The Laments of Liabilities in Discerning Religious Life

I’ve mentioned on here before that although I want to get to know what it’s like to be a nun more, I haven’t exactly been provided with opportunities to do so. I do have a wonderful nun who acts as my spiritual director, but she’s told me that pursuing religious life would be harder for me because I have more liabilities. What are my liabilities, you ask? Mainly the fact that I have autism and that I have a long list of food allergies. 

When I told a few orders about myself as part of the interview process for come-and-see events, they told me outright that I wouldn’t be considered as a potential sister. One order even said that I wasn’t qualified to go to the come-and-see retreat they were hosting.

I know everyone’s praying for an increase in vocations but it’s kind of hard when convents and monasteries feel more like a VIP nightclubs. I get that I’m socially awkward. I get that being in a convent is a completely different lifestyle change and for people with autism, the process of adjusting would take a long time. What really bugs me is that these people decided to slam the door before they even saw my face.

And I’m not the only one who faces this problem. More than a few young adults who identify themselves as under the LBGT+ spectrum also face rejections from religious orders just on the basis that they have same sex attraction. These Catholics could be living chaste lifestyles, but their sexual orientation becomes a liability instead of an opportunity to further understanding.

Locked_Gates_Occupy_Harvard

 

I’m not asking for religious orders to be as open as Grand Central Station. Nor am I asking for them to give people who may not fit the usual mold any special treatment. I’m just asking to give those who seek to understand religious life a chance. Get to know all those who desire to be a nun, a monk, or a priest as individuals. What people call “liabilities” are still parts of our lives. And if there’s anything we know, it’s that God has a way of turning what the world sees as a liability into a strength. After all, love is an open door and besides that…

“Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody, Moses stuttered, Abraham was old,… and Lazarus was dead. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED!”

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