“Why do you enter religious life? Why don’t you want to get married?”
Many young women have encountered these questions from their loved ones or friends when they mention feeling called to religious life as a Sister. More than 50 years ago, the trend for young women to enter religious life seemed more acceptable and was supported by parents, family, and friends. Parents were willing to be involved in promoting and nourishing their children to live the religious life. Young people felt comfortable then sharing their dreams to be a Sister. Sometimes, they even invited their friends or siblings to consider religious life too.
Many religious sisters have blood sisters, cousins, and friends who joined the same community with them. Even now, our congregation still has some examples like this. One example is our dear Sister Marie Antoinette Klein, OP, who died last week. She was the daughter of Anthony and Mary Hoffman Klein, who had three children, and all of them were girls. Anthony and Mary supported all three girls in their call to religious life and all three became Dominican Sisters.
Both parents were involved in supporting their daughters’ religious communities. As a carpenter, Anthony made many tables for our sisters to use while Mary continued to volunteer as an organist at church. When her parents got older, especially when their mom died and the father had a stroke, Sister Marie’s middle sister was allowed to take care of him. What a wonderful, inspiring story to hear and to share with young women.
These days, the call to live in religious life seems neglected and families and friends are less supportive of a woman’s desire to follow this call. Today, when a woman shares her dream of becoming a sister, her parents and friends often oppose her decision. Knowing this likely opposition, a discerner may wait to share this call with parents and friends until she begins to fill out the application or is accepted. Sometimes, because of the lack of support, these young women are scared to think about their call or do not know where to begin pursuing this call. A young woman may have never thought about becoming a religious sister until someone suggests that they consider religious life.
The good news is that God still calls women to religious life. They are happy to discern, join, and live authentically with this call. In fact, they are walking this journey together with others who, too, are praying about God’s call. They enthusiastically share their talents, gifts, and vision with our mission. To address the needs of our discerners, we created a discernment program where these discerners can come to discern and get support from sisters and their cohort group. Many discerners around the country benefit from this program.
Many young women are waiting to be encouraged to consider life as a religious sister. They may be your friends, daughters, nieces, and granddaughters—who may need a simple nudge or acknowledgment from you. They may be a woman in your parish, a co-worker’s daughter, a youth minister, a church volunteer, a co-worker, a student—the possibilities are everywhere. They need your words of encouragement, support, and affirmation to think about and reflect on this call.
All of us (associates, friends, family, and discerners) can reach out to these young women and ask them “Have you ever thought of being a Sister?” You just might open the door for a young woman to explore what God is calling her to be.
Here are some ways you can promote vocations to religious life:
- Start by introducing women to our Vocation’s team or introducing us to them.
- Give women the link to our Becoming a sister website to find information and resources to help them discover and discern their vocation.
- Provide women with our contact information or provide us with their contact information.
- Print out the flyer of a “Come and See” event and post it on your parish or school website. You even can send it by attachment to someone you know by email.
- Post the link of our blogs and our vocation events often on your Facebook page.
- Join us in praying for vocations with this vocation prayer.
If you are a woman who wants to discern your call, contact us. We are happy to journey with you. We are going to have a hybrid Come and See event this September 10-12. Click here for information and to register.