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how to get out of being a nun

My blog provider has this nifty little feature that allows me to see what kind of hits I get from search engines. I think it is my favorite feature. Today I was looking at it and found that the search term “how to get out of being a nun”. I don’t know who entered that the search term or why, but I’ve got to say: I feel your pain.

Basically I never wanted to be a nun. I had my life all planned out — and it most certainly did not involve celibacy, obedience or poverty (the three vows we sisters profess). Life has a funny way of not going the way we plan it all the time. While I was in my last year of college I got to thinking about what I was going to do and how I wanted to live my life. I was involved in my Catholic faith community at school (after a couple year hiatus exploring other faith traditions) and considered my options as a single, Catholic woman. I was aiming for married life, having done the “single” thing. A third option, however, was something I had never considered. So, in a (misguided) spirit of fairness, I thought I’d look into religious life just to say that I did. Then I could cross it off the list. Well so much for that. What happened was that the more I looked into it, met sisters/nuns and brothers/monks, the more I was attracted to the lifestyle. All the while I was thinking NOOOOOO! How do I get out of being a nun?????

I tried my best to get out of it. Let’s see … there was ignoring it, not going to church, doing stupid things to make me feel like I was not nun-material, yelling at God, not talking to God, looking up old flames, checking out Buddhism (until I found nuns there too), and taking up running (trust me, it sounded like a good idea at the time; I was willing to try anything to get me as far away from God as possible).

Finally, I gave into it. Best decision of my life.


steph September 8, 2006 at 6:03 am

Amen, Sister! My line is that I entered religious life “kicking and screaming every step of the way”. In fact, the e-mail that got things started for me with my community was a request for the discernment discussion page link — there were three options to choose from: I’m just beginning to look at religious life, I’m pretty sure I’m being called but am not sure what community, I’m pretty sure I’m being called and know what community. I put in the comment box that “the reason I didn’t check anything off is because they didn’t have an option for ‘am pretty sure I’m being called but am trying desperately to argue my way out of it.’” The vocation director (fortunately or unfortunately) wrote back something equally smart-alecky that neither of us can remember the specifics of, and the rest is history! That’s part of why I started the blog, though …. to show that it’s not that freakish to NOT want to do this!

Dominique April 15, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Hey Sr. Julie! I am sitting here laughing while reading this post. I have done all of the above in the past two years. I had my life all planned out: I was going to get married (to my x-boyfriend) and have a bunch of children while working in the medical field. I ignored God and never wanted to go to Church. I threatened my parents to switch to a different religion like Buddism when i got out of the house. I hung all over my boyfriend and picked up some colorful words. All the while repeatedly saying NO, i will NOT be a nun! ….But in the end, here i am. God has welcomed me back with open arms and turned my life completely around. I am going to join the Salesian Sisters after college and i couldn’t be happier! God works in the funniest of ways! I had this stereotipical view of nuns but after spending loads of time with them, i realize, i don’t have to give up being me. I am actually strengthened and God is bringing out more of the good in me since i have been hanging around the sisters.

Sister Julie April 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Love your story, Dominique! I’m very happy for you and your nuns!

Another Julie April 28, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I know this is a super old post, but your story of becoming a Sister sounds just like how I found the Church to begin with! I told myself that I would look into religion, just to be fair, and then I could check it off my list and tell all those crazy Christians I knew that I looked for God and He wasn’t there. Boy, was I wrong! As soon as I opened myself up to it, He gave me a slap upside the head (figuratively, of course!), helped me turn my life around, and took me straight to His Church. Here I am, some time later, cautiously discerning a possible call to religious life. God is so good but also, at times, so trying! 

Ashley July 30, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Hi Sister Julie, I am so glad you shared this story. I feel this sense that God is calling me to become a nun. However, I have tried to pull away from it. I have tried to ignore it. I have told myself that it just some crazy idea I had come up with. No matter how hard I try I just can not deny it. If anything I get pulled closer in unexpected ways. One experience that took me aback was when my step dad said to me one Christmas, “Ashley, you should be a nun.” I had asked him why in surprise and he said, “It just fits you.” I was not sure if he was joking or being serious. It just came right out of the blue. That was when the call first came to me. Then I started feeling it all the time. Every time I would ignore this call something just out of the blue would pop up. Like my mom said I should be a nun for Halloween one year. I have an attraction to this kind of life but fear seems to pull me away every time. I must find some way to overcome this fear. I am tired of ignoring my call. What I mean to say is thank you for sharing your story. It made me feel better to know that I am not the only one who has and is experiencing this call and ignoring it, being afraid that a religious life is not meant for them.

Sister Julie July 31, 2009 at 9:38 am

Dear Ashley, Thank you for writing. Even though God’s call is unique to each one of us, there are lots of things we share in common — especially as we discern and try to figure out how God is calling us. My prayers are with you, Ashley.

pondering August 3, 2009 at 7:05 am

a united church of christ minister told me once that he thought that people sshould only enter ministry if they couldn’t avoid it any longer. He meant that it should be considered in a different way then most jobs and that you don’t decide but God does the calling. Although I think it is good to eventually realize your calling and to respond to it; but what he said is food for thought.

Sister Julie August 3, 2009 at 1:33 pm

pondering — that is a very interesting way to look at it and indeed food for thought.