Awaiting Convent Entrance (some thoughts)

I’m someone who goes to Google often whenever I have a question, so naturally, I went looking for advice and written experiences from other women before they entered the convent. I found a few, but I’m still searching for more. I decided to write my own thoughts before entering the convent in hopes that if another young woman decides to search the same things I did, that she’d be able to find this and be comforted and know of my prayers for her.

How do I feel? I get that question a lot when people ask about when I’m entering. Am I scared? Excited? My typical answer is, “a little bit of both.” Some days I’m ecstatic about entering the convent, other days, I wish I could stop time and just sit. Time goes by very quickly as soon as you’re accepted and getting things ready for entrance. In my case, I had over five months to prepare. There were things I wanted to get done, and things I wanted to make. But honestly, I’ve only done a small part of all those things.

I don’t know if anyone else that’s entering feels this, but there’s a certain part of you that avoids thinking about when you enter. Of course, you’re looking forward to it, but counting down the days makes you feel melancholic because you know many things will change once you enter; family communications, conversations with friends, etc. So, instead of thinking about this, you ignore it. And with a little over a week before I leave my home, I think that was a mistake.

I thought that if I avoided thinking about it, I would be able to spend more time focusing on the present day with my family and friends, but I was wrong. Instead, by not realizing how little time I had left, I spent many days filled with useless time on my phone, and failed to recognize the beauty of the people in my life.

Another aspect about waiting for entrance is that you start feeling fear, and you start doubting. When I was in adoration during the camp I was at, there was a point where I just heard, “why do you still doubt?” And I realized then, that I was like Peter who got out of the boat and started walking, but then doubted and started drowning. I had applied and was accepted, but then I started doubting whether the religious life was what God is calling me to do or not. I became scared/distracted, and it became easier for me to be tempted to sin.

There was a desperate need for me to increase my prayer life. I once heard from someone that the evil one desperately tries to tempt us away while we await for our entrance day because once someone enters the convent or seminary, they’re already halfway. I had a prayer life, but it wasn’t as devout as it should be. Spending more time in adoration provided me with peace because as soon as I saw the Lord in the monstrance, my heart rested.

Throughout these months of waiting, I had been restless. I had tried surrounding myself with distractions instead of really focusing on my relationship with Christ and those around me. I was always looking for things to take my mind off of the present, and I had endlessly pretended to be oblivious about my decisions. Once brought back to the reality of the days I had left, I would be slightly uncomfortable because I had not yet learned to embrace the life God was calling me to.

So, to any of the young women that is awaiting their entrance and reading this, know you are not alone. There are many struggles and temptations during this time, but find comfort in the Lord because He will give you rest. Spend time with your loving family and friends. Take in every moment without the need to constantly document it on your phone. Trust in the Lord, and never stop giving the Lord your fiat (yes)!

“Do not lose courage even if your worries seem difficult.  Flee in such moments to the Sacred Heart.  There you will always be consoled.”  – Mother M. Anselma, foundress of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George

In Christ,

Vibrant Catholic

P.S.~ I do realize that this blog post might seem a little disorganized, but I guess in a way it does help to show how my mind has been on so many different topics lately. Please keep me in your prayers, and know that you are in mine!

Entering the Convent: Answers

So I’ve gotten a lot of questions ever since I made it publicly known that I was entering the convent in September. I’ve taken questions people have asked me on Twitter, and I’ll also add in questions that people have asked me in real life. Here we go!

What order are you entering? The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton, IL (closer to St. Louis than Chicago)

So, you’re really entering? Like you’ve applied and all? Now I think I get this question a lot because people think I’ve only contacted the community and started discerning with the community. But, although I’m still discerning with the community, I have finished the application process and was accepted in March. I’ve been preparing all my things and getting ready to enter in less than a month.

How did your family and friends react when you told them you were discerning? My family and friends have always known I was discerning, so they weren’t that surprised. I think the most surprising thing to my family and friends was the fact that I was going to enter right after entering high school. Many people close to me would question why I was going so far away, so early, etc. It was mostly difficult to explain that I was doing this not because I just wanted to, but because God is calling me to do so.

How did you discern entering the convent? I had attended immersion retreats at a House of Formation, and so it was very natural for me to discern the religious life. But, discerning was definitely a lot of prayer and spending time with God. There were several moments that really stand out in my life, which was when the Lord was calling me to be a sister, and that I needed to stop running and give Him my fiat (yes!). I also experienced moments when I saw the joys of spiritual motherhood, and that was really instrumental in my discernment as well.

How did you choose a particular order? For me personally, I have always felt drawn to this certain community. There was a special joy that exuded from them that drew me in more than other communities (who were also very joyful). I think the biggest part of this is you don’t really choose a community, God leads you to one, and then you discern with the order about whether you’re being called there or not.

How long did it take to discern? I had always discerned the religious life, but it wasn’t until the summer before my junior year that I was really open to the idea of religious life. I seriously discerned for about two years.

Tips for other discerners? Be open to what the Lord might be calling you to do. I know that it might seem really scary at times, but the Lord will give you so much joy and peace when we trust Him. Also, people often think of the religious life as giving up things or being restricted, but as one of the Sisters I know really likes to say, “the religious life is giving up something beautiful for something more beautiful.” And I like to say, “what’s more beautiful and loving than our Lord?”