Blog | Religious Life
On the day I received the religious habit, I was 19 years old and only a little more than 10 months in the Community.
When a young woman is considering the possibility of entering Religious Life, one of the greatest fears that her parents confront is that their daughter will lose her most unique and beautiful and precious traits. They may wonder, “Will the Nuns brainwash my daughter? Will they make her a robot or clone? What means of coercion do they use? Dangling from the toes? Bread and water for weeks? Solitary confinement? What really happens behind those walls!!!”
The urging in your heart won’t be silenced. You know that you must tell them. How does someone tell her parents that she feels God is calling her to enter Religious Life?
One of the most beautiful gifts in the Catholic Church is the vocation to Religious Life. In Religious Life, God calls some to “follow Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit” through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.
During this onset of adulthood, we begin thinking about a vocation, a career, a chosen path of life. This too can be scary, exhilarating, or downright emotional. We’ve all be there. And for anyone who hasn’t been there yet, be assured the day will come for you, too.
Several years ago a voice was heard bellowing out in an airport waiting area,
“Chaste for 45 years!”
The surrounding space was electrified as heads turned toward us as I stood facing a non-Christian gentleman who had asked me if we practiced chastity and then posed to me the question of “How long have you been a Sister?”
When Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on Mount Tabor and allowed them to see His divine glory it was to prepare them for the scandal of the Cross that they would encounter when they came down the mountain. And He prepares me in much the same way.
You really can learn a lot of things from the flowers. On this particular afternoon, it was some Easter lilies that caught my attention. Into these rather random mental wonderings came the thought that lilies are a symbol of chastity. Because they are white, right? Maybe there is more.
Just as God gave man dominion over the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and empowered him to name them, so Our Lord, in His love and power, names us with “a new name” as we enter the consecrated life.
“They are there morning, noon and night as part of the community, praying for the needs of the world. For the younger ones of us, it’s a real symbol of the dedication to our vows. Just because they are 90-plus doesn’t mean that they’re retired. It’s a new way of life, and we just slow down a little.”