Ask A Carmelite Sister — “How do I tell my parents?”
The urging in your heart won’t be silenced. You know that you must tell them. But as soon as you start thinking about how to go about it, your hands get all sweaty and your heart begins to pound wildly. You pray for help. Surely there has to be some app with helpful tips for this kind of thing! How does someone tell her parents that she feels God is calling her to enter Religious Life?
There is no easy answer. Everyone and every situation is unique. You must walk this path with our Lord. He knows your parents and loves them even more than you do. First of all, ask Him for light about how to approach your parents and for the courage to act.
Here are some other suggestions:
1. Communicate maturely
This is not a matter for a text message or a message left on voicemail. It takes courage to communicate your heart’s desires face-to-face or at least voice-to-voice, but this shows your parents the respect that they deserve. Also, your parents will take you more seriously if you speak in a mature manner with them.
2. Pray for a good opportunity and then speak
Be patient and pray for the Holy Spirit to open the door of their hearts. Think through what and how you want to share. Will it be best to talk to them together or one at a time? Do you want to talk with them at home or over a meal or while fishing… Our Lord will provide the opportunity. Once He does, have the courage to start the conversation.
3. Give them time
Your parents love you! Your news may be a shock for them and they may not understand. Be prepared for a whole range of reactions- joy, anger, disappointment, or sadness. You know that your parents want what is best for you. If you give them some time, they will see that this is truly what is best. This is truly what will make you happiest.
4. Listen to their advice and to your heart
Your parents may want to dissuade you from pursuing Religious Life. Listen with love and respect. Honestly take their words to prayer. You may want to have another conversation with them after you’ve prayed over their thoughts. It is important to remember, though, that this is your It is essential that you follow your conscience. As an adult, you will need to be prepared to respond courageously to the voice of God.
5. Keep them in the loop
Share with them about how your discernment is unfolding- even if they don’t seem interested. Which communities are you visiting? Which parts do you like or not like? Tell them stories and share with them what you are learning. Take them to visit when you get serious about a community. Joy is contagious. At some point, their curiosity will get the best of them and they will want answers to their questions.
6. Pray for them
Remember your parents in prayer every day. Know that they too are on a journey of faith. Our Lord is working in their hearts. Your vocation is a key piece to their growth in holiness. Be assured that God will not be outdone in generosity- your ‘yes’ will be a profound blessing for them! And their ‘yes’ will be a profound blessing for you as well.
Remember that you are only responsible for remaining faithful to the way Our Lord is working in your heart. You must be true to Him and true to yourself. Our Lord has gone to great, great lengths to win your heart. Don’t turn back now! His grace is sufficient; be not afraid. Couragio!
by Sister Faustina O.C.D.
Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles
To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography below and visit their website.
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If you hear God calling you to the religious life, I encourage you to visit their vocations page. – Deacon Mike
Or for more information, please contact:
Sister Faustina, O.C.D., Vocation Directress
920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801