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Q & A with Father Anthony



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I am wondering if I've missed my vocation and what to do about it...

Josie asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

I am wondering if I've missed my vocation and what to do about it. A little history: I married at 18 without giving full consideration to what I was doing. Twenty-two months, and one child, later we were divorced and annulled and he left the country permanently. Over the last 11 years, I have been journeying deeper and deeper into the spiritual life and feel that I should have entered the convent when I was so confused instead of making the rash decision to get married. My son is now twelve and I desire so intensely to give my whole life to Christ, but I could never abandon my son, who is the closest relative I have on earth. I feel very much like St. Elizabeth Seton at times. I teach school, I teach Catechism classes, I lector, I have a regular Hour of Adoration each Saturday (which passes too quickly and occurs too infrequently.) I'd like to rearrange my life in order to go to daily Mass, which means I'd have to quit my present teaching job and seek one elsewhere. I do go when we have days off from school. I don't date. I am thinking about when my son turns 18 and leaves for college. I will be 38. Is that too old to start a vocation? I don't feel like I'm doing my best for God as I am right now. Perhaps I should also be open to another marriage - a sacramental marriage - while I'm still young enough to bear children. I'm so confused and therefore I pray. But I don't feel like I'm actively seeking a vocation. Any advice? Bless you, Father, and thank you for reading this rather lengthy letter.

Dear Josie,

There is one thing clear, that you are doing right before God in the type of life you are trying to lead, bringing up your son and living your faith. Of course things could have been different, but there is no point in wondering if you have "missed your vocation", since it is clear what God wants you to do now, and I am sure you are doing all you can to bring your son up well in the faith and in all other respects in his life.

Your real dilemma seems to be what course to set your life towards now that you are 31, looking towards when your son will be 18 and off to college. A practical consideration: ask yourself truthfully if you really think you would be able to leave everything at that stage and go into a convent. I think both you and the nuns might think it better for you be around for his college years, just in case, and also as some sort of an anchor still for your son which he will most probably appreciate. I don't think it is realistic to plan on being able to make a major change until he is 22 at least. So that is probably the timetable you are looking at.

Do convents accept older vocations? Yes, a number do, and if you are accepted it would be a good thing to do.

Is it possible for you marry in the Church, and have more children? Yes, most certainly, and that also would be a good thing to do.

How do you decide? You are going to need the advice of someone who knows you better than I. Someone who knows more in detail your circumstances, personality, spiritual qualities, etc... So the only concrete piece of advice I can give you is to seek out someone to be your spiritual director: it could be your pastor, or a nun you know and trust.

God bless.


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