The Subtleties of Mentoring
By Carole A. Riley CDP
Horizon | A journal of the National Religious Vocation Conference | Winter 2020
USUALLY A 10 p.m. phone call signals a student canceling an appointment. As I answered the telephone, Molly said, “You’re the most spiritual person I know; could I be a nun?”
This 22-year-old engineering student had never called me before, but I have known her informally for several years. Reflecting on her efficient use of words I wondered how long she had rehearsed that one liner. She gingerly described exploring relationships in what I characterize as a counter-cultural celibate fashion. With each sentence, I marveled at the directness of her questions, her precise articulation, the struggle with emotionally deep relationships, her investigation into family history, and her emerging spirituality. She has become disillusioned with organized religion. She goes to church but feels life must mean more than just attending church and living right. As she talked, I realized she didn’t know about religious opportunities—volunteer programs, charisms, life styles, and the ethnic composition of many religious communities.
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Those considering religious life deserve to work with mentors who have prepared for their important role. (Photo courtesy of Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.)