Friday, March 22, 2013

How Do You Tell Your Parents?

When you are young and anxious about everything telling your parents you want to become a Sister or Nun is difficult.  I imagine it is the same with young men as well.  How do you break the news to your parents?  I don't think there is one good answer.  There are many factors involved which can influence the result.  For example, Are your parents religious?  Are they dependent on you?  Are you an only child?  How long have they known of your interest?  There can be as many answers as there are families.  I will tell you though how my parents reacted when I broke the news.
The short answer is ANGRY!  My family is Catholic but my father is not very religious.  He goes to Mass and do the different Catholic devotions but he also had dreams for his children.  Because I am the oldest of seven children, he had high hopes pinned on me.  When I told them of my desire to join a convent after graduating from nursing school, my father was so upset that it created so much tension in the house.  It became so bad that my mother was always crying and begged me to forget about it for a while and just do as my father pleased.  My father threatened that if my mother gave me her blessings, it would be the end of our family!  That certainly sounds dramatic and if it didn't happen to me I would have concluded that this statement is overblown!  But it did happen this way.  As it turned out, Mother Prioress realized how upsetting everything was for my parents at the time that she decided not to take me in until 5 years later!  I was so terribly upset and went to the Chapel crying.  I have been a Religious now for 16 years and my father certainly has accepted it now and seems to be happy with my choice.
Although the years of waiting were painful for me, they were also precious because God used them to strengthen my vocation and to prepare me for life in the convent.  I learned that if we trust God and do our part to take care of our religious vocation, God will bring it to fruition and He grants us our deepest desires.
So going back to my question of how to tell one's parents?  I think that we have to take courage and face the problem head on.  God will take care of preparing them and will ordain the right time for us.  Parents definitely need prayers being it more difficult for them to accept it.  The person called is graced with joy and holy impatience but often times parents do not have this grace.  That is why it is more difficult for them.  They feel the separation, and in their opinion, the separation is forever even though that is not often the case.  My father objected vehemently because it was a strictly cloistered Carmelite community.  But in God's time and as ordained by Him, my father is now happy with my religious life and vocation.  God has ordained everything and I never regret my consecrating myself to Him as a Carmelite Sister!

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