As a family, we have been inconsistent in practice recently, yet my daughter still feels drawn. Any advice for Mom?
Dear Fr Anthony,
My 16-year-old daughter is wondering if she may have a vocation as a nun. Can you help her? As a family, we have been inconsistent in practice recently, yet she still feels drawn. Any advice for Mom? Thank you.
As you can see, a vocation is a gift that God gives freely.
My first advice is that you open your heart to this wakeup call as regards your family's life of faith. If the family has slipped in its practice recently, your daughter's vocation may be God's blessing on your previous efforts and his gentle nudge back to where you belong. The beauty (and at times drama) of the call is going to be played out between your daughter and Christ, but there is no doubt that your prayer and the understanding of the vocation that will come with your returning closer to Christ is going to be a great help and support for her.
The first way you can help your daughter is by encouraging her to go to Mass and receive Jesus in Communion as often as she can. Maybe you might like to go with her from time to time? And it would be really great if the whole family got back to at least going on Sundays. God will bless you all for this in many unsuspected ways. Looking at it in a human sort of way, it seems that God is only looking for excuses to give us what we need, and a great excuse for him to give us what we can’t merit on our own is our effort to give him his place on the Lord’s day.
If she is just vaguely interested in being a nun and nothing more specific, encourage her to do what will give God the opportunity to speak to her soul: if she thinks about what being a nun means to her she will be able to see if it is contemplative life or active life (teaching, nursing, etc) that is in the back of her mind. According to that she could start looking up information on different orders, read the lives of some founders or foundresses, and see what God starts putting in her mind or in her path.
If she develops an interest in a particular order, give her the opportunity to go and visit and get to know them better, and perhaps do a retreat.
Make sure she continues to grow in a sense of responsibility, that she develops her mind and engages in healthy activity. Continue to protect her from whatever could harm her spiritually. Also, and this is very important, make sure she understands the beauty and goodness of the married vocation so she will realize also the beautiful gift she will give God if she is called to be a nun, freely sacrificing the possibility of married life in order to give herself fully to Jesus and his things.