were very unfair, and very hurtful and damaging to me. As I said, I have been learning (slowly) to forgive those who hurt me during my life, intentionally or unintentionally, but it is hard. After 10 years of being gone, I still dream of my workplace almost every night.

 

As for marriage, I still believe that was(is?) my vocation. I entered marriage with the expectation that divorce was not an option. However, at age 40, my ex-husband told me that he was moving out, fait accompli. No option to change his decision. No counseling. My marriage was over. (There are lots of details that explain why this happened, so if this doesn't make sense, it's because those details are missing. However, I don't think they need to be discussed in a public forum.) BTW--My ex-husband was Catholic and we were married in the Catholic church.

 

All my life what I most wanted was a happy marriage and now I was divorced. Over the years, I have learned to no longer be ashamed of this, partly because, in my case, I had no control over my ex-husband's decision. I had hoped to meet someone else after my divorce, but that has not happened, and appears unlikely to happen, although I am not dead yet. However, I feel that at this moment, I don't have the physical or emotional strength to be a good wife. I have learned to not to try to predict the future.

 

So, God allowed me to lose my job and abilty to work (and along with it my source of income), as well as my health, and my husband (although not in that order). I can be VERY stubborn, so I expect that, with me, God had to do something radical to stop what I was doing, and get me to pay attention to him.  However, unlike St. Paul, I have never had a "road to Damascus" experience, and instead I have been asked to live day to day, trying to understand as best I can.

 

I will stop talking about myself, and get back to topic. God allows some of us to lose what we expected was going to last until the end of our lives. In some cases, he makes it clear why this happened and what he intends next. I have lost count of the number of women on Phatmass who left their first religious community, only to later find the "right" place for them where they are very happy. For others, of which I am one, God's plan isn't clear at all and we are asked to live day to day and try our best to trust God, often in darkness (at least in my case).

 

For those of you who are still with your first community or your first husband, God has given you a VERY special blessing. Your experiences are no less real or "the truth" than those who have been led by God to leave a community (or more than one community). Just as every person is different, the experiences we have are different.

 

This thread about leaving a monastery is only one thread on Vocation Station. But, I think it is an important one, because if even one woman (or man) who felt led (or was asked) to leave their community feels less alone, than it has served its purpose.

 

But, the whole message of Vocation Station is that religious life is essentially good, and a special gift from God for those who are called to it. It's just that for some of us, the road of our life is a winding one, including experiences in religious life.

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This thread about leaving a monastery is only one thread on Vocation Station. But, I think it is an important one, because if even one woman (or man) who felt led (or was asked) to leave their community feels less alone, than it has served its purpose.

 

But, the whole message of Vocation Station is that religious life is essentially good, and a special gift from God for those who are called to it. It's just that for some of us, the road of our life is a winding one, including experiences in religious life.

 

That's why I'm so glad this thread was started and that so many have been open and honest and felt comfortable sharing their experiences here. It's wonderful to have a "safe" place to discuss our experiences wherein our former communities are anonymous, yet a discussion still in the public sphere where anyone, present or future, can glean wisdom and knowledge from our shared experiences here. Life is not perfect; everyone's experiences, even in religious life, will necessarily be different. Leaving religious life, whether or not you truly have a religious vocation, is an often devastating and painful experience, even when you wanted to leave, but I am sure especially when it's not something you decided on your own. To hear each person's unique experience, and what they personally learned and gained from it, is really a treasure. It's a testament to how God works in each of our lives, and also gives us all a sense of fellowship and encouragement. To Him be all the honor and glory! And I really think that's the underlying theme of this thread; even despite the painful, often faith-shaking things that many of us experienced, we still praise the name of the Lord. What a beautiful thing. :buddies:

 

Religious life is a beautiful, sublime calling! To those who are discerning and reading this thread, you'll notice that even when we had some negative experiences--even serious negative ones--we still often had positive experiences, too. None of us has been left with a bad view of religious life; in fact, all of us have extolled it and encouraged it. That's how God works; again, Romans 8:28 (one of my favorite verses...can you tell?  :P  ) Even when the road to following God's will is a winding one, we can still see the Hand of God loving us and guiding us through it all. Don't ever be discouraged, don't ever lose hope in God. He is a loving Father and He cares for all of us, and loves us beyond what we could ever, ever fathom, no matter what we've been through. Trusting Him, even when the path is a different one than what we had envisioned, can be an extraordinarily hard thing to do, but it can bring about so many miracles of grace.

 

I must say, too, as an aside, it's so good to see comments here from "old timers" on VS. You all are always in my thoughts and prayers!

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His Child. Thank You for you writing. I too as you know have experienced some of the same. God uses things such as these to strip us of all that is not him. Even when things seem so unjust He brings something beautiful out of it in the end. Through events that have happened in my religious life that have shaken me to the my very core, there were times i feared it  would take my mind and soul.

I thought i had been cast out and rejected by God and there was no where and no one to turn too; God was hidden from me.. Still God gave me the grace to hang on if only by a thread, for his merciful love endures forever. Thank You all for your contributions.

 

As for you my Dear Friend, I miss speaking with you. I am now in AZ    I just got out of hospice and will be going into assissted living in 2 weeksbecause of  MS with paralysis, Gatric paralysis   and  cervical myeloomalacia. The pain has been intense on evry level and yet i am more sure of my vocation than i have ever been. I rejoice when i heard them say let us go to God's house.! Let us each allow God to make his home within us. Nothing else is necessary. Just to wait on him in silent adoring love.

 

Maybe one day we could talk again.  A Blessed advent to  you may he always find safe shelter in you heart and in those you care for.

 

I am happy and well and more in Love with Jesus than ever! Pray for me as I seek to speak to the bishop.

 

your sister,

 

emmanuel

 

Sister! It's so good to hear from you! I am so glad that you are so emotionally and spiritually well, but of course saddened to hear your MS and all its ramifications have plagued you. I will PM you to see if you still have my phone number. Who knows, we could be just down the street from one another!

 

 

Oh IT, I wish I could put my arms around you and take your pain away. And, yet, you have something I don't have--you are happy and well and more in love with Jesus than ever. Faith is such a mystery. I have been thinking of you and praying for you a lot lately. I'm SO glad you posted this. I miss talking to you.

 

For myself, my "dark night" continues, but I take each day step by step, and although I don't feel God at all most of the time, I try to remember to thank him for all he has given me, and I try not to burden others when I am sad.

 

I apologize for going off-topic, but I am SOOOOOO glad to hear from IT!!!!

 

To have comments from IT is a special blessing for all of us. As IT said, she has shared some of the experiences of those who have posted here. But, what she has written in her post should be a shining light that God is able to work, even though people are imperfect and the body is imperfect.

 

My health has gotten worse, and I am mostly homebound. But, despite my continued inner "darkness" I realize that in my homebound life God has given me a gift that he doesn't give many others--I have time to pray for others and to read. I am still confused, but I have come to the conclusion that, for me, at least, while I am alive, there are always going to be things I don't fully understand. Human beings are so imperfect compared to God that our understanding is always going to be imperfect, and some day I WILL understand.

 

Unlike most of you who have posted in this thread, I have never been in religious life, although I have been fascinated by it from a young age. However, I have never felt the call to religious life, but rather to marriage. In some ways, I have been blessed that I haven't felt a call to religious life, because even from childhood, I had several physical and emotional canonical impediments that would have prevented me from being accepted. Instead, in later life, I have become an informal "supporter" of Sisters. Virtually everyone I share messages/email/mail with is in religious life. God has told me several times to provide financial support to a Sister--whether entering or ongoing in religious life. (No, I didn't hear a "voice"--I simply knew with an unwavering conviction that that was what God wanted me to do. And, I found that at those rare times when I knew exactly what God wanted me to do something, I just did it, with no questions or doubt. No rational explanation--I just "knew.")

 

Again OT, but a little of my story may illustrate how God works even through hard times, although IT has had it much harder than me and I am not fit to kiss IT's feet. I have not worked for 10 years now, and I am on SS disability. Most of the time I am homebound. I was part of a government study on my physical condition 10 years ago, and one of the questions was, "Do you feel your illness has made you a better person?" At that time, I just laughed--It was an absurd idea.

 

10 years later it is not an absurd idea at all. Over time, I have painfully come to realize many ways that my past behavior was hurting other people and putting them down. Yet, that was not my intentional AT ALL, so I was totally surprised by people's reactions, and my eventual realization that I had been doing this made me very sad. There was a complete disconnect. Since I became ill, I have become more humble, more aware of other people's feelings, more aware of how what I say and do affects others. I wish I had known all this when I was 20, but I didn't. Right now, I am continuing to work on not having huge regrets for all my behavior and decisions in the past, and I am very slowly learning to forgive myself, and just as importantly, to forgive those who wronged me.

 

I worked in a very dysfunctional workplace for 20 years and many of the stories I have read here concerning things that happen in religious life also happen in a close-knit workplace. Obviously it is different, because in secular life you don't live with your co-workers. But in my job I still spent most of my waking hours with my co-workers. And, unlike religious life, my co-workers mostly were not even trying to be more perfect, and many things happened to me that were very unfair, and very hurtful and damaging to me. As I said, I have been learning (slowly) to forgive those who hurt me during my life, intentionally or unintentionally, but it is hard. After 10 years of being gone, I still dream of my workplace almost every night.

 

As for marriage, I still believe that was(is?) my vocation. I entered marriage with the expectation that divorce was not an option. However, at age 40, my ex-husband told me that he was moving out, fait accompli. No option to change his decision. No counseling. My marriage was over. (There are lots of details that explain why this happened, so if this doesn't make sense, it's because those details are missing. However, I don't think they need to be discussed in a public forum.) BTW--My ex-husband was Catholic and we were married in the Catholic church.

 

All my life what I most wanted was a happy marriage and now I was divorced. Over the years, I have learned to no longer be ashamed of this, partly because, in my case, I had no control over my ex-husband's decision. I had hoped to meet someone else after my divorce, but that has not happened, and appears unlikely to happen, although I am not dead yet. However, I feel that at this moment, I don't have the physical or emotional strength to be a good wife. I have learned to not to try to predict the future.

 

So, God allowed me to lose my job and abilty to work (and along with it my source of income), as well as my health, and my husband (although not in that order). I can be VERY stubborn, so I expect that, with me, God had to do something radical to stop what I was doing, and get me to pay attention to him.  However, unlike St. Paul, I have never had a "road to Damascus" experience, and instead I have been asked to live day to day, trying to understand as best I can.

 

I will stop talking about myself, and get back to topic. God allows some of us to lose what we expected was going to last until the end of our lives. In some cases, he makes it clear why this happened and what he intends next. I have lost count of the number of women on Phatmass who left their first religious community, only to later find the "right" place for them where they are very happy. For others, of which I am one, God's plan isn't clear at all and we are asked to live day to day and try our best to trust God, often in darkness (at least in my case).

 

For those of you who are still with your first community or your first husband, God has given you a VERY special blessing. Your experiences are no less real or "the truth" than those who have been led by God to leave a community (or more than one community). Just as every person is different, the experiences we have are different.

 

This thread about leaving a monastery is only one thread on Vocation Station. But, I think it is an important one, because if even one woman (or man) who felt led (or was asked) to leave their community feels less alone, than it has served its purpose.

 

But, the whole message of Vocation Station is that religious life is essentially good, and a special gift from God for those who are called to it. It's just that for some of us, the road of our life is a winding one, including experiences in religious life.

 

Ignatius, I am so blessed to read your story. Of course, I want to know more, because my guy reaction is that we might have more in common than one would initially think.

 

Thank you for your comment about this thread might make one feel less alone. I certainly know if it were present on this phorum years ago, when I left the monastery, I might have remained posting on a regular basis vs. taking such a long hiatus.  :)
 

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It would appears Indwelling Trinity cannot accept new messages... Sister, I wrote to your email address if it's still the same. I also have your phone number I think. I could also give you a call if you'd like.

 

 

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