Parents' perspectives on a Catholic vocation journey
There have been a couple of great vocations posts over at Aleteia in the last few months and I thought they were worth passing along. Both were written by Matt Wenke and they give insights into his journey as a parent who saw a child called to religious life.
The first is called When I prayed for vocations, I didn’t mean God could have my daughter! What I appreciate about the piece is that Matt is utterly candid when he talks about how he felt.
If other men’s daughters expressed an interest in the convent or the cloister, I wouldn’t have questioned it at all. I would have been respectful of their choice and genuinely happy for them. “What a noble and beautiful vocation!” or, “What a meaningful life with a holy purpose!” I no doubt would have thought.
When I heard of my own daughter’s interest in the cloister, my immediate thought was, “Oh, my gosh, I hope you get a vacation… how often can you come home to visit?”
Isn’t it sad that my first thought wasn’t about Nora’s vocational fulfillment and spiritual well-being? My initial thought was that I might be missing my daughter’s presence in my home, and her gentle, delightful company.
His honesty continues as he lays bare his struggles with giving his daughter up to God. Take a few moments and read the rest of his story.
Recently he published a companion piece called So your loved one has become a religious…now what? This is written from his new perspective a little further along the journey.
One of the consolations, he’s found, is that he has been able to experience his daughter’s community.
Best of all, the Sisters graciously welcome us at the monastery twice per year for three day visits — with very liberal visiting times. These visits are a joyful reunion, punctuated by her prayer times, to which we are invited and in which we love to participate. In the chapel, we have a chance to praise God together, and get a sense of Frances Marie’s everyday life.
Ironically, in “losing” our daughter to a cloister, our “family” has grown! It is an absolute pleasure to “touch base” with the entire community as part of our visit. The sisters have become true family to us. Our concerns and burdens are theirs and theirs are ours. In the parlor the sisters show themselves as joyful, even playful women of all ages; they are witty and funny, seriously prayerful, reflective and wise.
As with the first article, there is much more to Matt’s story. It, too, is worth the time to read.
–Dad (of Evan)