What to do...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I must first thank all of you for your prayers as I ventured to Nashville, TN! I would tell you all about retreat but first of all it would take pages and pages, second of all I think you would be bored! The retreat with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia was so wonderful! I have been wanting to visit for so long finally being there brought me such joy! At first I envisioned this whole vocation as something in the future, something I can be working on but something I don't really have to be focusing on now. I mean after all I have my plans for college and and a job! ( I am entering my junior year of college in August ) After spending time on retreat I realized that this is something that I  should be thinking about now! This could be a reality for me! I loved everything about the convent- what occurred to me is that I am putting my plans before God's plans. I have been doing so for a while now but this week really opened my eyes! Yes, I am in the middle of college ( and although it has been done before ) it is not very easy for me to tell my parents I am up and leaving to enter the convent! The sisters are very big on education and if I were to enter I would finish school-with them. ( so it is not that I won't have and education ) My parents are supportive of a vocation but they are supportive in the future... That is where we disagree. I feel very much the call to the religious life and I have a strong desire to do so now... not put it off until it is convenient for me! Over the course of the week I spoke to the novice mistress, the vocations director and Mother! I was told that if all worked out I would be able to write to them to get papers to enter in AUGUST! Yes, two months! My heart just flutters every time I think about it. I would drop everything and go for it, but my parents are not on the same page. The sisters have an active apostolate of teaching. Something I do now and enjoy very much but never really saw my self doing for the rest of my life! I know that I would be called to the religious life first and then God will give me the graces (hopefully) to be successful in the apostolate. I spoke with some of the sisters in the novitiate about what it was like for them when they entered. Some of them didn't have parental support either. In fact some of them were in the same place I am. Halfway through college... one even a nursing student like myself. All of them said the same thing- Trust in the lord but follow your heart, you won't be disappointed... Is anyone else in a similar situation?? Any advice?? My time is running out! 

6 comments:

Kayla Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 7:39:00 PM PDT  

Wow! Praise be God! Look at your wonderful experience!

Honestly, I think you know the decision in your own heart. Take that leap of faith-- step out onto the water, Christ is there, he won't let you sink!

You said it yourself, you will still be getting an education. And, if this is not where God is calling you, you can always go back to school-- pick up right where you left off.

The Lord calls us at different times, sometimes when it is most convenient for us, sometimes not. But it is important to answer when he calls. You have no idea what God may have planned for you based on answering now versus later.

Pray. And then answer in whichever direction you feel the Lord calling you.

Jim Lopez Monday, June 2, 2008 at 2:08:00 AM PDT  

Good day!

I can identify strongly with your problem, and eitherway God presents us with two equally inviting opportunities.

Giving up college for the ministry is so tempting, and taking the plunge may satisfy your heart's current desire.

In the same way, studying and graduating with a degree offers you with more opportunities that will potentially support your ministry in the future. Especially for us in the health profession (I gather that you are a student nurse), we need to study first so that we may be able to be instruments of God's healing and forgiveness.

Personally, it is much better to be able to help other people while really knowing what the right ways of doing it are. We must be able to, say, administer medication properly, dress wounds correctly, and the like--something that you as a student nurse would be more able to do with a nursing degree.

Give it much thought, sister. As a Pauline priest wrote, "Vocation must be given much thought and prudence." Pray for the Holy Spirit that He may give you prudence, knowledge and the strength to follow God's will in your life.

I will pray for you, and, please pray for me, too.

New Song,  Monday, June 2, 2008 at 3:18:00 AM PDT  

Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ who is calling you to Himself! Your time with the Nashville Dominicans was most fruitful and affirming, thanks be to God! Only He knows how quickly He wants you to move on the inspirations He's giving you. "Festina lente" would be the only advice I might offer -- "make haste slowly." Much is gained through patience, in taking things slowly so as to ponder them fully in prayer and meditation. We must always remember to ask Our Lady to help us do this, as she herself did in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we, like her, may give birth to the Eternal Word in our hearts and our lives. Do you have a good spiritual director, someone who knows you very well and in whom you can confide, who can help you discern God's will for you in the present moment? It's so crucial to seek the wise counsel of a good spiritual director in matters like this. If you decide to finish your education before entering, this time can be one of very real preparation for you can begin even now to follow the way of life that the Nashville Dominicans live. You are very much in my prayers. May our dear Lord give you His peace and His strength in abundance! Magnificat anima mea Dominum!

Nun2Be Monday, June 2, 2008 at 8:02:00 AM PDT  

Hey Roberta!

It was so wonderful being able to meet you on our retreat!...You got to speak with Mother, how exciting!...I was only able to speak with Sr. Mary Emily and Sr. Mary Angela...they advised me to wait a year [but, I will be entering my Sophomore year, and I have only been discerning for just over a year]...I have to be honest and say that my hopes were a little crushed for I, like you, would drop everything in a heartbeat to give up everything for Him, who is everything, to enter in August...but, I came to realize something else in the process...as I was speaking to a Dominican brother, who is a friend of mine, about me possibly entering next year [of course, a year in my eyes is like an eternity!], he noted how short an amount of time that was and how it was especially important for me during this period to purify my heart for Christ...if God is calling you now, then now is when you follow...for me I know that God is calling, but I also know that he plans on spending another year purifying my heart so that I may be able to give it entirely to His Son...I will storm the heavens with my prayers for you; that you may find clairity in you descision!...remember what St. Thomas Auinas said when the Lord asked him what he most desired, "Non nisi te, Domine"...Nothing but you, Lord...

May God bless you and guide you!

In Christ,
Kate

Sr. Kari,  Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 2:16:00 PM PDT  

Dear Roberta,

I'm so glad to hear that your retreat w/the Nashville OP's went well!

I must confess that I see a little bit of myself in you. I 1st felt the call to become a nun when I was 16. My parents were definitely NOT in favor of it! I started nursing school w/the intention of getting away from my folks & finding the right Rel cmty so that I could drop out & enter after the 1st yr. I remember feeling this HUGE sense of urgency--as if I had to become a nun NOW because if I waited & died or something, God wouldn't be happy. I wanted more than anything to give my whole self to God.

What I didn't realize at the time, though, is that I already belonged to Christ. I like to believe that the goal of every Christian is (or at least should be)to seek a deep union w/Christ. The question we Catholics get to discern is whether that union is sought best through marriage, the single life, within the context of a Rel cmty, or as a hermit. (That's 1 of the great things about being Cath--we have lots of choices!) ;-)

It sounds like you may have already discerned that the context through which you can be best united w/Christ is by becoming a nun. That's a wonderful thing to know about yourself!

It seems to me that the next step would be to discern what gifts you have & how you can best serve God w/those gifts. What drew you to want to study to be a nurse? How do you see yourself best serving others? (through teaching? through contemplative prayer? through caring for the sick & infirm? through tending to the poor?) Once you know that about yourself, it'll be much easier to discern which particular cmty will help you to be your fullest Self--the person who God calls you to be & the person that you'll be more freely able to give back to Christ.

In the meantime (since you asked!), I would suggest that you continue to pray every day, go to Mass as often as possible, do spiritual reading, & take the time to reflect upon yourself, your relationship with God, & how best you can serve God & God's people in our very broken world. Spiritual direction is good, too.

I think it's important to remember that if the call is from God, it won't go away. It'll keep coming back over & over again, so it's OK to wait a couple yrs while you finish school & continue your discernment.

To end...I'm grateful that I did finish school before becoming a Sister. For me, making myself wait until after I finished school was a greater act of self-restraint & self-discipline than entering would've been. I believe that the waiting beforehand has made me much more grounded & rooted in my vocation.

Please know that I'm praying for you & for all of those who contribute to this blog as you discern your vocations.

Sr.Kari

Anonymous,  Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 10:30:00 AM PDT  

Dear Roberta,
thanks for sharing your experience with us. I am glad that you enjoyed your stay so much. Regarding the time question: from my own experience I know that if it is a real call from God that you are experiencing , it will remain and come back again and again, even when you continue your studies first. I also had to wait for three years before entering because of studies but also because of my parents. Today I won't miss these three years--they have been tremendously helpful for me in order to grow deeper into my vocation, and getting to know God in a very special way. Thus I underline what Sr. KAri wrote. God is with you in a very special way in these years of discernment--this makes them so important. Thus rushing the initial discernment period does not always help. It's one of the most crucial times of your life and the waiting and sometimes "hanging in there" is so important. HE is there with you. It's a time where He allows your desire to grow more and more and HE will nourish it. This desire for HIM will be the foundation for your whole religious life---thus don't let it be small---allow HIM to build big!
I would highly recommend that you look for a good spiritual director . Spiritual direction is crucial at this stage.
My prayers are with you,
Sr.Andrea

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