Families and Vocations
There are over 300 different male and female religious communities in the United States alone. Each of these communities has their own rules and structures that govern their way of life, and therefore, have an impact on the future engagement with you and your child.
The mission of Parents of Vocations is to bring together parents with a child pursuing (or has already received) a religious vocation to address some of the initial questions that pertain to ALL parents and offer a way to engage other parents in similar circumstances.
Meet Tom Kissel
When Parents of Vocations founder, Tom Kissel, first became aware of his daughter’s decision to pursue religious life, he had no idea how her decision and vocation would ultimately become his vocation as well–primarily because of how her new life would forever change how often and for how long he would be able to see his only daughter. As excited as Tom was for his daughter, the reality of letting go to such an extent was heart-wrenching.
Reflections & Shared Wisdom
Your family’s story is unique. Every religious vocation is too.
When your child receives their vocation, it usually is not an event, but an evolving process which you have likely witnessed unfold over time that culminates in a concrete decision to follow the vocational call from God. Your diocese should have a priest or sister...
Praying for our children is nothing new as parents. Praying for a child’s religious vocation is new and sometimes even difficult as it brings many changes to our lives and those of our families. It’s important to remember that we are praying for the will of God in our...
Your child’s discernment is a multi-year process that has milestones along the way. Your support as a parent does not start and end when your child decides to enter religious life or the priesthood. Your support will take on different elements and forms as your child...
Frequently Asked Questions
There are over 300 different male & female religious communities in the United States alone.
Each of these communities has their own rules and structures that govern their way of life,
and therefore have an impact on the future engagement with you and your child. Please
understand that it is impossible, in a general question format, to answer specifics to your
individual situation in this FAQ. The attempt here is to address some of the initial questions
that pertain to ALL parents with a child of religious vocation.
How do we respond when someone says, “You must be so proud”? or “You must be so happy”?
When asked this question the first feeling was actually, one of awe of the child’s courage not a
sense of parental pride. Especially during the early days this is very difficult. You often don’t expect the question and often are not prepared to answer it. It will also come at a time when you have just gotten to a good place mentally only to have it upend your emotions.
Is OK to feel hurt, sadness & loss when my child is doing something so wonderful?
YES! It would be expected that you will feel these emotions and countless others as you process the changes in your life and that of your family. This is not unlike the stages of grief, and everyone will internalize & externalize these stages differently.
What if we are not Catholic parents is this group for us?
Yes! We are a collective group for all parents of children with Catholic religious vocations, with the mission to provide insight, tips, & assistance in embracing our child’s vocational path with support, regardless of the religious faith of the parent(s).
Will my child ever get to come home for visits?
If your child has NOT entered a cloistered community they should get to come to your home for
visits. The frequency and duration of a home visit is specific to the community that your child has joined. There may also be restrictions on what they can and cannot do while home.
Is my child’s community taking the place of our family?
No, the community does not take the place of one’s family although at times it may seem that
way. The communities love our families and embrace the opportunity to become an extension of our families. We have found that, in fact, the sisters have become like family to us.
Why are there restrictions placed on communication and visits?
This is one of the most difficult elements to understand and come to terms with. In short, to
dedicate one’s life completely to the love & service of God, & the community separation is not only required but essential.
Been there done that? You can help!
We are actively seeking parents who have already lived through adjusting to life with a son or daughter with a religious vocation. Regardless of whether your son became a diocesan priest or joined an order or your daughter entered the cloister, we can all learn from one another’s experiences.
There are many parents out there right now at the very beginning of this journey. They have quesitons, they need support and encouragement. Will you join our Facebook community and engage with us to help be the body of Christ to this often overlooked need in the Church?
Reach out directly