There is often debate about the definition of a profession or a vocation. To have a vocation for something is a sentence that is oft abused. In the main, a career or a profession is something that you have in order to support yourself and to contribute in some way to the good of the society. You don’t need to have an innate spiritualism to choose a career or a profession.
We can all pick, choose and switch profession freely depending on our preferences, strengths or circumstances. A profession or a career always has a horizontal dimension.
Om the other hand, a vocation seems to introduce a vertical dimension to our lives. And that vertical dimension seems to relate to the type of spirituality we possess, or whether we possess one or not.
In the times we live in and the increasing importance that we place on positive mental health and mindfulness, the role of a vocation seems to be one that is becoming more relevant and desirable.
For the religious orders that live in this city, it is equally relevant.
The Franciscan community at Galway Abbey recently welcomed their new guardian — Fr David Collins from Cork. Fr. Collins has been a member of the Franciscan Order since 2008 and he succeeds Fr. Patrick Younge who was in the role for the past six years.
As a younger member of the Order he sees the Franciscan and Poor Clare vocations as more relevant than ever in a society that is rapidly changing and where values are becoming more centred on the self.
“Even though Francis and Clare both lived in the thirteenth century, it could be said that their life experience paralleled many of the aspects of Irish society today and the experience of young people. Both Francis and Clare came from wealthy families; Francis initially was ‘one of the lads’ and squandered a lot of money having a good time; but over time he began to search and look for something deeper in his life – something which gave meaning and purpose.
“This he eventually found it in his encounter with God through prayer and in the poor and marginalised. St Clare, was also inspired by God, and felt motivated to pursue the same Gospel vision which Francis felt called to follow.
‘I think that the approachability associated with the Fransciscan spirit can be seen very much in the numbers of people who still come to both the Abbey and the Poor Clares. The number of people who drop in to the Abbey or who call to the monastery for prayers in their time of need shows that there is a hunger among people for a witness to values that point to God and hope and a life beyond what we experience now.’
Upcoming Cloister Day
In recent years the sisters have held Cloister days to give young women the opportunity to experience a day in the monastery in order to explore the possibility of a Poor Clare vocation.
“These experience days are very worthwhile’ says Sr. Faustina, the vocations promoter for the community.
“The young women who are discerning find it very helpful to meet others who are on the same path in an atmosphere that is relaxed but private. And of course it gives them a first introduction to what the life of a Poor Clare entails.’
“A novice was received earlier this year and a postulant is expected in the near future. In recent years a number of young men have joined the Franciscans and there are currently ten men at different stages of formation, with a further three joining the postulancy in September,” she added.
The next Cloister Day at the Poor Clares (for women between the ages of 21 and 40 who are discerning religious life ) will take place on Saturday, September 16 from 10am-5pm.
To book a place contact Sr. Faustina at [email protected]
For information on vocations to the Franciscans, vocations director Br. Pat Lynch OFM can be contacted at [email protected] / 086 1346267