Being a Sister looks lonely and filled with tedious tasks and manual labor. They probably pray all the time — and in rigid ways. Is it all servitude and obedience, or do you ever have any fun?
Being a Sister means living in a community of caring that supports you from your youngest days until your last breath. Together, we set our minds and spirits to change the world for the better. We spend a lot of time in prayer; it grounds us. We spend a lot of time in service; it uplifts us. We spend quality time working on personal development and forming close personal bonds. And yes, it IS fun; it’s being surrounded by your closest friends all of the time, sharing in hospitality and holiness.
I could get with everything about being a committed part of a religious order…. except the celibacy part. I can’t even imagine never having sex again.
When it comes to celibacy, it helps to think of it as any other form of human discipline. To think of celibacy as not having sex is like saying that all marriage means is that you have sex with only one person. Celibacy is a rich way of life that involves relating, loving, being, just as marriage is about loving, vulnerability, service, and family. And just like marriage, this richness plays out differently for each individual. Among the many things that celibacy means are these:
- I choose God as my first love, believing that God’s love for me will be my support, my strength, and my joy.
- I choose to live in a community of like-minded women who will support and challenge me in my prayer and ministry.
- I choose a way of life that frees me to attend to the needy, the little ones at the school down the street, or the immigrant at the border.
And so, while the struggle is real, we may not have physical intimacy, but we make up for it with emotional intimacy, spiritual fulfillment, and an enriched life— well-lived.
What’s the point of being a nun, anyway?
God is all, the rock and foundation of our life. We entrust our lives to Him and know he has our best interests at heart. If God is calling you to grow into the best person you can be, religious life will help you fully become it and heed the call to serve God’s people. Nuns respond to the problems of today’s world through education, health care, social advocacy, and ministries to those in need—and we do it together with one heart and one soul.
Are there any opportunities for women in the church? I don’t want to only be able to choose between domestic servitude or being a caretaker.
Get global or stay local, the world is your oyster. Sisters work all over the world in high-level positions and make an impact. There are no limits on where you can take your career as a religious woman in the world today. We’ve had Sisters who are college presidents, Ph.D professors, Directors of Nursing, psychologists, artists, musicians and on and on. We also have people who find that gardening and cleaning provide that rhythm of life that is best for them to connect with God.
If God wanted me to join the Sisterhood, he would have CALLED me. Right? Right?!?”
Discernment is a personal journey of listening deeply to God who might speak to us in silence. If you think God is calling you, He probably is. Don’t just discern in a vacuum; perhaps you need to start talking to other people about the call you are sensing and start visiting religious orders. Many current Sisters have said, “When I walked into the Chapel, I knew that this is where I would be happy.” Take the first step.
I’d love to be a Sister, but what if I am not a good enough person or spiritual enough as a Catholic?
It makes no difference where you are on your Spiritual Journey. If you’re seeking God, that’s enough. We got you from here. God doesn’t call the ‘qualified,’ He “qualifies” the called.
Why do people keep asking me if I have ever considered religious life? Sure, I am a good person and I am seeking God in everything, but why me? I can’t even imagine what it will sound/feel/be like to be called to serve, much less become a Sister.
Maybe they are seeing something in you that you don’t see from the inside. Maybe they see that you care about people and have gifts that can serve the Catholic Church’s mission of praising God and helping those in need. Why you? Why NOT you?
I’m totally #TeamCatholic. I want to represent and contribute to my community. I’d donate 100% of my time using my PhD supporting Catholic communities and giving back through hard work and humanitarian efforts… How do I do that AND keep a roof over my head at the same time?
In Benedictine life, we share everything, the common life of “one heart, one soul.” All our money goes into one pot and we share living space, meals, and daily necessities. We have resources to put into our work and outreach that helps others. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to a religious order that shares your passions and supports you in ministry.
I’ve seen Sisters on TV and movies, and they are always portrayed in long black robes and a headcovering with white trim….what’s with The Habit?
When people refer to The Habit, they mean religious garb. Adopting this traditional style is a choice made by each unique community; not every community adopts that way of dress. Here at Sacred Heart Monastery, we wear the clothes of the day, following the Rule of Benedict that says to “use what is available in the vicinity at a reasonable cost.”
Wow, becoming a Sister seems like a big commitment. What if I hear the Call and start to explore the idea. What if I get accepted? Can I change my mind? Will I be trapped forever?
Becoming a Sister is a process. Discernment continues in the many stages of Formation; you have plenty of time to figure out if you are a good fit for The Religious Life.
I can live a life seeking God without joining a community. Why make that big of a commitment?
That’s true, but…..community supports and challenges you. Seeking God in a community is transformative, there’s just nothing like it. You are absolutely filled with grace and gumption while building God’s kingdom together. One heart, one soul is a way of life.
I feel the call to service, but my parents will disown me if I don’t give them grandkids.
Giving up the hope of having kids and grandkids isn’t easy, but it’s doable. There’s more to growing old than having grandkids. We focus on making close personal bonds with our sisters and communities, making lifelong friendships with people zero-to-110. Your family becomes our family. These relationships/ministries don’t take the place of children, but they bring completeness to our lives. Plus, parents will get more joy and satisfaction out of seeing you live a fulfilled life.
If I join a religious community like the Sisterhood, will I ever see my friends and family or have a life?
Sisters don’t leave one life and swap it for a completely different one… we blend them in one big, divine ‘Smoothie of Happiness’. Jesus, of course, said it perfectly, “I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly.
Something is missing in my life… but I don’t know what. I have no reason to be wanting. I have a wonderful sweetheart, a great relationship with my family, and a rockstar job. My life is pretty nice. So, why do I feel like I have another purpose?
God works in mysterious ways. It just might be that this sense of dissatisfaction is saying that you really are looking for a deeper connection with God. Ask God in prayer to help you figure it out with His help. Furthermore, it may be helpful for you to explore this dissatisfaction with people who know you and can offer spiritual guidance. Be open to God’s plan for you, wherever it might lead.
Life is so chaotic. It seems like I am just on the hamster wheel between school, work, church, and family. Marriage just looks more of the same. Secular life is just a drag. Why can’t I live a simple life, with the space and grace to become my best self in the service of God?
Sounds like you are looking for a simplified religious life with the monastic balance of prayer and work, solitude and community. We can share the wisdom of the Rule of Benedict with you.