My March blog was about five common concerns or myths in pursuing religious life. Today’s blog is going to address five other common concerns.
- Personal doubt: I am not sure if I can be a sister for the rest of my life. I don’t feel I am worthy to be a sister.
We are all sinners, and yet, worthy and precious in the eye of God. Nobody knows what the future holds, which is true for all life styles: married, single, and religious. If we trust God’s provident care, we will enter the future with an open mind and heart and trust without fear. God will lead us into the future and provide more than what we need.
- Reality of religious community: Religious life is lonely because I cannot have a life partner. Also, most sisters are older than me. I want to hang around and live with people of my own age, not my grandmother’s age.
We do not focus our love and partnership on a certain person like those who are married. Our love and partnership are spread out to various people within and outside religious communities, making religious life a real blessing and a fulfilled life. I, myself, very seldom feel a sense of emptiness or loneliness since I entered the religious life.
Yes, most of the U.S. religious communities have many elderly sisters, and yet, they are vibrant and joyful with young hearts and contemplative spirits. They are pioneers who have built a strong foundation. There are other women discerning with our community who are candidates, novices, and temporary professed members. We invite you to join us to share the gifts of life and to carry on the mission and the torch of faith now and into the future. We also encourage you to have friends of your own age as well as other ages so you can learn life experiences from different cohort groups.
- Culture: I am from a different culture. I may feel lonesome and will miss my ethnic food.
We heartedly welcome you. Your cultural sharing with us will enrich our lives, help us to value more the diversity of life and enhance our sensitivity on discrimination and racism issues. You can help us learn what it means to be Christian from your cultural perspective.
We encourage each other to live out and share cultures, including foods and cultural celebrations. We have sisters from Peru, Vietnam, China, Ireland, Germany, and more. We have Native American, African American, Nigerian American sisters. Some of them are the first person from their ethnic group who have entered our congregation.
- Student loan: I didn’t know if I could join a religious community if I have educational debt.
Depending on each situation, this issue can be resolvable. We encourage those who are discerning a call to religious life to try to pay off their student loan as much as they can before they enter their novitiate year. Don’t let your student loan block you from pursuing your call to be a sister. To know more about this, contact us so we can discuss your situation with you.
- Wearing the habit: What is the point of being a sister if I just wear secular clothes like lay people?
There are communities wearing the habit and there are communities who don’t. You have both options to consider. Different communities fit different people.
When discerning my religious call, I looked for communities wearing the habit. Later on, when I encountered sisters without the habit, I questioned myself: “What is my religious life truly based on, the habit or the call from God? Does this community make me feel at home and help me to be the best person I can be in order to live my call radically/authentically?” In my community of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, some sisters are still in the habit and we respect this decision.
Be courageous in responding to God’s call and allow God to fulfill your life. Don’t hesitate to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any concerns. Consider joining us for our “Come and See” weekend coming up September 7-9 in Kentucky for those who want to explore more about this life.