Supporting a daughter’s vocation to religious life

Vicar for religious for Diocese of Orange says parents can assist in discernment process

Sister Bernarda Krajewska, a member of the Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict, addresses campers July 11 during the Quo Vadis Camp at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, N.Y. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)

As parents, we want the best for our children. Nonetheless it is a challenge for us to support a daughter when she decides to pursue religious life. 

In fact, one-third of women entering religious life were discouraged to do so by their mothers, according to a 2014 study released by Georgetown University, compared to just 11 percent of men considering the priesthood. 

“Parents are protective of their children and don’t want anything bad to happen to them,” says Sister Eymard Flood, the Diocese of Orange vicar for religious. “They also are anxious. Some parents want their daughters to live close by and become angry at the Church” when their daughter’s vocation means she must leave her country, state or city to join her chosen religious order. 

Sr. Eymard encourages women interested in vocations to pray and research together with their parents, so that they fully understand the change their daughters can affect in the Church through her ministry. 

“Religious life is not a life of penance and sackcloth,” she notes. “It is a life of joy and can be very exciting. Sisters living in religious communities laugh and tell jokes and all those things.” 

So, how can parents support their daughters as they consider a vocation? 

“Pray with and for her,” Sr. Eymard advises. “Pledge to go to adoration, attend Mass, say the Rosary and become involved in the discernment process.” The Diocese of Orange offers educational programs on vocations that are open to parents as well as women considering vocations, she notes. 

Daughters and parents must be open to the Holy Spirit’s movement, she adds, and parents must be certain their daughters are going through a true discernment process. “Supportive prayer, praying for what their daughters need, is best because too much enthusiasm can close off the discernment process and put too much pressure on the woman. Her vocation could be to marry and have a family, be single, or to become a sister.” 

Each community possesses a charism, or a gift that the Holy Spirit gives them as part of life in the Church, she explains. “A woman must truly discern what charism is calling her; where she feels at home.” 

Full story at OC Catholic.

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  1. Kristin says:

    Parents should be delighted to have a daughter who follows her vocation to religious life! They will be certain to have someone who prays for them, even long after their deaths, and their daughter will be a bride of Christ, a very high calling indeed.

    Non-supportive parents are often sad that they will not get grandchildren. Selfish selfish, and who is to say their daughters could have children anyway.

    Parents, it’s not about you, it’s about your daughter. Let her answer God’s call without your interference and rejoice with her as she discerns her future.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Non-supportive parents are often sad that they will not get grandchildren. Selfish selfish, and who is to say their daughters could have children anyway.”
      This is the problem with families wanting only one or two children.

  2. Covfefe says:

    Many of those parents who discourage their daughters from a religious vocation would probably support their daughters 100% if their daughters announced they were lesbian and were marrying another woman. It would be nothing but unconditional love and acceptance and rejoicing in that case, announcing the news to all their friends and family with great joy; not so much when their daughter intends to pursue a religious vocation.

    These times we live in.

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