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The strictest orders


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13 minutes ago, PhuturePriest said:

So far as I am aware, they are the only Order which completely abstains from meat year-round save for medical necessities.

The Cistercians (at least the Strict Observance - Trappists) don't eat meat either. (Of course, what counts as medical necessities might be interpreted more or less strictly in some monasteries, but in principle they don't.

Orthodox monastics (at least the more traditional ones) don't either, FWIW.

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Physical penances certainly seem radical when we speak about them and they can be good for the spiritual life but if you are looking for real penance life usually provides what you need. I would

I have to be honest with you - this sends off big alarm bells for me.  Thinking in black and white is something that doesn't go well with community living.  It's something that most psychologists woul

Yes, I wasn't referring to silent acceptance of everything and especially not of big decisions.  I was thinking of more mundane conversations.  For example, one sister might insist that the temperatur

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3 minutes ago, PhuturePriest said:

Stop ruining how I explain the dramatically radical lives of the Carthusians with your pesky facts. :|

Why don't you get your facts straight? :| 

Srsly, I discerned with the Carthusians, and aside from the solitude—which would drive a lot of people crazy—they're really not any stricter or more ascetic or severe in any way than a lot of other orders.

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2 minutes ago, Gabriela said:

Why don't you get your facts straight? :| 

Srsly, I discerned with the Carthusians, and aside from the solitude—which would drive a lot of people crazy—they're really not any stricter or more ascetic or severe in any way than a lot of other orders.

Oh really? Very interesting. I love the Carthusians, so if you would care to share your experiences with them in a PM I would love to hear. I've been meaning to message you anyway, since you had asked me to.

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28 minutes ago, Gabriela said:

Srsly, I discerned with the Carthusians, and aside from the solitude—which would drive a lot of people crazy—they're really not any stricter or more ascetic or severe in any way than a lot of other orders.

I've had a similar impression, albeit from afar, and have at certain times in my life rather envied them. The thing that I would find difficult is the broken sleep. I struggle enough with early mornings anyhow, but I once spent some time with a community that prayed Matins at 2 am and then went back to bed and it totally knocked me - getting up for Lauds at 7 was ten times worse than getting up at 3.30 would have been! But then, some people seem to manage fine with it, and to some extent our bodies adapt...

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3 minutes ago, Egeria said:

I've had a similar impression, albeit from afar, and have at certain times in my life rather envied them. The thing that I would find difficult is the broken sleep. I struggle enough with early mornings anyhow, but I once spent some time with a community that prayed Matins at 2 am and then went back to bed and it totally knocked me - getting up for Lauds at 7 was ten times worse than getting up at 3.30 would have been! But then, some people seem to manage fine with it, and to some extent our bodies adapt...

I discerned with a community that wakes up every night at midnight for matins. As it was only a week-long live-in, I had the option of doing this, and though I tried I only succeeded in waking up for it once. It probably didn't help that I had lost an hour of sleep due to a difference in time zone, but even in my native time zone waking up twice would be very difficult on me.

I remember being particularly concerned about this when I visited, and the answer I was told was "God calls us to carry our crosses, not our easy chairs." It makes theological sense, of course, but the reality is far from romantic. :P

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the poor clare collettines do this to and they actually warned me to try it just once.

Because it is so intense on the body they really ease you into it, so as a postulant you would do this once a week, as a novice 2-3 times, and only in the junioriate you would have build up to fulltime!

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Little story : the cistercians used to have one of the most severe (and dangerous...) mortification ever : the minutio or bleeding. 

It was done every three month. The abbot would chose wich month would have the honor to be bleed. The goal was to weaken the body. I think it stopped somewhere at the end of the Middle Age. 

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Bravo to Sister Marie! She reflects a great deal of wisdom and experience in what she said, above. I would pay very careful attention to her insights.... We are somewhat "related" in religious charism terms, but I think what she wrote transcends that and applies across the board to religious life. 

I have heard experienced formation directors and spiritual directors warn against those who want "black and white" answers, because they see that as rejecting complexity and nuance, both of which are deeply involved in spiritual life, and spiritual growth. "Just give me the right answer" doesn't tend to work when it comes to God; He will accompany us on the journey (and through the struggles), but nothing will be just handed to us if we simply (or not so simply) follow a set of rules.  Spiritual life--whether in or out of vowed community--isn't easy or to be routinized.

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I take that on board and i will take it to my priest for his advice and guidance. He knows me best and I will see what he thinks.

but be aware the way my head, what seams like somthing that would break a person. Will keep me going. 

Katie 

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On 2/24/2016, 5:51:20, Katie Bell said:

Yes that was years ago. I do have mild autism. How ever i have managed to get on top of that. It has been a process where my family and Jesus have helped me grow as a person and overcome limitations that i have lived with most of my life. It will never leave me but learning how to live and cope with it is the best I will ever get. 

I have been interested in religious life and I have been drawn to it since I was 14. But till now I have always felt like the girl who was looking in. That's why I was interested in owning a habit too experience it. How ever this was all part of the problem. And not normal. I understand that. In fact this phorum helped me alot turn a corner there. 

Finaly the use of hair under the supervision of my church, is a step I have worked up too. They are aware of my condition and  have worked with me in pray sessions for a two years. The limited use is somthing that i requested but I left in the hards of the Father. It was looked into and over time has been introduced and used for rosary prayer and the stations of the cross. This however is infrequent and only suggested by my supervisor. 

The reason I am here asking the questions and trying to get perspective is i want to know whats rubish and what is right. 

My mother,  father and my priest all feel now is the time too follow my heart and too open my self up to the word and light of God. And like a cup see if he fills it up. I am attracted to stricter orders but I need to know what is what and if it's for me. I have no interest in wasting any ones time in a order before I was sure this is what I wanted. 

Oh and a major inspiration to me is Saint Maximilian Kolbe. His selflessness and sacrifice is somthing that that we can only aspire too. 

The conversation about habits wasn't years ago, it was nine months ago. I understand that quite a bit can change in nine months and it's good that you're able to reflect on your life and start to think about religious life in a more nuanced and sensitive way. But like Sister Marie I can see red flags here - viewing past problems as further away than they are (that could be seen as minimising them), and a tendency to imagine religious life as this tranquil haven where everything is plain and simple, black and white. It isn't like that. Sometimes I wish it were. I'm in formation with a secular institute, and sometimes when life gets messy and hard and I'm really struggling to live out poverty, chastity, and obedience as a single lay woman, I think wistfully of the convent and imagine how much simpler it must be in there. But I'm friends with a lot of sisters and I can never romanticise their life for very long before their conversation brings me back down to earth with a bump - it's as messy in there as it is out here! :P So if you're looking for a place where you can be "black and white", and surrounded by others who are like you, you won't find it.

As you are inspired by St Maximilian Kolbe, in your place I would contact some Franciscan communities (the closest ones to you - don't go looking for the strictest) just to get some insight into how sisters live. This will give you a more realistic picture of religious life than making lists of orders in France and Italy that match the image you have in your head.

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4 hours ago, Sister Marie said:

I have to be honest with you - this sends off big alarm bells for me.  Thinking in black and white is something that doesn't go well with community living.  It's something that most psychologists would say is more of a harm than a help when dealing with other people.  Just because you are in a community does not mean that you and your sisters will agree on everything.  There will be different political views, different worship preferences (even within a community!), different ideas about God, different experiences of God, different ideas about religious life, different ideas about how community lives, different backgrounds and family experiences - basically you will be astounded by how different the people God chooses to put together can be!  It's a beautiful thing because you have so many opportunities to grow but you won't be able to do that if you see everything in black and white.

This means it is essential to have an open mind, to be able to see gray areas in your own and others perspectives, to understand human weaknesses and emotions.  You will be confronted with these differences in most unexpected ways.  What may seem to you to be a minor point in community living will  be for another a major element - and to live good community you will have to be open to hearing that person's perspective and possibly changing your own.  There are times when I've heard a sister give an opinion and the first thing I think is, "WHAT?  Is she crazy?"  Obviously, I don't say that!  But after, sometimes I can search my own heart and see that I was missing something or that she has a point.  Sometimes, I still don't agree, but I've learned something valuable about how someone else views an issue and responds to it. 

I'm not sure what you mean by extreme honesty but I wouldn't say that is a big part of religious life either.  Loving and compassionate honesty certainly is but extreme honesty seems to be rather harsh and unloving to me.  There are many things I could say in a day that would be extremely honest but I would never say them.  I would choose, if I felt I had to speak, to gently have a conversation with a sister and really listen to her instead.  Good, compassionate, gentle communication is what you should find in a healthy community - not army orders.  

You will still have to think about right and wrong in the convent too - I actually think I do that more now than I ever did before.  There are more and more gray areas when you live closely with others and have to navigate the murky waters of communication and charity with people who are so different.  

I really caution you against putting all your hope in finding extreme honesty, black-and-white thinking, and mindless obedience in the convent.  You won't find those things in this life.  Of course, I wish you the best and hope you find some clarity in your discernment.

SM

^^^ THIS.

@Katie Bell: Do heed this advice!!!

10 hours ago, PhuturePriest said:

Oh really? Very interesting. I love the Carthusians, so if you would care to share your experiences with them in a PM I would love to hear. I've been meaning to message you anyway, since you had asked me to.

I searched every thread with "Monastic Family" or "Carthusian" in the title for a post where I described my Carthusian live-in rather at length. Couldn't find it. I know it's around here somewhere. Does anybody remember which thread that was in?

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I had no problem waking up in the middle of the night to go pray, even though God knows I am the absolute worst person about getting up on time in the morning. Part of me just knew there was somewhere I had to be, so I was up and in chapel on time. I find I have a much easier time getting up in the monastery in general, cuz I know I need to be somewhere.

For those who think that breaking sleep, as is done in the monastery, is somehow "unnatural", you really need to read this article: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16964783

As that article explains, sleeping 8 hours straight through is actually what's unnatural. You can know this because what baby sleeps 8 straight hours? None. Cuz that's not how humans naturally sleep. You have to learn to sleep that way.

You can also unlearn it. :) 

BTW: The Carthusians I discerned with were very lenient about the midnight Matins thing. It was perfectly acceptable for a sister to miss Matins 1–2 times per week, if she really needed sleep. She didn't need to justify or explain this to anybody. It was accepted that she had this right.

That being said, I did not take that opportunity, because I knew that, if you are trying to train your body to sleep in a new way, then the worst thing you can do is interrupt that process by sleeping in the old way!

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Please I am heading any advice that is being put my way on this decision. 

How ever, simply put I am under the care of a priest. Who takes advice on me from a bishop. And other people. 

And also my family is being very supportive.

Also, I have been reminded this morning that I am going to become a postulant not a Nun. And if i dont get along with life I can still see a door out. 

I have a list of the orders suggested here so far and I am taking them with me today. I want to find out more about them. Who they follow, motivations and everything about them. Then make a informed choice on who I wish to go forwards with. 

 

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