What, you’re not getting married?

Your family may not understand your call

By Sister Dominga Zapata, S.H.

In the Hispanic culture, maternity seems to be the highest thing a woman can desire. A woman becomes a real woman, so to speak, when she is a mother. This is the principle of life, so sacred in our community. You could say that the center of the Hispanic family is the mother.

The mother is the one who carries the family forward; she is the one deserving of all respect. She is the bearer of life from the author of life, God. It is easy to see why Hispanics are so devoted to Mary: Mary is the prototype of the bearer of life. She is the model for all mothers.

All this is a great value, an acknowledgement of the sacredness of life, and a sign of hope. It creates, at the same time, a great family bond. That is why it is also such an important part of the process of vocational discernment. For a young woman thinking about her religious vocation this is among the most difficult decisions she has to make: giving up the possibility of being a mother.

For many Hispanic families who admire religious women for their generous self-giving—which approaches the self-giving of a mother—the option of not becoming a physical mother is hard to understand because it seems “unnatural.”
Another reason the Hispanic family might find a religious vocation difficult to accept is the fact that the growth of the family might become more limited, particularly if the young person is an only child.

For the young man considering his religious or priestly vocation, one of the most difficult challenges—aside from renouncing having a family—is leaving behind family and particularly, the mother. If leaving family and country is difficult for anyone, for the Hispanic male it is even more difficult because it means leaving his mother.

The power of a vocation, the strength of the faith, the certainty of the family unity despite the physical distance, and the presence of a strong new spiritual family are elements that help people respond to a religious vocation, in the certain hope that the reward is a hundredfold.

Your turn

If God were calling you to a religious or priestly life, what could help you in taking this step of leaving you natural family or renouncing to be a parent yourself?

¡Oye! 2006


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