For Parents Religious Life is a Sacrifice and a Gift A religious vocation is God’s gift to an individual, to the Church, and also to that individual’s family, but that does not make it any less of a sacrifice. We are so grateful to our parents and family members who join us in making the offering of our lives to God. The parents of our Sisters are the community’s greatest benefactors, and we daily remember them and all our family members in our prayers. Common Questions and Concerns Some common questions and concerns from parents often include: How often will we get to see our daughter?How restricted will our communication be, and why?Will she really be fulfilled in the religious life?Will her personality and gifts be stifled? Can she come home or go on trips with us?What if she is making a mistake in this choice? These are good questions to ask and understandable concerns. Religious life is a radical choice to live entirely for God and it impacts every facet of a person’s life. This can be hard for families to understand and adjust to. However, it helps if families better understand the reasons behind certain customs and practices common to our consecrated life. How often will we see our daughter? Every community has different customs and practices. Our community has the custom of two family visits a year at the convent throughout the years of formation. This provides families with the opportunity to visit with their daughter and get to know the other Sisters. This gives them a taste for the new life their daughter is embracing. How restricted is communication and why? The Sisters do not send or receive personal emails, nor do they have a presence on any social media. This is in order to give us the time and space to set our focus on God and to remain united with Him in and outside of our scheduled prayer time. We receive phone calls from our families on Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and some other specified days throughout the year. Our primary communication with family members is through letter writing. While this is a sacrifice, we have an even greater sense of gratitude and meaning to the times we do have to visit with our families, and it often increases the depth of our relationships with them. Will she be fulfilled in religious life? God has a plan and a purpose for every human being. We are most fulfilled and experience the most happiness when we embrace His will for our lives. When God calls someone to religious life it is out of his love for them. If your daughter is called to belong entirely to God, then that is where she will be most happy. A vocation is not freedom from the cross but joy in embracing it as a means to eternal life. Will her personality and gifts be stifled? Each person is created with unique gifts. When God calls someone to a vocation, whether that be marriage, priesthood, or consecrated life, he calls the whole person. It is true that some gifts are surrendered to him and may not be used in ways we expect, but they are not lost. They are elevated because they are offered. Many of our sisters use their gifts and talents in community life and the apostolate! Likewise, everyone’s personality is a gift from God. Far from being a life which restricts, religious life nurtures authentic possession and expression of oneself. What if she is making a mistake? It is never a mistake to be open to God’s will. However, the Church in her wisdom has instructed religious orders to allow for a sufficient time of discernment and formation within the first years of consecrated life. This is for the purpose of discerning whether or not the young person is truly called to the consecrated life within a specific community. The candidate, or young Sister, is not left on her own to navigate those waters. The community is there to support her as she continues to remain open to God’s grace in her discernment process. At any point she is free to leave, should she decide that God is calling her elsewhere. Can she come home for a visit? During the years of postulancy, novitiate, and junior profession the Sisters do not make home visits. Instead the families of the Sisters come to the convent for their family visits. However, in the case of serious illness or death, permissions are readily granted for visits to the family. After final profession the Sisters alternate between visiting their families at Casa Maria Convent and going home for their family visits. Sr. Rita Marie with her sister and nephewSr. Mariana with her brother.Sr. Madeleine Marie with her grandmother.Sr. Mary Faustina and her family.