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I just became eligible to post here.... so congratulations to me. And, I posted this elsewhere while in phatmass limbo, so it was suggested that I post this here.....

It seems that I have struggled with a desire to feel loved, my unattractive physical appearance AND my vocation for as long as I can remember. I was not raised Catholic, but was attracted to religious life. For a young girl, it is a very romantic idea. Then, I converted, but didn't have the courage to explore the consecrated life. I didn't feel good enough. I married, just to be married and to show the world that maybe I am not as ugly as one would believe. That was a mistake and the marriage was annulled. I have children, but explored and entered a group of consecrated seculars. I even made first vows.

While in formation, one of the sisters told me that back in her day, many women joined religious life because they were thought too ugly to get a husband. That rang in my conscious loud, clear and it still lingers. Is that what I am doing in my desire to become a religious? Am I making the same mistake I did with my marriage or simply using it as a cover for the reason I do not have relationships?

When I am in prayer and when I spend time with Our Lord and His Holy Mother, I do feel safe and at times, that this IS God's will for me. But the question posed above still gnaws away at my soul. How can you tell if your doing the right thing? Is it Satan lying to me when I have doubts?

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I think you bring up a very important question here. Yes, I have heard of some who entered religious life to avoid being married--St. Teresa of Avila for one! ;) But I support your search. It cannot be easy to grapple with doubts and uncertainty as if what we are doing is for our sake and not what God wants of us. Just by asking this question, you are headed down the right path.

We all make mistakes in our lifetime. Don't beat yourself up with the past. That's why it's past. Learn from your mistakes as much as you can and then move forward. Since you know that you had ulterior motives to getting married (i.e. wanting to prove yourself), you are much more tuned in to what you are discerning now.

The most important part to any discernment, whether it be to religious life, married life, etc., is to find a good, solid spiritual director that you feel comfortable with and can confide in. You can't do this on your own, and you shouldn't have to. Read the Gospels, attend Mass as often as you can, and utilize the Sacraments (especially Confession, which is so good for the soul). These doubts of whether or not you are good enough for religious life or marriage is most likely from being human. They could be inspired by the devil, or just God's way of testing you.

Keep praying about your discernment and know that not everything must be decided tomorrow. You have time, so take baby steps. God will lead you where He wants you. Know that you are loved. You have my support. God bless and be with you. :saint:

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I think InHisLove answered this a lot better than I can.

1. The question you're asking yourself is important.
2. We faceless internet people who only know ten sentences about your situation are not the ones to answer it. (And the solution almost never is to type 1000 sentences! :D)
3. I'll mention something else... hopefully if you're involved with a secular institute or third order type thing, they've already helped you get a director. If you don't have one, look for one persistently, but No Director is better than a Bad Director. A religious sister told me that and I've seen what bad directors (even those with good intentions, who simply aren't old and experienced) can do to one.

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Dear Friend:

The good news is God's grace is at work even by giving you the courage and honesty to face your demons. But remember, firstly God does not see with human eyes. He looks at the beauty within. Not to love yourself in a healthy way is rejecting the beauty of God's creation. YOU! If He did not love you and cherish you he would not sustain your life or any of ours for that matter. The fact that he created and sustains each of us is a proof of his love. If God can love us so completely, who are we not to love ourselves?

On the other hand at face value there seems to be something traumatic in your life an event or person that has altered your image of yourself. Yes a good confessor is important but sometimes professional help can assist to over come your altered self image and help you to love and accept yourself as you are. Most importantly pray and trust in God's love. He will be with you each step of the way and heal your heart and soul.

Continue faithfully in your desire to love Him for you are precious to Him! But i know for all that i have said this process takes time. Time is not a four letter word, it is your friend. A Dominican sister once said to me that the longest thirteen inches is from your head to your heart! Understanding that you are beautiful is not enough It is accepting it that is the hard part. It takes time to interiorize anything. Be gentle with yourself and allow God to love you into wholeness, for only He can accomplish it in you, but only with your consent.

God Bless you my beautiful friend,


Indwelling Trinity :topsy:

Edited by Indwelling Trinity
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I agree with Indwelling Trinity. I was actually thinking, this past evening, how, in my battle with depression, my acceptance and understanding was superficial. It was in my head, but it didn't go into my heart. Everyone was telling me how to do things and get better, but it was a choice I had to make personally--to seek help. God is there, holding out His hand for you. He knows how to be patient, so don't worry that you are waiting too long. I think one of my most favorite quotes is:

"God doesn't love you for your successes and failures. He loves your effort."


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