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Q & A with Father Anthony

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How do I react to my 13 year old daughter's interest in becoming a nun?

Mary asks:

Dear Father Anthony,

My 13 year old daughter has expressed to me that she has been thinking about becoming a nun for the past year and a half. I am not so sure how to react to this since she is so young and has many years ahead of her before she has to decide. I am also confused as to where this call has come from. When I had asked her how she knew this was God plan, she said that she has spoken to her teacher, who is a nun, and is sure. What is your perspective? How do you think I should go about helping her during this time? Thanks you for your time.


Dear Mary,

It is a tribute to how you are bringing up your daughter that she is so sensitive to God's action and has the trust to speak to you about what is in her heart.

Young people often have the ability that it seems the world and experience tend to beat out of us to see things in their essence, and to feel the attraction and beauty of goodness. No doubt the example and demeanor, happiness and goodness of your daughter's teacher have influenced her to think of being a nun herself. Does this attraction and the present clarity of her conviction mean that she undoubtedly has a vocation? No. Does the fact that she is 13 with a lot yet to live mean that she doesn't have one? No.

So, what do you and she do? First, I think it is very important that you pray specifically that she finds God's path for her, and has the generosity to follow it wholeheartedly, no matter what it is. Pray with great trust, God wants what is best for her, and is already leading her in his own mysterious ways.

She obviously respects her nun-teacher. Encourage her to keep in touch with her about her vocation. You might even consider speaking to this nun yourself, confidentially, to see how you can most help your daughter.

Continue to take care of her. Encourage her to pray, to go to Mass and Communion as often as she can. Make sure she studies and has normal friendships, and responsibilities and has the opportunity to do some service work. These are general ideas that you can adapt to her own particular circumstances.

God bless, and be sure of my prayers.

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