A Nun’s Life Ministry welcomes guest blogger Diane Brown, who writes about her experience of discerning and of being a candidate with the IHM Sisters of Monroe, Michigan. Be sure to read her other blog posts and join the conversation.

Being a Mom and a Nun, by Diane Brown

ApronIt’s not the way it used to be. Fifty years ago when young women showed up at the Motherhouse, they had a few interviews, kissed their parents and siblings goodbye, and were not seen again for months. They lived, mostly in silence, with dozens of other women their age and older. They were often homesick and lonely until they adjusted to their new lives.

Time has passed and things have changed. Now a candidate continues with her life, her job, and her family throughout candidacy. In some ways, this is much easier; in other ways, much harder. Like a tightrope walker juggling plates and bowling pins, I move in tiny steps from my old life to my new.

The most difficult transition for me, so far, is that from mother to Sister. As a widow with a 24-year-old son, I drop everything when my son’s name appears on the phone in my pocket. Dead battery or broken heart, mom is the one who has always been there.

I pray for his welfare and safety, I hurt that I cannot be with him, and I have a huge problem turning off the phone when I need to be fully present in Mass, in meetings, or just being a good listener.

I know I’m not alone in this — anyone with a vibrant family life, a fulfilling work life, and a rich faith life does a balancing act, too.

It is my hope that during my candidacy I will slowly untie the electronic apron strings, that my son will become increasing more mature and able to deal with life’s difficulties, and that his calls will more often be about something wonderful or funny and less often about something which needs to be replaced or repaired.

I feel very fortunate that I have the time in candidacy to learn how to walk the tightrope and balance family and faith. I am very thankful that the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary understand that, like Mary, I will always be called mom, even as I am called to serve God in this new way.

In what ways have you had to untie various “apron strings” as you’ve transitioned into a new chapter of your life? What questions or comments do you have Diane and one another?