I know a lady whose friend thinks she is being called to be a nun. She is about to enter a year-long discernment process to determine if she is indeed being called. If it is anything like the Sisters of Mercy process it could take a minimum of seven years before she is able to fully be accepted as a sister.
Why? Why this long? But then again, wouldn’t it be helpful if all people went through a process to see if they were suited for their professions? I’ve lost track of the number of people I know who spent many years and many more dollars to get an education to get professionally certified; only to find out when they actually entered their chosen field they hated it. They trained to be teachers or nurses and found they couldn’t stand it in reality. When it came time to do the work they were trained for, they found that they didn’t love it.
That is a lot of time and money and energy wasted. A little discernment beforehand would have helped a lot.
Of course, deciding to be a nun isn’t the same as deciding to be a nurse or a teacher. Well, actually it is. A lot of nuns end up doing those very jobs. They are both service jobs.
But nuns don’t get paid. They don’t get to marry. They don’t get to own anything either. There is a lot more commitment to being a nun.
I’ve heard that very few young women are entering the convent these days. Perhaps the Catholic Church should rethink this whole thing.
Let people have 5 year runs. Let young women sign up to serve the poor, the homeless, the sick for five years. During that time their “pay” is room and board, just like regular nuns. During that time they are single, so they can dedicate all of their time to their mission and not a family.
After that time they can leave. It is kind of like the Peace Corps, but with church training and oversight. This would bolster the ranks of the nuns and give young women who want to help a way to do so without the lifetime commitment.
They might also have the opportunity of renewing their contract. Either way, they will have training and on the job experience that can translate into a job in the secular world.
Seems like a winning solution to the shortage of help.