One of our visitors writes in and says that she can't find support for her desire to explore nun life.

I am wondering why no one seems to want to help me decide whether I am called to be a nun. It is not only difficult, but I am finding it impossible.  I'm sorry if I sound irritated, but I have been seeking such a life for many years now, and I am admittedly experiencing some impatience at being ignored.

It is tough to feel unsupported and ignored when you are discerning a call to become a nun. A lot of people (including our dear family and friends) may have a difficult time understanding the life of sisters, let alone why you would be interested! Plus it can be hard for our own selves to be able to articulate it! I remember feeling the nudge from God but having no framework and no words that sounded sensible to respond to their questions.

The other challenge of feeling supported -- a point that our visitor mentioned -- is that the world around us can be hostile towards Catholicism (indeed, religion in general). When Sister Maxine and I attended World Youth Day, we met so many young people who voiced these same concerns -- to the point where they felt that they couldn't speak of the Catholic faith or even of God! They felt unsupported in their desire to listen to how God was calling them in their life.

What to do? The most important thing is to find the support that you need as you explore your attraction to becoming a Catholic sister. When the "usual" people aren't able to be there for you, there are some other places you can go.

  1. Your parish: Pastoral leaders and wisdom-figures in your parish community are there to talk with you about your relationship with God. They can listen and offer advice and support. They can help connect you with other people who may be discerning too or who have experience in walking with people who are discerning.
  2. Your campus ministry community: If you are in school, campus ministers are great to have a conversation with! They can help in some of the same ways that the parish community can help.
  3. Spiritual direction: There may be spiritual directors in your area with whom you can work and talk out how God is active in your life and where God may be leading you to. Here's more info on spiritual direction.
  4. A trusted mentor: You might find that there is a person within your circle of family and friends with whom you can talk. Maybe it's an aunt that is very committed to her church's soup kitchen or a friend that is comfortable talking about spiritual stuff. It may be someone you never would have expected!
  5. Sisters themselves: Connect with sisters in your area and ask one of them if you can ask some questions and tell them about your desire. There are also Vocation Directors at each religious community that can help you discern.
  6. A Nun's Life Ministry: Here at A Nun's Life we have walked with many, many people who are discerning their calling, including a calling to become a nun. We work with sisters across the country who are here to help. We also have prayer podcasts with chat and a program called Discernment Chat where you can connect with a sister and other discerners. We're here for you!

We'll keep in our prayers you and all those are looking for support on the vocation journey.

Readers! What else can you suggest to our visitor? What questions do you have? Use the comment section below to add to the conversation!