I’ve been discerning a religious vocation as a Benedictine nun and my live-in interview finally got scheduled. For those who aren’t down with the discernment lingo, a live-in is a person who feels called to life in a certain community and wants to try the life on before making any official commitment. It isn’t a necessary step in becoming a nun.
With the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, live-ins have a room in the same area of the monastery as the postulants and the novices. They earn their keep by either having a regular job and paying rent or working for the community. They live their lives very much like a sister, but they still have the freedom to come and go as they please. They haven’t taken any vows yet.
To get into the live-in program, you have to have visited the community enough to show that you’re interested in the life. Once you’ve expressed your interest in the live-in program, you get a fairly simple, two-page application. You also need two references, a spiritual one and a personal one. After the vocation director gets your application and reference letters, she puts you in contact with whoever is going to give you your interview. With the Benedictines in VA, that’s the sub-prioress, Sr. Glenna, who runs the counseling program (one of the community’s ministries) and has a psych background.
I sent in my application on April 2. My spiritual reference arrived a few days later. It took something like a month and a half for my best friend to get my personal reference in. I was tempted to do some rather un-nunnish things to him for taking so long. After both my references got in, Sr. Vicki, the vocations director, gave Sr. Glenna my e-mail address so that we could set up my interview. On Friday, when I still hadn’t heard from her, I called Sr. Vicki to see if there were any issues. Very quickly we figured out that Sr, Vicki accidentally misspelled my e-mail address. After a couple of quick e-mails, I got scheduled to be interviewed on June 10 at 10:00 am!!
I’m in North Carolina right now and will be back in the Richmond, VA area on June 9. I told Sr. Glenna that sooner would be preferable to later for the interview. Needless to say, I was thrilled that she could schedule it so soon and only about a twenty minute drive from where my parents live, rather than at the monastery about two hours away from my parents house.
Now, I just need to get through the interview alive. The interview is mostly just to make sure that I’m earnestly seeking God, not trying to join the sisters to run away from “the real world”, and that I’m not a complete nut. I’m nervous as all get out and get a little dizzy thinking about it. I have a couple of other friends that I’ve met during my discernment who have gone through the interview already and have said that it’s not that bad. They’ve also said that talking to Sr. Glenna is waaaay too comfortable and they all found themselves wondering “why did I just say that?” For one of them the interview lasted four hours. Ahh! I don’t want to talk about myself for four hours!
In all honesty, I’m mostly excited about this. I really do feel called to Benedictine life and I believe that if God wants me to be there, then that’s where I’ll end up. That being said, there’s still that nice, fun undertone of irrational nervousness that I get before any interview.