Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Here is the idea: You will take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. For much of the time you will give up your family. You will also give up by your own free choice husband and children. You will give up your closet of clothes and all the stuff with which you have surrounded yourself. You will give up control over your finances. You will be told what to wear (and you most likely will make it) and what to eat and where to live. You will have a life devoted to prayer and love of God and service of His people. You will be a radical in a power, pleasure, and sensory driven nation. You will stand against everything that your nation cherishes. You will become a counter-cultural icon. You will not blend in to the background. You will be sought out. You will be so odd that people will want to take pictures of you. You will have great power in doing everyday things, a power that you will mostly not be aware of nor know what it is accomplishing. Your work will produce fruits that you may never know of. Some people will hate the very sight of you, others will weep to be in your presence.

Who in their right mind would want this life? Hell would have to freeze over before anybody chose this kind of life. Right?

Maybe it has.

Here is the video of the Sister of Life that aired on MTV featuring Bridget who is originally of this parish. Her mother sincerely apologizes to those who suffered through horrendous programming in order to see it.


Anonymous said...

Hi Fr. V,

We had quite the discussion with regard to discernment and vocations over at Adoro's Blog. You occasionally post there so I thought you might have noticed it? I am intrigued by the line of thought of various secular vocations outside of holy orders and religious orders, and I think it has a wide cross section with various aspects of existential philosophy, in which I have some interest. The fact that I haven't thought deeply about it before may betray my ignorance on the subject. I posted about it Here and Here. If you have time to comment your voice would, I suspect, contribute well to the topic.

All the Best, -B

Adoro said...

Thanks for the mention, WP.

Fr. V. ~ When I was considering religious life, I loved the idea of having all that taken care of, and just having the freedom to do what I was called to do. There is freedom in such a lifestyle. I feel now like I'm "owned" by my house. I'm goning to start, when referencing my house, referring to it as "the house that owns me." And "the car that owns me." And "the debt that owns me." Because that's what it is. There is no true freedom when we are owned by our material things. I'd have left my current job long ago if I'd been wise enough not to buy a house, a car, and get 2 dogs. (Although out of the 3, the car is the most necessary, and the dogs are the most loved). I'd be happy not to be a homeowner. Such is life.

Of course, I also realized religious life isn't an escape from real life as it has its own challenges...those very thigns you cited which drew me, also repel me because I still have a rebellious nature and the idea of such complete obedience and submission would weigh on me. I'm not certain I could overcome my rebellion (although thank God I'm not the "rebel' I was 10 years ago. I'm a grown-up rebel now). :-)

Hard to explain. Important stuff is always hard to explain.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the no visiting family bit. Who made that up? Are all orders like that? My priest visits his family a lot, i don't see anything wrong with it. Heck, I'd like to see priests be able to marry, but then I suppose I'm liberal like that. I realize there are monks who are likely not alowed to see family much. But it seems like the ladies ought to have some more liberal orders available to them.

Fr. V said...

B - Today there are orders that allow you to do just about anything. The odd thing though is they have less than 1% of their orders in formation. The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious that represent 10% of women religious in the U.S. have the lion's share of vocations with about 10% of their orders in formation and much lower median age. These orders tend to be the ones described in the post.

Adoro - that is kind of what I meant. I was trying to be a bit sarcastic. The nuns in the video asked, "Who would want this?" But the answer is if people want anything, that is exactly what they want. Something radical - something meaningful which to dedicate their lives. They want serious sacrifice, not "see, you can have a vocation and real life too."

Anonymous said...

Hi Fr. V,

Thanks for answering my comment and also thanks for stopping by to comment on my post.

I've been hanging about with Opus Dei members a bit, though I am not a member and will likely not join (I am very liberal and they are perceived to be conservative). Regardless of what you think of their church politics, I think they are onto something with the whole religious order within a regular job thing. Not that they are the only order to dream that up or implement it, but they seem awfully successful with it. Sounds like some of their ideas come from St. Theresa, the little flower.

All the Best, -B

Adoro said...

WP ~ Opus Dei is not about a "religious order" within a job thing....they are about living holiness every day, no matter what one's state. I have considered joining Opus Dei and have looked into them, although I also don't think that's my calling. They are definitely living Vatican II.

There is a difference between a type of community such as theirs and a Religious Vocation to, say, Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (my #1 Favorite), or Sisters of Life (other #1 Favorite).

FYI..if you look at the Church in political terms, I'm very conservative/traditional, which I term as Faithful, as I've already been down the "progressive/liberal" route and found it shocking, disturbing, and off-putting. I attended a "liberal" parish for quite awhile and even while I was there, the only thing that kept me ther were the elderly people who inspired me as they were the only ones who seemed to recognize Jesus in the Eucharist, for they were the only ones who knelt in His presence. Everyone else seemed lost and confused and chatted when they should have been in worship.

Sorry for the digression.

Fr. V. ~ I know you were being sarcastic, in a sense. And i would our culture, who would want this? My answer is: Only those with the courage to follow Christ where he really leads and who is willing to forsake mother and father and sister and brother, and house and boat and car and dogs, and take up one's cross to follow Him.

Apparently I'm not that brave, or just not called to give up ALL of it.

Although if my house burned down tonight, I'd quit my job, head to a convent for a retreat...and re-evalute everything I think I know.

(Please don't read too much into that...)

Adoro said...

WP ~ I forgot to say....have you read Josemaria Escriva (Founder of Opus Dei)? I actually haven't read his works but it would not surprise me one bit to find that his inspiration and foundation (besides Christ, obviously) is St. Therese of Lisieux. :-)

OK...I'm off work tomorrow, but I really need to go to sleep. This being off is no excuse for my late hours tonight...


Anonymous said...

Hi Adoro,

I've read a bit of Josemaria's work, not a lot. Some of his work I find inspired, and some of it I find a little creepy. But I don't want to elaborate on it here... perhaps in a blog post.

All the Best, -B

Leticia said...

The Sisters of Life as well as several other traditional religious orders like the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal attended our diocesan "Proud 2B Catholic" Conference yesterday. You just can't buy happiness like they have!