Holy Enough?

Even today, a generation after the (Second Vatican) Council’s affirmation of the universal call to holiness, there is still evidence that some young people do not consider joining the priesthood or religious life because they do not feel that they are “holy enough.”Sr. Patricia Wittberg, S.C., Pathways to Re-creating Religious Communities

I can tell you that this was a fear of mine when I first started to look at religious life. How could I possibly be holy enough?

For one thing, there was a time in my life where I was not going to Mass on Sundays. I had just moved away from home and was trying to discover my faith for myself.

I disliked going to reconciliation, and avoided it at all cost.

Later, when I began look at religious life, I was not attending daily Mass at my parish – it was at 6:30 a.m. I am not a morning person! Plus, I was working 2 jobs.

I thought that I had to be doing these if I was to enter a religious community. That I was not holy enough.

I did pray daily. I went to Sunday Mass and to Mass with my students.

I worked for the church as a Catholic school teacher and volunteered in my diocese for retreats for people with special needs.

I was in my church choir.

But even with those activities, I questioned, “Am I holy enough?”

As I visited and now live with my Benedictine community, I have learned that we are all working on our relationship with God. I believe that is why Benedict says we are seeking God. That is, we listen, and pray, and practice Benedictine values together as we seek – and build our relationship with – God.

We all have good days when we feel as though we are holy enough, and we all have not-as-good days when we say we feel not holy enough – even as religious women. It is a work in progress for all of us, whether we are single, Sisters, married, Brothers, monks or priests.

This is a journey and we are not perfect. Please don’t fear unholiness or inadequacy … just join the club! 🙂

If you feel God may be calling you to religious life, please check it out – even if you doubt that you could be holy enough. And if you want an ear – especially from one who isn’t as holy as she’d like to be – feel free to contact me. I’d love to help!

2 thoughts on “Holy Enough?

  1. Leslie Manning

    When I was a child I would walk to church to sing in the childrens Choir. I had felt the pull then to be celebrating my life with Christ. As time passed I was told my voice, my singing was not good enough for my choir, or my 7th grade choir teacher. I was crushed and felt the tie to God through my voice was severed. If I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up I would always I am going to be a Nun. But the shame of having a terriable singing voice and boys, I left the idea in the past with my childhood dreams. Although my prayers, and constant contact with God was whispered or silent, underground went the dream to be a Nun became secret and burried. Now as an aging adult I regret not following what I knew I was inside me – the daily devotion to spend it in prayer while my hands worked. While I am sure I am not holy enough or young enough, as well as a bad singer, it does not matter to God for He is with me now. Perhaps its time we talk.


  2. Sister Stefanie

    Hi Leslie,

    Thank you for sharing. As you were talking about singing, I thought about the joy it gives me. I am always saying that it doesn’t matter what your voice sounds like, as long as you are praising God. I just did a bulletin board in my classroom that says, “All God’s Creature have a place in the choir!” I believe that to be true. I know in my community we have beautiful voices and not-so-beautiful voices, but we still chant and praise together because God loves us as who we are.

    I am sorry that your dream went underground. That does happen to us at times. But you never know when God will call you back to your dream. There are many communities and option out there for many people of all ages. So I would advise you, if you are interested, to check things out. You never know where God will lead you!

    The journey in life with God is amazing. I know Sister Bobbi would be happy to talk with you. She may be able to help you out with your dream. Or, if you’d rather just chat with me, email me at smacdonald@smmsisters.org. Keep dreaming and God Bless.

    Sister Stefanie


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