Code #137 VocationNetwork.org Community Search
People say that it can be a
mistake to enter a religious
community soon after a loss.
SISTER ADRIENNE: Loss equals emptiness, a void crying out to be filled.
A major decision should wait untilthe grieving period has significantlydiminished and emotional rawnesshas subsided. Discernment requiresclarity. The adjustments and strainedemotions that follow loss inhibit thefreedom of spirit needed to discernclearly and peacefully. Furthermore,the call to religious life is a hugetransition: change of job, home,friends, church community, lifestyle,and culture. One needs to be socially,emotionally, and psychologicallystrong to negotiate them well.
BROTHER RONNIE: Any type of commitment in the church—marriage,
religious vows, ordination, sacraments of initiation—must be a freeand deliberate choice. The emotionaland psychological strain of loss inone’s life can be so significant thatthe person experiencing it is actuallyless free to make a vocational choicesoon afterward. Time is needed to betruly able to discern and not simplyto rush to fill the void.
If I have children, am I still able
to enter religious life?
BROTHER RONNIE: According to canon
law, children of candidates need to
be at least 18 years old and financial-
ly independent before their parent
can enter religious life. However,
most communities would consider
more than the chronological age
of the children. Are the children
mentally, physically, psychologically,
and emotionally capable of caring
for themselves? Even if an annul-
ment has been granted and the
children are living with the other
parent, what, if any, type of support
is needed from the parent desiring to
enter religious life? The emotional
connection between the parent and
children, we hope and pray, is strong,
and one we hope will not be severed
regardless of a vocation decision. It is
important, however, that the rela-
tionship be at a healthy, adult-adult
level. Basically, is the person entering
truly free and available to fully enter
this type of lifestyle without conflict-
SISTER ADRIENNE: When a parent orgrandparent enters community, thepersonal cost is high. Less frequentcontact with families is inevitable.Juggling two life commitments:religious life and parenting/grand-parenting is demanding. The dis-