Father Allain Caparas and Sister Jessica Whitman gave a talk recently at Mater Ecclesiae for the Annual C.H.A.P.L.E.T. Catholic homeschool conference. The topic of their talk was "Nurturing vocations in the homeschool: What to do. What not to do."
As today is Vocation Sunday, I feel better about the delay in posting my notes as this is the perfect day for the subject!
I came in after sister had finished speaking and took these notes from Father's talk.
He explained that vocations to religious orders vs. a diocese differ in their defining spiritualities. Comparing them to doctors, he related cleverly that orders are like specialists - working missions or involved in education, or working with the poor. In a diocese, the work is nitty-gritty. A religious there is more like a general practitioner.
Strongly stating that the parent can not push a vocation to religious life, Father went on to give a list of things a family can do to increase the faith of it's members. These are qualities of homes that religious have come out of. These are qualities that make HAPPY and dedicated religious. So...to nurture a vocation a family needs to:
- respect the faith and LIVE the faith
- be generous with time and talents with the Church
- model the value in giving, tithing for instance
- teach discipline and sacrifice
- give chores and responsibilities
- fall in love with the Mass and pray
- teach children to be loving and pray
- be devoted to Our Blessed Mother (Father related that praying the Rosary everyday changed his life)
- foster a desire to learn
- be loving to ALL, the popular and unpopular
- be a part of the Church
- teach good social skills
- encourage listening
- understand what Mother Theresa meant when she said that compassion and thoughtfulness are the beginning to great sanctity.
- enjoy the gift of youth, don't wish childhood away
- for boys, teach them to be deferential to women...chivalrous
- engage in conversations about hopes and dreams but never badger or force religious life - God gives callings.
- doing God's will is #1
- attend discernment group formation
- find a mentor, spiritual director
- pray for your children daily and be a role model of faith
- trust in God!
Father also said that education wise, a priest usually needs a Master's in Divinity. Some orders will take younger candidates without those degrees depending on the work of the order's spirituality and same for sisters, it depends on their work.
As a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, "Traditional Catholicism Is Winning"
supported, Father also concurred that vocations are coming from "traditional, orthodox" parishes with pastoral consistency.
In taking questions from the audience, Sister related that she could recommend Seton homeschool curriculum as it prepared her to be a nun. Father spoke to a mother that was concerned for her children not having as many friends as they might like or have in a bricks and mortar school. He said that those friends might not always be the best for our children. The values shared when our children are together with like-minded friends would strengthen them and support our parenting goals. Not friends just for the sake of friends....
At the end Father and sister both mentioned books that had been inspiring to them, agreeing on the Life of St. Isaac Jogues. Bible reading was, of course, mentioned and for Father the book,
A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe the "Saint of Auschwitz" by Patricia Treece was mentioned as pivotal to him.
The CHAPLET conference (www.Chaplet.org) was, once again, a great experience that revitalized parents in the work of trying to raise children who will love and honor their Catholic faith. Many thanks to the organizers and inspiring speakers.