my parents are not thrilled about my sister entering Missionaries of Charity
#1
we always said grace before dinner and never missed Sunday mass, but my parents never really talked about the faith with the four of us kids*. Now the youngest, 21, has been accepted to enter the Missionaries of Charity in June, and my parents aren't very excited that she dropped out of university to do so. They aren't blocking her, but I would like to help them understand her vocation, and maybe deepen their prayer life in the process.

• Does anyone know of anyone with a similar situation, and perhaps have suggestions or advice?

• Know of any good books, interviews, or Saint stories that can get my parents excited about "losing" their daughter to a religious order, especially one where they'll have minimal communication or contact?


I've toyed with the idea of getting my parents Magnificat or Divine Intimacy, but I don't think they'd read it daily. They were born 1955 and 1960, so not raised during such a bright period in the Church. My dad is actually a convert, but part of the motivation I think was to marry my mom.

(*I was discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood for a little while in college, and when I told my mom she said "but you haven't even dated anyone". I'm now married.)
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#2
I think this is rather common, but as it would be unjust for the parents to prohibit the conversion of someone is also unjust for them to prohibit a vocation, that's why some saints (like St. Thomas or St. Clare) joined religious orders either without their parents consent or without them being too much excited about it. Here are some tips on how to start dealing with it.
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#3
I think what will help them the most is when they see how happy she is. It can be hard to imagine that a person could be happy living such a countercultural life, especially when it's one's own child and it means leaving their parents' home and their plans for her (such as college). Even so, what they really want for them is their happiness.  What will help them the most is time, and becoming assured that she is truly happy. No doubt her prayers in religious life will be helpful to all.

You may be able to help them by explaining that this isn't some weird cult. People have been joining the religious life for centuries.  Also, because of the Missionaries of Charity's popularity, those in charge of admitting people to it are especially good at discerning others' vocations to it. They know how to screen them very, very carefully. If they have admitted your sister, it is because they believe God has brought her there.
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#4
Is it possible that they will further her education at an institution of higher learning, perhaps get professional qualifications in social service? Many religious institutes and orders do invest in the advanced education of their professed religious.

It might be worthwhile to actually get out, meet, and speak with members of religious orders. They don't always have the greatest visibility, but they are around, and they are doing valuable work everywhere.
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#5
Actually, your sister's vocation is already achieving one of the chief purposes of religious life:  to demonstrate that our true home is the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world.

Your parents appear, like most people, to embrace their religion in a conventional way.  For most people,  becoming a religious is "going overboard."

I don't see any way to resolve the conflict.  It's necessary.
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#6
The Missionaries of Charity are not a traditional order.  For that reason you and your parents have sufficient reason to question the wisdom of this decision.  Sixteen years ago, my wife left them after nine years of sisterhood because of their disorganization and chaos. Things haven't changed since.

Your sister may indeed have a vocation, I hope she does, but in these times, it's a difficult process.  Especially with so much modernism and deadly influences around us.  I dare say, 90% of the church hierarchy cannot be trusted.  Understanding the Holy Spirit is only part of God's calling.  There's also the Church's Magisterium and history, Natural Law, and of course, obedience.

For your parents this is a particular quandary, as their own faith has not flourished.  It has most likely been held back by Novus Ordo liturgies and priests who drank too much Vatican II cool aid.  They need to read better and more challenging Catholic instruction.  Try the bi-monthly The Remnant, and/or Catholic Family News, anything by Michael Davies. A real wake-up is Father Gruner's "Crucial Truths" about Fatima.

We live in very dark times for ourselves and the Church. Be assured of my prayers for your family, and especially you sister.
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#7
(04-27-2015, 11:14 AM)LuxAeterna Wrote: The Missionaries of Charity are not a traditional order.  For that reason you and your parents have sufficient reason to question the wisdom of this decision.  Sixteen years ago, my wife left them after nine years of sisterhood because of their disorganization and chaos. Things haven't changed since.

Your sister may indeed have a vocation, I hope she does, but in these times, it's a difficult process.  Especially with so much modernism and deadly influences around us.  I dare say, 90% of the church hierarchy cannot be trusted.  Understanding the Holy Spirit is only part of God's calling.  There's also the Church's Magisterium and history, Natural Law, and of course, obedience.

For your parents this is a particular quandary, as their own faith has not flourished.  It has most likely been held back by Novus Ordo liturgies and priests who drank too much Vatican II cool aid.  They need to read better and more challenging Catholic instruction.  Try the bi-monthly The Remnant, and/or Catholic Family News, anything by Michael Davies. A real wake-up is Father Gruner's "Crucial Truths" about Fatima.

We live in very dark times for ourselves and the Church. Be assured of my prayers for your family, and especially you sister.

This is very important. We need to support traditional orders (or at least conservative). And especially the folks giving their life through the order should be extra aware, lest their faith is destroyed and in turn they destroy the faith of others.

EDIT: I'm not familiar with this order, so I'm just speaking generally.
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#8
(04-25-2015, 04:32 AM)mea_culpa Wrote: we always said grace before dinner and never missed Sunday mass, but my parents never really talked about the faith with the four of us kids*. Now the youngest, 21, has been accepted to enter the Missionaries of Charity in June, and my parents aren't very excited that she dropped out of university to do so. They aren't blocking her, but I would like to help them understand her vocation, and maybe deepen their prayer life in the process.

• Does anyone know of anyone with a similar situation, and perhaps have suggestions or advice?

• Know of any good books, interviews, or Saint stories that can get my parents excited about "losing" their daughter to a religious order, especially one where they'll have minimal communication or contact?


I've toyed with the idea of getting my parents Magnificat or Divine Intimacy, but I don't think they'd read it daily. They were born 1955 and 1960, so not raised during such a bright period in the Church. My dad is actually a convert, but part of the motivation I think was to marry my mom.

(*I was discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood for a little while in college, and when I told my mom she said "but you haven't even dated anyone". I'm now married.)
If your parents aren't "excited" about your sisters vocation I would let that go. Some things take getting used to. However if they were to actively oppose her vocation then I would warn them that when a parent actively opposes the religious vocation of their child they run the danger of going to Hell. 
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#9
thank you for all the suggestions. I like the curt wisdom from Poche. No, they're not blocking her, so that is good.

LuxAeterna, I would like to hear a little more about your wife and how she discerned to leave the order. Perhaps that is my vain curiosity though.

My impression of the MC is, while they're not traditionalist, they are certainly a more traditional order: They haven't changed their habit since before Vatican II, they don't dabble in new age heresy, they haven't strayed from their founding mission. Sure they use the new office and the new missal, but I think that's out of humility and mission-focus. Christ is still the center of their charism, they spend much time in prayer and before the Blessed Sacrament, and the austere way they live really reminds me of the way St. Francis embraced his Lady Poverty (the real St Francis, not the fake "channel of your peace" hippie too often portrayed).

I didn't get a sense of "disorganization and chaos" — maybe just a backwardness of things like type-written correspondence (no computers!), but I'll ask her a bit about it.


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