just don't say it: religious Vocations.

Without fully realizing it, God planned this week’s blogging theme to be all about discernment and vocations. Monday’s post on the joyful mysteries and dating, yesterday’s post on the Not Alone series about discernment all lead up to me putting this post here! One of my very best friends has discerned a calling to the religious life and she asked me if she could write up a guest post for this series! She wonderfully tackles all the things you should avoid saying to anyone who has or is discerning a religious life! {Can I also just say that I’m so proud of Katie?! Keep her in your prayers!}

just dont say it religious vocationsIn the last few months I have slowly started telling friends and family that I have a religious vocation and, God willing, will be entering the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist next fall. The response I have gotten has crossed the span of outwardly ecstatic to downright baffled. Just like many other things (as seen in the previous postings of this amazing series) there are just some things you shouldn’t say, no matter how well meaning it is.

  • You’ll never have sex/never have sex again.
    • REALLY?! I didn’t realize sex was the end all be all. (I won’t even go into how pre-marital sex is single-handedly destroying our generation.) As a 27 year old virgin I, quite frankly, won’t know what I am missing so I do not see it being an issue. Although, there are those who have had sex and will “never have sex again” because they feel called to religious life. What an amazing thing! I’m pretty sure if they feel called to religious life they have already know this and don’t need you to state the obvious.
  • But you’ve always wanted to me a mom/you’ll never get married and have a family of your own.
    • Actually, I am getting married…to Jesus Christ. I won’t have kids of my own-not in the physical sense anyways. There are two types of motherhood: physical and spiritual. Now, instead of just loving however many God may have given me, I can love thousands of children as if they are my own for the rest of my life. How COOL is that?!
  • You just need to find a good man.
    • I find this one to be highly insulting for two reasons. First reason: you’re insinuating that I am running away to religious life because I can’t find a man. Two: You’re insinuating that I am running away to religious life because I can’t find a man. Uh, HELLOOOOO. What better man is there than Jesus Christ-the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD? Seriously. Besides, it’s not like they just let anyone in. There is an in-depth application process that includes a psychological evaluation. I think they can figure out if you’re serious about religious life or not.
  • Just give it another year or two; you don’t want to rush into anything.
    • Why? Because I might find a “good man” during those couple years? I call bull-doo-doo. Those of us who didn’t realize we were called to religious life (or did, like me, but ran from it for years) until we were in our late twenties or older don’t need more time. We’ve had plenty of time. We are ready to marry our beloved. Besides it takes 8 years to become a full-fledged sister, at least it takes that long for the Sisters of Mary. I think that is PLENTY of time to “not rush into anything”, don’t you?
  • I don’t think I could give up everything like that.
    • You’re not. I am.
  • But you won’t get to keep any money you make.
    • Again, thank you Captain Obvious. That would fall under the vow of poverty. What money we do earn goes to the community. How different is that from being married? You earn money and it gets pooled together to provide for the family. Sisters don’t need much and since we take a vow of poverty what could we possibly do with the money anyways? Save it, I guess, but then it sits there when it can be used for repairs or food or anything else the community might need.
  • That is kind of radical isn’t it?
    • Maybe to you it is. You know what I find radical? What men and women go through just to join the military. How is giving my life to GOD more radical than that? Sure, it might seem like I’m giving up everything but I sure won’t be putting my life on the line everyday like those in the military do. Perspective, people, perspective.
  • But you have so much potential!
    • And? That doesn’t go away when you enter a religious community. In fact if you look up the Sisters of Mary you will see that a few of their sisters are going to be earning their PhDs. I’d say they are living up to their potential. There are sisters who teach, who are lawyers, and who are doctors. Just because they gave their life to Christ doesn’t mean they stopped living up to their potential or stopped living in general. In fact, more opportunities are going to open up for me because I’m entering a religious community.

sistersofmaryThere you have it. All I can say is think before you speak. The decision to enter into religious life isn’t an easy one. We do have to come to terms with the fact that we won’t get married or have kids of our own and that we are giving up a lot to do it. Instead of being incredulous, try congratulating us on finding our vocation and offering to pray for us. We are going to need it! We’ll pray for you too!

Katie Ploch croppedKatie Ploch is the second oldest of seven children, in a crazy and loud Italian family. She grew up in the country where she developed a love for the great outdoors, which comes second after her love of Christ and the Catholic faith. She received degrees in Theology and Catechetics from Franciscan University, where she is currently in the process of earning her Masters of Theology and Christian Ministry, through their Distance Learning Program. She spent three wonderful years in Colorado and is hopelessly lost without the mountains to show her which way west is. Currently she is the Director of Child and Youth Ministry at a couple of small parishes in Southeastern Wisconsin, but in August 2014, God willing, she will be entering the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist as a postulant.

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