So, I’m finally making the plunge and linking up with Jen and Morgan for the Not Alone Series for the first time. I’ve read some of the posts before and admired it from afar. But I’ve never really felt it was the link-up for me. But thing’s have changed lately. I think this post will help explain why.
My first time joining this link-up and this is the topic I get:
While most of us feel called to marriage, it is important to see the beauty in all vocations! If/when you were discerning religious life, which communities interest(ed) you? What do you see as the positives of that vocation?
This is actually a perfect topic. Because discerning religious life? Yeah, been there, done that. Kind of.
When I was in high school I was coming into my faith. I was realizing the beauty of it and starting my personal journey with God. I was enamored with the whole thing, with the joy and the community I had found. I was also a helpless romantic. As a sophomore in high school I remember saying to a priest that I was pretty sure I was called to be a sister. I wanted what they had and perhaps, in a way, I saw it as the logical next step on my journey.
Then came senior year. A year of decisions. I was still contemplating religious life and that fall I went on a discernment retreat. In adoration I believed I received a sign. I thought that I should look at religious orders dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Later, I recalled that I had already visited one such order. After that, I was pretty convinced that the sign had been true and this was God’s way of saying that this order was where I was supposed to be.
So a month later I visited them. I hated it. I didn’t feel welcomed I didn’t feel at home, I didn’t feel peace. I was confused and upset. But…this was where God wanted me. Or so I thought. And that was the most upsetting part.
I wrestled with it for months. Eventually, I decided I would do it. I would join the convent. Needless to say I hadn’t discerned properly. I’m not saying you can’t have reservations about your vocation or that you have to love every aspect of it. But from my understanding God’s will should bring you peace not the twist of emotions and dread that I felt.
Thankfully, God was at work. I told my mom that I would be joining the convent. The next day she put down a housing deposit at Benedictine College. She said she wanted to give me time to think about it. Well, it didn’t take long for God to tug at my heart. I came for early orientation at BC and loved it. I wanted this. And it’s where I’m meant to be.
So here I am, finishing up my sophomore year of college. I’ve done a lot of thinking and discerning this year about my vocation. I don’t know that I have it all figured out. I don’t think I’ll wind up in religious life but if I do, that will be okay with me. I’ll get to have prayer and daily Mass scheduled into my day for me. My life will be simpler and spent in service to others. And if I get married that will be okay too. Ditto with single life. Every vocation has its challenges and its joys. I’m still trying to figure out which joys will be mine. In the mean time I’m continuing to discern and I’m waiting. Waiting on God. And potentially waiting on my future husband. 😉
The positives of religious life, I think are things which initially attracted me to it and which I still see as beautiful and appealing: living in a community of Catholic women, trying together to be holy, and giving yourself completely to God in a special way. Religious life is beautiful and I think it’s important to acknowledge that no matter what your vocation is. I will never be a priest but I still acknowledge the beauty of that vocation.
If God does call me to the life of a sister I’m fairly confident it will be to an order with some sort of apostolate such as teaching or possibly nursing. The School Sisters of Christ the King come to mind, as do the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George and the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. I’ve had some type of contact with all 3 orders, the first two especially. They seem to be beautiful orders of happy young sisters living their callings (and having fun while they do so!). Honestly it wouldn’t be so bad.
But I’m still on a journey. And I’m glad to be sharing this journey with my friends and with all of you and to be finally joining the NAS link-up.