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Parents Against Religious Life


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Do you think that having a lack of family support is a reason to not choose a religious vocation?
Or do you think a person should persist anyway without the support?

 

Your question makes me think of the story of Blessed Frances Siedliska, known in religion as Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd. She is a saint who has really inspired me in my discernment (and who is also the foundress of the order I've applied to). She was from a noble family, and her parents were Catholic but quite indifferent to religion and didn't encourage their children to learn about God or accept Him into their lives, so when she began to draw away from social expectations (making her debut in society, attending parties, getting married, etc.) and seek religious life, they thought there was something wrong with her. Her father was particularly opposed to her vocation and that caused her a lot of pain because they were close, and eventually many of his acquaintances turned against Frances and began to slander her. When she told her father that she wanted to abandon herself completely to God, he expressed great suffering at his daughter choosing such a life - but at the end of his life, he experienced a great inner peace. 

 

I have heard a few stories like that of Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd. I don't think parents, extended family or friends can ever completely understand a religious vocation; they could be incredibly supportive and happy, but they can't fully understand. I have heard some stories of people who felt a call to religious life but, because of family problems, waited until their parents had passed away before entering. That would be incredibly difficult. 

 

I don't think a lack of family support should deter a person from at least exploring a potential vocation. Of course, support is important and exceptionally beneficial and strengthening, but it's not always something we receive. I have experienced some opposition from people around me regarding my choice to apply, and I anticipate I'll receive more if I'm accepted. I think what really helps a person to persevere in times of intolerance is prayer. Through prayer, Blessed Frances Siedliska's father became at peace with his daughter's choices. Prayer really cannot be underestimated, and neither can the trust that the Lord will be with us and with those we love.

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I met Sr. Mary Isabel before she entered, and she was a lovely lady.   She is still at the Menlo Park monastery....   and she was one of the temporarily professed Sisters in Formation who attended

An Austrian Abbess told me: Her father was against her entering a convent and was absolutely not happy about it. However he was a religious man. Somebody told him: On your deathbed you will be gratefu

It is more and more that parents are against children's religious life.I know that parents want the best for their children but some of the do not quite understand what this relay mean. They are kind

Spem, you beat me to it. :) I just wanted to say that for those of us without parental support while we are discerning, & even if we don't receive it after entering, well, we are in excellent company. St. Francis & St. Clare come to mind as well. :saint: :saint:

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Having parental opposition is nothing new, there many Saints whose parents opposed their vocations. But look at what the Church would have potentially lost if those Saints hadn't followed their vocations

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What are your thoughts on parents that aren't fully against following a call to religious life, but against the religious order you feel called to join?

 

I experienced this a little when I was looking at two potential orders. My parents weren't necessarily "against" one of the orders, but they clearly had a preference and expressed this to me quite strongly, as did some of my friends. When this happened, I'd usually try and speak with my parents or my friends and get a sense of why they had that opinion, and I also tried to use charity and honesty when speaking about the orders I was in contact with, both to do them justice and to express clearly how I felt about them. We have our own preferences about which orders we look at - we consider and make choices based on particular charisms, spiritualities, ministries, dress, prayer life, and so on - and so it must be expected that others around us will have their own preferences or views too. While the views of others, and particularly the views of people we respect and value, may be unwarranted or upsetting, I think it really is important to always uphold love and charity, even if - and especially if - we are faced with something we don't want to hear.

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An Austrian Abbess told me: Her father was against her entering a convent and was absolutely not happy about it. However he was a religious man. Somebody told him: On your deathbed you will be grateful for your daughter. - That was an argument for him, and I suppose he found his peace with the decision sooner.

 

We shouldn't forget that heavenly grace can open the hearts of our family too. I've experienced that both when I converted and when I entered the community. In the first case my parents were heavily against it, especially my father. The celebration took place in the house chapel of the community which was a few hours driving from my parent's house. I travelled some days before them. When I left my parent's house there was no clue whether they would ever accept it. However they were invited. And when they arrived on the eve of the feast they were completely peaceful. In the meanwhile my father had got his personal "duc in altum" sign from above and my parents became catholic two years later in the same place.

 

When I entered the convent it was not as heavily, but the whole family was present and all of them felt unwell about the whole thing. (You can even see it on the fotos from the beginning of the ceremony). But during the ceremony they somehow felt that it was right and that it was my vocation to be a sister. And after that they were happy with it and even a bit proud of me.

And you should not think that was an easy thing for the Holy Spirit. I come from a Lutheran family and they have a special reservation against these things. My parents have been fascinated by consecrated life all their lifetime but they could never think of anybody of the family joining it. It was very difficult for myself doing it because I felt the huge gap between the tradition of my family and my own vocation.

 

Edit: But, do it, if you ever have the vocation, do it! Otherwise you'll never become happy. Who had known my parents before would never have thought they could become catholics ever - maybe just because they had catholic contacts over all the years and didn't. The Lord does great wonders!

Edited by Senensis
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Sadly i know some friends who give from Vocation only because of pressure of family.And i have been sure that they have Vocation but for some people this pressure is something they can not handle.And now they are not happy.They try to be happy but their not.It is very sad and it break my heart,

Also i know examples where parents kind of push their children into the discerning and vocation that also not end well in this way they just push them from church and from vocation.

My  parents give us proper raising and catholic education but i have never been pushed into nothing.My vocation and my discerning is pure my decision.They just give me support in my discerning for religious life.I'm sure that they will do the same no mother i have pick in my life.

Good example is my sister,after high school she did not enter collage.For few years she traveled,work and live her life in the way she want it.

After few years of searching her self this year she decided that next year she will start studding at local Catholic collage and in the same time she will enter monastery and start her postulate.Every vocation is different and we need to treat it different.

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@Carla: You remember me of a friend who entered a convent of sisters against the will of her family. (It was a family of psychopaths, and moreover protestants. She was the only one who was not insane, so to speak). Her family discovered where she was and set up really big terror. At the end my friend got seriously ill under the whole pressure. Her family threatened to retrieve her by police power. That was the point when she left because she felt that she couldn't enforce it any longer. The whole story took only a few months. A very, very sad story.

 

Another girl whom I didn't know personally but who I remember very well couldn't even try because of her parents. It was during my postulancy when I saw her in our cloister, bowing her head to the Crucified Lord while passing by the cross. She was wearing a decent skirt; on her face a silent and earnest expression.

Afterwards I asked my VD: "What about that girl. Does she have a vocation?" My VD answered sadly: "She has, she might have.. she wants to be a consecrated virgin, but her parents are against it and that's why she doesn't feel able to do it... some can't overcome these oppositions..."

 

Then there was a young monk whose mother always prayed to much (if you allow me to say so). She might have pushed her son into the monastery. After a few years they brought him right from the convent into the mental hospital.

 

And then there is a whole sad bunch of girls who failed because of failing spiritual fathers. Me too if I'm unlucky.

 

:dead:

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It sounds like God has blessed you with wonderful parents Carla!

 

Blue.Rose truly i'm blessed with amazing parents.They raise me in proper and religious way and give us excellent education.

And out family is blessed with two possible vocations.Both me and my sister consider entering in two completely different orders.

For our family is great honor,Also i'm comming from proud catholic country and it is long tradition here to serve vocations in church.

I have many relatives priests and sisters and i very proud on that.

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