Why would someone want to be a priest, sister, or brother?

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Tuesday 04, January 2011 | Category:  
“I’m working on a religious study project and I'm stuck on this question.” —Ann V., U.K.

For as many people who are called to religious life (sisters, nuns, monks, brothers) or to ordained life (priests, deacons) there are as many reasons why they are called to that particular way of life! Ask a religious brother or a contemplative nun or a married deacon and you’ll get a variety of responses as to why she or he chose that specific vocation. Often, however, you’ll hear common threads in their responses:

• A desire to give oneself wholeheartedly to God
• A passion for ministry and outreach
• A love of the Catholic faith
• A sense of the movement of the Holy Spirit
• A commitment to a prayerful way of life

In addition to these you’d find that each particular way of life has additional attractions—women and men in religious life are often drawn to community living as celibate persons; deacons and priests have a passion for serving within parish communities and dioceses; hermits desire solitude with God, and so on.

So there are many reasons (and sometimes it may even seem as if there’s not even a whole lot of reason!) why people become priests or hermits or sisters. But just like people who are called to marriage or single life or lay ministry, it all comes down to how the Spirit is moving in a person’s life and inviting them into a lifelong commitment to relationship with God and service to the world.

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