Monday, July 4, 2011

Raising a Vocation

The year was 1881 and the location was the small town of Lu, Italy. Many of the mothers in this time and place had a deep desire that one of their sons would become a priest or that their daughters would enter religious life. They decided to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration every Tuesday and receive Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month for this intention, and then pray the following prayer:

“O God, grant that one of my sons may become a priest! I myself want to live as a good Christian and want to guide my children always to do what is right, so that I may receive the grace, O God, to be allowed to give you a holy priest! Amen.”

The result of this trusting openness to God's will and the joyful living of their Christian faith brought about 323 priests and religious all from Lu, Italy by the year 1946. The holiness lived by these women allowed their children to hear and respond to the voice of God calling them to a religious vocation. (from Catholic Culture)

This picture is indeed unique in the annals of the Catholic Church. From 1 to 4 September 1946, the majority of the 323 priests and religious met in their village of Lu for a reunion which attracted world-wide attention.

I am tremendously blessed that my oldest son is discerning a call to the priesthood and it was not due to my time in Eucharistic Adoration or any special prayers, but simply through the grace of God. Yet, I am certainly willing to take up the practices of these mothers in long-ago Italy and will encourage others to do so as well, not only for John's possible vocation but for all those who are discerning a call to the priesthood and for an increase in vocations to all religious life. But, John's not a priest yet, and the road to the priesthood is long and difficult, full of hard work,worry, fear and "what if's" such as what if he changes his mind or what if he's not accepted to the seminary. I worry that my deepest hopes for John's future might not actually be God's hopes for him at all and I may be setting myself up for disappointment. Letting go and letting God take charge is a challenge indeed.

Still, there is no denying the fact that the Catholic Church is in desperate need of good and holy vocations, whether or not they come from my family or from yours. I consider it a tremendous blessing that all women and men, whether or not they are parents, have the ability to pray for an increase in vocations, to pray for specific young men and women who feel called to the religious life and to pray for the families of those whose sons or daughters are learning to give their lives to God.

John recently attended St. Francis de Sales Seminary's "Is It I, Lord?" Camp for high school boys discerning a call to the priesthood. This was the fourth year that he attended Seminary Camp. He always calls the experience "the highlight of his summer" and comes home with a fire burning brightly in his heart and soul no matter how weary he may be upon the beginning of the camp. This summer John is working two jobs so believe me when I say that he was plenty weary at the start of camp!

It was two years ago when John returned from camp that he announced he would be writing his own blog. I wasn't entirely thrilled with the idea of my then 15 year old son having a presence on the internet, I worried like all mothers do, but with John's insistence and much prayer, he began Writings of a Boy Discerning God's Call and has kept it up for these past two years. Currently, he is working on a series about his experiences at this year's camp and has solicited guest posts from some of his fellow campers of which there was a total of 22 young men this year! Kenny, one of John's friends from camp has recently begun to write his own blog as well, called God Alone Sufficeth. Please pay a visit to his excellent and well-written blog and please keep all of the young men who have attended both the junior high and high school camps in your prayers as they continue to discern God's call for their lives. Perhaps you, too, will pray for an increase in vocations to your community like the mothers in Lu, Italy and find yourself blessed with an abundance of holiness and religious vocations!

Please visit Handmaids of the Precious Blood to learn more about how you can help pray to strengthen those who are already priests. H/T Joe at Defend Us in Battle.

Joining Holly at A Life-size Catholic and Paying it Forward!


  1. I always pray for priests but lately I've felt compelled to pray for seminarians and those discerning a vocation as well. I will add the boys to my intentions. I visited both blogs. It's so edifying to come across that kind of burning commitment in such young men. I know you must feel so blessed Anne. I can think of no greater honor than to be the mother of a priest or religious nun. God Bless!

  2. Thank you so much for your prayers TLW!

  3. WOW! I'm in awe of you, your son, the camp, and all those in the discernment process.

    I have visited the blogs of both boys, and they are amazing. You most be so proud. I will be praying for them as they continue to discern God's call.

    Many blessings!

  4. We (my family) are not Roman Catholic but my youngest feels a similar call. He has known that God was calling him to ministry since he was a young teen. At first he thought perhaps youth ministry, later missions, more recently it has been further refined to missions in the middle east (among Muslim people). Not an easy call to be sure! And even though it is hard to let him go ... I praise God for the loving servant heart that He has put in my child and ask for grace to let him go (without guilt) wherever God may call him!

  5. With all boys in my house, I do find myself praying that God might call one of them to a priestly vocation.

    So glad to find you via the Pay it Forward meme. I always love to 'discover' a new to me Catholic blogger and follow (via GFC, of course!)their journey to heaven.

  6. Anne,

    LOVE this post! It really was an encouragement to me today :) I wrote about it over at my blog. I didn't link to your son's blog directly, but I linked to here, so if they want to go see his blog too, they can come through here first! Tell him thanks for sharing his journey, so beautiful!! And thanks for encouraging him and us :)