Wednesday, January 6, 2010

If you are Catholic, have you encouraged or discouraged your child to consider the priesthood or religious life?

This is just the first of several questions that The Anchoress is asking you to answer in her polls (so easy, just click through the link and then click the answer, and click vote).

She awoke with the thought that “someone’s son has to be the priest; someone’s child must be the soldier, and the cop.” Which led her to become curious and create the polls.

I have to say that I always clutched my little girls a bit closer when the prayers of the faithful came to praying for vocations. I thought, "Not my girls, Lord, please." Then one day the stray thought came (and we all know where those come from when I'm in front of the Eucharist during Mass, right?) ... these children do not belong to me. They belong to themselves and to God. With that thought and a brief pang I was able to let them go. At first unwillingly and then, gradually, as I could see the great blessing that we receive from those in religious orders, more gladly and freely.

I am not sure that other mothers would appreciate the fact that I have had a serious conversation with one young man about his consideration of the priesthood (boy, oh boy, that was a toughie to begin. Talk about stepping out in faith.). Or that I have given a serious book about discernment to another young man who was in a long process of doing that very thing. (As far as I can tell, he has not felt that call enough ... but that's just fine. The main thing is to be open if it comes.) Yet another young man is seriously considering joining the Marines and though I quake inwardly for his safety I also am proud to know that he is open to see where he is called.

Have I discussed becoming a religious with the girls? Honestly I can't remember. However, I think that both would tell you that they know Tom and I would be supportive of either a secular or religious vocation. God created them with a distinct plan and it is not up to us to get in the way of it or them. We can't look back ourselves on God's clear path for us and not know that the same path, of whatever sort, exists for our children as well.

Ok, that was way more than I intended ... just go answer the polls will ya?


  1. I've spoken to my kids about it. When they mention career choices and such, I always mention the priesthood to the boys. I haven't mentioned sisterhood to my daughter specifically yet. (She's eight.)

    My grandmother went on a campaign to discourage me from becoming a nun. She used to sob while telling me about one of her nieces who became a nun. But oddly, the two older women in the family (older than she, that is) who became nuns -- they were spoken of with respect.

    So pre-existing nuns = good, but becoming a nun = bad. Got it? It makes total sense in a strange, backward way where up is down and Cinnabons are good for you.

    I went to college figuring I'd enter a religious order. That didn't happen, but not because of Grandma.

  2. My 14 year old niece recently made her confirmation and I gave her a book about religious vocations (along with a check). Her mother looked at me like I was nuts, and my niece seems more interested in makeup right now. But maybe it was a seed, right?

  3. PREEEEEcisely! :-)

    Or she might leave it around where it is a seed for someone else. You never know!

  4. As you said in your original statement that support for vocations regardless of secular or religious is really the key for kids in the mid to late teen years.

    Over Thanksgiving My 14 YO son told my wife and I that he wanted to be both a Marine and a military Chaplain. I was not too surprised knowing him as I do. We have had a couple informal chats over the last month. Reminding him how needful and important it is for him to pray for discernment and direction.

    I am not sure that he grasps the level of commitment for either vocation (let alone the combination). But, there is still time. It seems like just yesterday that he wanted to be a fireman. But, that is another story... :)

  5. Oh, this has been on my mind recently. That exact thought that someone's boys need to become the future priests. Why not ours? What an important wonderful thing for them to do, to be.