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Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.

Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
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Mar 14th 2013 new

(Quote) Lisa-54615 said: A desire for a particular state in life is one of the big clues to your vocation. If you d...
(Quote) Lisa-54615 said:

A desire for a particular state in life is one of the big clues to your vocation. If you desire being married and everything that entails (life-long commitment, raising children, etc.), that's one sign that you are called to marriage. I think also that your vocation would feel "natural" to you. I would say that if the thought of being a nun makes you want to cry, that's a sign that most likely you are not called to that vocation. It's one thing to be apprehensive but quite another to feel an aversion to a vocation.

You can google discerning a vocation to religious life - there are lots of good websites that will tell you how other people knew and what to look for.

I also read a pretty good book on the subject a while back - The Exclamation: The Wise Choice of a Spouse for Catholic Marriage by Patricia Wrona. It has a section where it talks about discerning your vocation in general (although this is not the focus of the book).

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Thanks for the reply, Lisa. I'm confused though, because


1. I thought we are supposed to discern as Catholics (so not wanting a particular vocation is not necessarily a sign, if you will) and


2. People on this site keep telling me to talk to a priest.


The nunnery mostly makes me cry because I know what I'd be giving up-a husband and children. However, I'd be kicking myself if that were my reason not to join the nunnery, and then I remain single for the rest of my life. Then I'd wonder if I missed my calling. Also, I don't want to wear black and the habit all the time. I think it is a beautiful vocation, but I don't like the idea of ME being a nun. I feel almost no desire for ME to be one. However, I must discern. I know God wants us to get where HE wants us to go more than we want to get where WE want to go, I just hope God and I have the same idea. wink Is that terrible?

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Mar 14th 2013 new
Well, for me it definitly took a few years of pounding my head against a wall... my earliest memories are of me wanting to be married and having children of my own but I ignored those desires of my heart when I was in college. I took some time and spent a few years discerning religious life and after three years of me running away, God finally pounded it through my head that he had something else in mind for me.
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Mar 14th 2013 new

(Quote) Jessica-897416 said: When and how did you come to realize that you were called to the Sacrament of Matrimony?
(Quote) Jessica-897416 said:

When and how did you come to realize that you were called to the Sacrament of Matrimony?

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Hi Jessica,
I am a widow who was happily married for 21 years before my beloved husband died of cancer. But prior to marrying him, I thought I had the vocation to be a religious nun, in fact on two occassions I went to the convent.


I grew up with a deep faith, reading the lives of many saints. I wanted and still strive to be pleasing in my God's sight and I wanted and still strive to be a saint (not that I am one). And I wanted to bring others to the Lord and to serve in his kingdom, so I felt I had a calling. At the age of 17 I started to frequently go to a convent and spent a few days with them discerning God's will for me. However my parents although strong Catholics, did not want me to decide at that age. They felt I should continue with my studies first and decide when I had seen more of the world. So in obedience to them with the advice of the Mother Superior I decided to continue my studies. After completing my Masters, I started to work, but had still not lost sight of my "religious calling". I was then 28 and I had met another committed Christain man (who was also focused on serving God). However I could not come to a decision. In my personal prayer I felt called to be a religious and so decided to join a convent as an aspirant. I used to spend many days there observing the convent routine, whilst also going to work. And I had a spiritual director to whom I used to go for prayer and guidance. I had also asked the man to go ahead and seek a girl to marry as I did not want to be "on the fence', and wanted to trust fully in my God.

In a few months time, I started to feel very uneasy regarding a religious vocation. I continued praying. I met a Catholic priest who was visiting a hospital where I was working. (At this stage I was an educator working with young adults). He was with a couple of my Catholic friends who were aware that I was an aspirant at the convent but they were not aware that I was not at peace regarding this decision. This Catholic priest came up to me and asked to speak to me privately. He then told me that God would use me more as an educator with the youth than as a religious nun. He went on to tell me that God had a plan for me. A few days later I had another person come up and tell me the same. That along with my uneasiness and loss of peace lead me to believe that God had other plans for me. I went for an Ignatian retreat and here too I discerned that the religious life was not for me. But at this stage I found that the Catholic man had decided to marry another Christain girl. But I trusted in my God that he would reveal his plans for me.

I remember my mother being very upset with me at leaving the convent because by this time I was 29 years and in my country of origin (India) girls are usually married by this age. She was worried that there would be no one to marry me at my age.

But God had plans for me. I went to see my spiritual director and when I was talking to him, in walks a man who I had known a few years ago - another committed Catholic. And the thought came to me, "One door closes, another opens - this is the man for you"
A few weeks later we met at a wedding and this man came to me and we danced the entire night. A few weeks later, he proposed to me and he was my husband and my soul mate for 21 years. When my beloved husband was diagnosed with cancer, God used us to bring many to him. We were able to witness and I still witness to our God's love in adversity.

So pray and discern. Seek and you will find. I feel that when we decide within the will of God there will be peace. I have no doubt God was preparing me and that he used me and that he is still using me. And that marriage was my vocation.

God Bless


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Mar 14th 2013 new

(Quote) Julie-865791 said: Dear Marita, The quote that was often spoken to me in the middle of this discernment proce...
(Quote) Julie-865791 said:

Dear Marita,

The quote that was often spoken to me in the middle of this discernment process of consecrated life versus married life is that 'our God is a God of joy'. There is a great sense of peace in moving toward the direction that God is calling you, and if He is calling you to be consecrated to Him, then that will be the joy of your heart.

The reason that some might be directing you toward the convent is that they see your desire for God and think (somewhat erroneously!) that those who are called to consecration somehow manifest it by a disciplined and devotional faith life. I think it might be a compliment in disguise, as it bespeaks that you have your 'spiritual house' in order for marriage.

Finally, while it seems that we can (and do) refuse God's will, I think that if you're really seeking Him, He will not let you go astray. He's good like that. :)

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Yes Marita, "our God is a God of joy and when we are moving in the direction God calls us, there will be joy in our hearts." I can testify to that feeling. We need to pray, be open and discern. And when we seek, God will reveal to us his will for us.



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Mar 14th 2013 new

I guess here is my situation. I have been tossing the desire for religious life and married life back and forth. My mother would like me to be married but at this I am not so sure, I have this feeling for something more. I grew up in a lukewarm cafeteria catholic home so I did not know about the religious life until high school (about the time my faith started to grow). On two separate occasions I had two people, one a seminarian or a priest and the other a religious sister tell me I should think about the religious life. I did, I sent for information from different orders but none of them appealed to since a good 99% of them were without the habit and just did not seem right to me. During my junior year in college (back in 2006) I met a guy online from Alaska and he came down to visit during the summer. My mom had gotten tickets to the Titanic exhibit. By this time we had been communicating back and forth for at least seven months. He already came down to visit me in the spring and by his second visit we decided to start courting. Getting back to the Titanic exhibit; we get there and are giving a piece of paper that is like a passport of sorts of a person who was aboard the ship at the time. I read about the person I got and I was astounded and wondered is this a sign from God because I had some worries about whether I was actually ready to court this guy and whether I was ready for things to get serious. So, the person I got was Nora Hedgarty she was traveling with her aunt to America to join an order of nuns. Now, after reading that out loud to the people in my group, the thought of religious re-entered my mind and the realization that I am not ready for being in a relationship. I did end it a month or two later, the guy was heartbroken but as far as I know, he is happily married and has a least one child.

So here I am today, I have this deep desire to give everything to God, not really scared just more of unsure of the correct path. I see great things in each vocation, yet uncertainty has plagued me for a long time. I have contacted several religious orders over the years but almost all of them are unwilling to accept me because of depression I suffered in the past and because of the mystery to my genetic disorder as to whether it will progress and become serious in the future or whether it will stay dorment and not cause any problems. I have had Neurofibromatosis (NF) www.mayoclinic.com since birth and it has caused problems in the past but nothing real serious as of now or nothing that I am aware of. With NF complications can arise during pregnancy which is why I am so uncertain about marriage. I really don't think religious life is for me because I have not found an order to take interest in me yet I have this desire to remain a virgin and to serve Christ and the Church but I have this desire for companionship. I also figure that if I am not having much luck on here, maybe I am not called to marriage. I just know the single life scares me plus if I am called to single life, I have yet to find a job where I can support myself. I try to pray daily for direction but since I still live at home it becomes hard sometimes to pray and concentrate on my prayers when I am worried about whether or not my family will ever come back to the faith and because there is no atmosphere of prayer at home. I really wish there was, I really do. sad

Sorry everyone that you had to read all that, I just needed to talk about it.

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Mar 14th 2013 new

Lisa, if a Catholic doesn't want children, I would encourage them to educate themselves in the blessing that children are, and what the duties of marriage are. Their conscience on the issues has not been fully formed it would seem to me.

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Mar 14th 2013 new

Lisa's reference to my book reminded me of a concept of vocational discernment that I didn't include there, but share here.

Both vocations (the consecrated celibate life and marriage) are about love, and the total giving of yourself for life in love to someone (or many someones, i.e., the Church, and Christ Himself). The thing that distinguishes marital love is the physical self giving of your body to another person. (Indeed, the religious pours themselves out physcially for their "beloved" but in a different physical way (prayer, physical suffering and mortification, sacred work)). But whatever your vocation, your sexuality (which is inscribed in our flesh as men and women) is a part of your gift of love.

What makes the expression of marital love different than ever other love relationship? The sexual act.

So here is the question (with core credit to Father Benedict Groschel, from his wonderful book, the Courage to be Chaste):

Does your sexuality (which is part of your gift of love) require a genital expression of that love? If so, you are called to marriage.

If not, that is one indication that you may be called to the consecrated celibate life.

No vocation sends you into tears of dread and fear. Vocation should bring you a sense of peace and joy and expectation. If the religious life evokes all that bad stuff, I would say your vocation is marriage, and encourage you to to start seeking it HEROICALLY (with courage, focus, determination, letting nothing stop you).

hug

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Mar 14th 2013 new

Jessica, God bless your heart for sharing your journey here with us!

Stuff like what happened at the Titianic exhibit show that "signs" are never a good core of discernment, they might be used to buttress other discernment, but don't base everything on such a happenstance.

Having a health problem does not mean you are not called to marriage. That some health problem might be a problem in childbearing is no reason to think you are not called to marriage.

Neither the convent nor a husband are going to rescue us. We have to be able to live in our state of life that we are in right now, and serve God right here and right now.

God bless you as you seek your vocation!

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Mar 15th 2013 new

(Quote) Marita-847688 said: Thanks for the reply, Lisa. I'm confused though, because 1. I thought we are supposed...
(Quote) Marita-847688 said:

Thanks for the reply, Lisa. I'm confused though, because

1. I thought we are supposed to discern as Catholics (so not wanting a particular vocation is not necessarily a sign, if you will) and

2. People on this site keep telling me to talk to a priest.

The nunnery mostly makes me cry because I know what I'd be giving up-a husband and children. However, I'd be kicking myself if that were my reason not to join the nunnery, and then I remain single for the rest of my life. Then I'd wonder if I missed my calling. Also, I don't want to wear black and the habit all the time. I think it is a beautiful vocation, but I don't like the idea of ME being a nun. I feel almost no desire for ME to be one. However, I must discern. I know God wants us to get where HE wants us to go more than we want to get where WE want to go, I just hope God and I have the same idea. Is that terrible?

--hide--

Well, talking to a priest is always a good idea (just make sure he is an orthodox priest whose advice you can trust). Another idea: have you ever visited a convent? I know some convents host "open houses" of sorts - a weekend retreat or something similar for young women up to a certain age to give them the opportunity to talk about and experience what religious life would be like. This may be a good thing for you - you'll have an opportunity to talk to others in discernment and to the nuns about their discernment process. But mostly, it may give you some clarity about your vocation - one way or the other.

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Mar 15th 2013 new

(Quote) Pat-5351 said: Lisa, if a Catholic doesn't want children, I would encourage them to educate themselves in the bl...
(Quote) Pat-5351 said:

Lisa, if a Catholic doesn't want children, I would encourage them to educate themselves in the blessing that children are, and what the duties of marriage are. Their conscience on the issues has not been fully formed it would seem to me.

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I'm curious, how would someone who doesn't have children go about educating themselves in the blessing that children are? scratchchin

I myself have a child (don't want any more), but I know people who do not and don't want any, ever. Are you saying that all people will naturally desire to have children, as long as their conscience is properly formed?

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