I am a new Catholic, should I wait to discern my vocation?
Dear Fr Anthony,
While a Protestant, I thought off and on about becoming a nun for over a decade. I became Catholic about 6 months ago and am now considering the religious life more seriously. I have been advised by other women in discernment that I should wait a few years to "grow into" my Catholicism; what may I do in the meantime to prepare myself? I do not have a college education; would this be the time to go back to school?
Welcome into our Catholic family!
The advice you were given to take time to "grow into your Catholicism" is wise, but it doesn't mean leaving aside the thoughts of a vocation, but allowing them to come into proper focus so as to see and appreciate the vocation for what it is, and the fundamental value of Baptism for what it is. Baptism is the defining step, it is what transforms us, and the vocation is how Jesus calls us to live our Baptismal transformation.
You can prepare yourself along two parallel lines. One is of course the supernatural/spiritual side of our life: "drinking in" all the nourishment for our soul that comes from the Sacraments and the Church's teachings, and having a spiritual guide to answer your questions and help you understand what God is doing in your soul. The other is what we can call the human side, things like your college studies as you mention, taking care of debts, following a healthy lifestyle.
As you do this, if you haven't already given thought to a particular religious order it would be good to start looking around. You have time, so be serene and full of trust as you begin looking, God is not going to call you and then not put where he wants you in your path.