Friday, December 11, 2015

Coming Back

A year ago, I left the Convent. A year ago I surrendered the habit that I had accepted only a few months before. I surrendered to God's almighty Will when I entered and submitted again that day, realizing that it was His will that I leave. 

I said goodbye to my Sisters. I said goodbye to the place that I had called home, that I thought I would inhabit for the rest of my life. I cried as I dressed in lay clothes, as I saw how butchered my hair looked. I hugged Sr. Katherine as I loaded my suitcase back into dad's car. I lowered my head in shame as we drove by the chapel parking lot, where the school children were playing. I didn't want them to see me as I left. I struggled to readjust to the world, its noise, its pride. I felt shame and confusion about who I was turning out to be, and that I had been wrong about my vocation. It was a hard day.

Now a year later I can look back on all of the good times too. I remember all of the laughs I had in the Convent, all of the happy memories with the Sisters and the friends of the Center. I also can see how far I've come and how much I've grown since then. A lot has happened, and I thank God that He has given me the chance to live this life. 

This isn't what I imagined I'd be doing, but I'm glad I'm where God wants me to be. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sail On

It hurts to see pictures of Sisters. I wish I still was one.

It hurts to see smiles framed by habits.

Sometimes I feel some envy for Sisters, even Priests. I feel sadness that I did not succeed in the Convent. I lost my opportunity at living in community as a Religious.

I try to cover up my sadness, my regret, with a smile. I constantly tell people that I'm over it, but I know full well that I'm not. A drive through Vermont reminded me of the rolling hills of Still River that I used to wake up to outside of my cell window. I found tears streaming down my face as I begged God to release me from the torment, the despair. I don't want to regret leaving. I don't want to doubt where God is leading me.

I miss riding the golf cart in my habit, my veil flying behind me. I miss grand silence. I miss the bell that summons the Sisters to rise in the morning, the only thing that breaks the stillness. I even miss morning meditation - I never was a morning person - when I would begin to nod off while reading. I miss the laughs during breakfast after silence is ended. I miss isolating myself in the recreation room, playing hymns on the piano out of tattered books. I miss the surprise of what task I would get each day. I miss it. I regret leaving, but I know that if I were still there I would regret my stubbornness. 

I'll admit it. Sometimes I think I should discern another Convent. Maybe I should have been cloistered. Maybe I should have been in an order that is less strict. Maybe I didn't give it my best shot. Lately I've been entertaining the idea of a Third Order vocation. Sometimes I forget about how badly my soul hurt while I was there. Often, I beat myself up for not staying. 

I think about the future a lot. I think about getting married, having children. I worry about the future a lot. I worry about how to tell my children that their mother was in the convent. I'm worried that, as children do, they'll tell their friends at school and be made fun of because "that's weird." I'm worried that I'll have a hard time finding a husband to begin with. I'm not antisocial. In fact, I'm more social now than I ever thought I would be. But I'm still worried. It's hard around here.

Once someone knows you were in the Convent, you automatically become a spectacle. You're a rarity. 

I've refrained from telling my new coworkers that I was in the Convent. It's just easier that way. It's easier than constantly fielding questions about what it was like, why I entered, and worse yet, why I left. It may be a big part of who I am, but I'm still not ready to face myself. It's hard. I want to share happy stories about the Convent, but the feelings that go with those stories and the other memories outweigh the happiness, and so I stay quiet.

I have shied away from talking to even my spiritual director about it. It just hurts too much. I hate that I can't help but break down into tears when I talk about my feelings. I think that he must think I'm overly emotional, I cry so much. The last time I talked to him about it was the week of my entrance anniversary. He came to visit and anoint my father in the hospital, and he asked me how I was doing. I broke down in tears as I tried to put these feelings into words. Sentences ran together like tears down my cheeks.

I remember one time, not long before I left the Convent, when I just had so much frustration built up in me. During afternoon recreation I did something I hadn't done in years. I laced up my sneakers and took off running. I ran a large loop around the Convent, taking the wooded trail that the Sisters use for hiking and skiing. I'm not in shape. I ran until I couldn't run any more, and then I kept running. I was so angry/frustrated/sad/scared/upset/uncomfortable. I got back to my cell and flopped on the bed, gasping for breath. At one point I thought I was going to pass out or die, and it flashed across my mind to get Sr. Mary Elizabeth (a Sister who is an RN), but I didn't. I just laid in bed until recreation was over. My body was exhausted. My mind never seems to be. I kept brewing.

I heard this song shortly before I entered the Convent. I entered and, as mentioned above, took solace in alone time making music. I played this song in the Convent, when I thought I had found peace. I continued to play it when I realized that the peace had escaped me. I recently picked up my earbuds and took an angry walk outside listening to it. It's been the song stuck in my head, my restless head, for a while. I just want peace.

I'm sorry that my blog has been filled with such depression. I really am an optimistic, funny, bubbly person. But when I can't stop thinking about the Convent and the life I could have had in it, it's all I can write. It's part of who I am. I know that on this blog I don't have to hide myself
. It's a good outlet for me to express some of what I'm feeling.

I will say that I have found some hope from Leonie's Longing and a FaceBook group of women who have left the Convent. The support and prayers have surely helped.

If you or someone you know is struggling after leaving the Convent (or seemingly not struggling), please let them know of those 2 resources. The FaceBook group is private (for obvious reasons), and if they'd like to get in, let me know and I will add them.

Thank you for reading yet another post. God bless you.

Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saints

November 1st is the Feast of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation. This year, it fell on a Sunday, and the Church of St. Joseph's in Troy, NY celebrated in a special way.

A set of vestments were borrowed from St. Theresa of the Child Jesus (Windham, NY) Church, three Priests gathered on the altar, and an estimated 200+ people filled the pews. The Extraordinary Form of Albany is currently using St. Joseph's Church as the site for their Masses (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon). For this community, a Solemn High is a rarity, as gathering and organizing such a Sacrifice is difficult with no designated leader and few Priests that celebrate the Latin Mass in Albany's Diocese. However, with months of organizing among members, the Extraordinary Form was celebrated as a Solemn High.

A young man named Connor served as MC today. Six servers and a thurifer joined him on the altar.

Fr. Richard Carlino, diocesan pastor of St. John the Evangelist (Schenectady, NY) acted as homilist and sat in choir.

James Agnew, Professed member of the Third Order of Carmelites acted as straw Subdeacon. James did much of the organizing for this event.

The Deacon for this Mass was Fr. Michael Flannery, diocesan pastor of St. John the Baptist (Greenville, NY), where other EF Masses have been celebrated.

Acting as Celebrant was Fr. Jeff L'Arche, MS, who also celebrated his 40th anniversary of Priesthood this past June.

Please see the video below for photos of the event and Fr. L'Arche's celebration of 40 years of Priesthood.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Forgive my emotional posts lately. 

It's been almost a year since I entered the Convent.

I've gone through a lot of things since then.

Being spiritually tormented.
Being spiritually tormented.
Coming home to nothing.
Being spiritually tormented.
Finding a job.
Being spiritually tormented.
Leaving that job.
Being spiritually tormented.
Moving to Albany.
Being spiritually tormented.
Starting my new job.
Being spiritually tormented.

Things are always adding to and taking away from my spiritual torment. I suppose that's part of the Christian journey. But some things hurt more than others.

When I came home from the Convent, it was excruciatingly hard to face people again. Some comments that hurt to this day include "So, you didn't like it after all?" and "You'll regret leaving." Ouch, man.

People don't understand.

But things hurt even when they're not from ignorant people who don't know the Religious life. I've been in a lot of pain due to things that have been done, albeit probably neither premeditated nor intended. I was cropped out of the Sisters' profile picture. I get it, I'm not in the Convent any more. But all that remains of me on the FaceBook page is my left arm. I hid my pain really well at first. I found that while on break at work, and tried to make a joke out of it. It's funny, right? I mean, how many people can say they've been cropped out of a convent's FaceBook profile picture? That makes me a badass, right? No, it makes me a blubbering ex-postulant.

A friend of mine that I met while at the Convent messaged me the other day. "When are you going to come and visit?" I really didn't want to answer but I did. "I don't know." It didn't stop. My torment continued. "Do you want to come to the Bazaar?" This is the same Bazaar that I took part in last year, the weekend after I entered. I helped Sr. Christopher Margaret with the corn dog stand. All I could think was, No. I don't. No no no no no....

People don't understand how hard it is.

Visiting and thinking about the Sisters is more painful than pretending like those two months of my life didn't happen. I visited them a few times after I left, but have since stopped. The last time I saw the Sisters was when their students celebrated Confirmation. A friend and I drove out to see the Sacrament, and the feeling I got being there was that I was not welcome. The Sisters didn't mean it, and I'm sure they didn't know that's how I felt. But I felt like people were looking at me, the girl who left. All I could think was, all the other girls that had come and gone through the Convent (and there were plenty) never visit, and I wonder if that's why. 

People just don't understand.

I've been hanging out with that group of Hispanic Catholic women lately. They invited me over for a get-together and Faith Sharing. The assignment was to find a reading or verse (a lectura) in the Bible and give a testimony about your life according to that verse.

I'll be honest. My prayer life has been beyond wimpy. I've been hiding from God. It just hurts too much to face Him Who put me through all of this.

So I spoke about my time discerning my vocation based off of Isaiah 12:2

I spoke about how I trusted God for three years as I discerned the Religious life, how I trusted Him while in the Convent, and how I trusted Him as I left. But I felt like I was reading out of someone else's story. I feel a lack of trust in God. Where is He bringing me? Speaking honestly, I'm afraid of where He's leading me. The last year, although full of growth, has brought me so much pain. It hurts to talk to God, to tell Him how badly I hurt. I find it hard to spend time in silence with Him. I don't want to think about this.

I don't know why I'm writing this, and I certainly don't understand why I feel compelled to hit Publish. I guess it's partly because I know that very few people know what it's like. It hurts.

I haven't told anyone at my new job that I was in the Convent. I know that as soon as someone learns that fact about me, that they will always look at me as the girl who used to be a nun. There's no getting around that.

Will I ever find love? Will I ever be able to move past the fact that I failed at being a Sister? Will I ever get out of this constant spiritual torment? Will I ever be able to talk to God like I used to, to bare my heart to Him and know that He loves me and has a plan for me? Will I ever be able to accept that plan?

I don't know. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

FUZZBUTTS and other developments


So I'm all moved into my new apartment in Albany! I love it! The location is perfect and the apartment is great! I love being able to decorate on my own and take care of myself. When I was furniture hunting I did my best to be frugal. In total I think I spent less than $300 on all my furniture.

One of the most exciting parts was redoing the kitchen table (accompanied by 3 chairs) that I got off of Craigslist for $40. It started out like this:

and I sanded it down, primed it, and painted it. 

Now it looks like this!

My bedroom is my pride and joy. Every girl's Pinterest has to have a bedroom design featuring fluffy bedding and fluffy rugs. And I made my dream come true.

I got my bed (that includes mattress, box spring, and frame) for $60. It's in perfect condition. The coffee table I have at the foot of my bed I got for just $3. I think my bedside table was only $20. Although not pictured, I got a gorgeous dresser (the only piece of furniture I got from a store!) from TOPS Furniture in Hudson Falls for only $95. Also not pictured is a standing jewelry cabinet that I got on Craigslist for $25.


I have always wanted ferrets. As a kid we had lots of pets. Guinea pigs, dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, fish... But Mom would never let me get a ferret for some reason.

About a week after I moved in, I wandered into PetCo. It just so happens that that weekend they were having a sale on ferrets - 50% off! I fell in love with a cinnamon ferret and I took her home! I got her a multi-level cage and all sorts of treats and toys. I named her Adelaide (Addie for short).

(here she is asleep because it's the only way 
I can get a picture of her that's not blurry)

wookit da fangs

So a week and a half goes by, and I'm dying for another ferret. I swear, they're addicting. So I started to call around to see who had ferrets for sale. They're rather expensive from stores like PetCo, so I preferred to rescue one from a shelter. I called all the shelters in the Capital Region. Not a one had a ferret. I decided to call one back and ask to be notified if any do come in. I called on Tuesday and left a message on their answering machine. While in the waiting room at the doctor's the next morning, my phone rang. It was the humane society! Ironically, four ferrets had been surrendered to them the previous day. I informed them with glee that I would be in later to look and possibly adopt one.

With excitement, a friend and I drove to the humane society, and looked at the ferrets. I fell in love (uhgain) with a sable mask ferret already named Rufus. I paid my $50 adoption fee and we were on our way.

Surprisingly, Addie and Rufus got along really well right away! I put them together in a completely different cage (again, obtained off of Craigslist that very day) and they hit it off. Automatically friends.

snuggle buddies!

So that's what's going on in my life lately. Fuzzbutts and moving. It's a happy life down in Albany so far. I look forward to meeting lots of new people and growing as a person. It's good to be free.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Looking Back Happily

I have dreams, but I have memories and fears too. 

Driving through the Adirondack Park on an audit route this weekend, I found myself passing through Old Forge. Old Forge, the place of many summer family getaways, canoeing on the rivers and lodging in mini log cabins and bed and breakfasts. 

They all started the same. Mom and Dad would pack frantically, at the last minute as was with everything, while my little brother Kamryn and I would gather our books and DVDs. Mom and Dad would load up her green Mercedes SUV, while Kamryn and I would bicker about which side of the car (Mom's or Dad's) each would sit on. A strange premonition of the split my family would suffer only a few short years later. Finally ready, we launched. Soon we would arrive, greeted by log cabins in miniature. 

Those were happy days. Those were filled with wonder, as sparks floated out of camp fires like red hot fireflies. Those days were filled with stories, memories, learning, experiencing. Many times we would emerge from our cabin to find deer grazing around the clearing. Approaching slowly we were able to feed and pet the desensitized creatures while mom looked on, camera in hand. 

Dad had never been an adventurous person, so naturally Mom would take us in the canoes. I remember paddling with her as Kamryn lazed around as if we were servants, as she told us stories about how wild rice was harvested from rivers just like this one fourteen hundred miles away in her native land of Minnesota. 

I've wanted to go back, relive some memories, see some spots, but I hadn't gotten the chance. Unfortunately for me, I was working past dark so seeing places wasn't a possibility this weekend. But on my way there I was struck by how beautiful it is in that area. I pulled over by a small lake to take in the sunset and I realized how blessed I am to live in this beautiful State in which world renown cities cohabitate with hidden beauty such as this. 

I've been thinking a lot lately, initiated by the changes about to happen. Thoughts and memories, both hopeful and morose, have plagued my conscious. Memories of my mother and the relationship I wish I could have with her, worries about my father and his prospect once I move out, regrets based on my lack of presence in Kamryn's life... I know that it's not that I don't care, but that I am not about to let things that I cannot control ruin my future. I'm moving to a bright new promising city, into an apartment of my own. This alone is enough to make me cry with joy. As I went shopping for decor and household items I found my eyes welling up in TJMaxx, realizing that this was the first time that I was making these decisions and choices and advancements on my own. I realized that I was free. I'm an adult. This is my life and I'm building it. I've finally broken from the prison I lived in for so long, living under other people's expectations and realizing that the only ones that mattered were my own and God's. 

This is my life. Not Mom's, not yours, not anyone else's. And I like it like that. 

Monday, August 17, 2015


A lot has been going on in my life lately, and I apologize for not writing for you. I hope you'll understand.

Ever since I came back from the convent, I had dreams of moving down to Albany, starting over, and making a life for myself. Dreams faded once I got my job in Warren County, doing medical billing and A/R. I settled. I settled because I had to. I had nothing to my name but a car and my laptop. I needed a job, and that one seemed like it would do. I took it. I learned it. I mastered it. I loved it. In only five months I had even broke out of the confines of my job description, becoming the sole translator for our many Spanish-speaking patients. I became a sort of a go-to person on my team, answering questions and assisting my coworkers. Far from the top, I at least had a view from somewhere except the bottom. I was making my way.

But it wasn't my dream.

My dream isn't to live in this area. My dream isn't to live with my dad in an apartment in Glens Falls. My dream isn't to stay here. I need to spread some wings. These wings have been folded for so long. Can they still fly?

Climbing the ladder, her breathing quickened...

Stretching out, ever so slowly, I began to look. Just look. 

I crept to the edge of the diving board, peeking over...

An opportunity. I have learned that passing up an opportunity is never a good idea. Take every chance you get. If you don't you'll never advance. So I took this opportunity. An opportunity to live closer to Albany, my destination. I looked at an apartment, talked specs, and signed the lease in one day. I knew if I passed it up, I wouldn't get it back.

Bending knees, she prepared to leap...

OK. I have a place to live near there. Now to find a place to work, to thrive, to climb, to succeed.

I applied. Again and again. Silence for a few days, then calls came in. Three interviews later and I have an offer for employment, a job that will allow me to assist patients and use my knowledge and love of Spanish.

A moment of hesitation, the board quivers...

I got a phone call today, from a lady I met at the Spanish Mass in Albany. You see, I've been trying to expand my horizons. I want to meet new people, make friends, and thrive. You see, that's part of my dream too. So she called me, and we spoke (in Spanish, por supuesto) for a while. She invited me to a women's group that meets after Mass on some Sundays. A great opportunity to meet new people, grow in a community, and learn some Spanish while doing it. I agreed.

Toes curl around the edge of the board...

When I told a wise coworker of mine that I had put in my 2-week notice and was leaving for Albany, she hugged me and shared with me her advice. All of her advice was amazing. One thing really stuck with me. Always say yes. Say yes to everything. A similarly wise person (although in perhaps a different way) once said, "opportunities come once in a lifetime, yo." I refuse to watch them float by. I will jump at a chance to make my dream happen. I will leap towards any step that is even an inch higher. I refuse to be left behind. I started from zero in December and I refuse to be a sob story in the end.


I recently remembered a song that I fell in love with a few years back that holds some special memories for me. One particular memory above others. Driving from Huletts Landing back south, over mountains and over Lake Champlain... The view was majestic, the scenery smelled of heaven. I'll be honest. Listening to this song, the lyrics can't be made out. Here's a tip. Don't look them up. Just think of this. Driving over these mountains, seeing the lake and view expand as you crest the hills... You don't know where the road is taking you. You're progressing, trusting, taking your opportunities as they twist and turn. Keep moving. Keep climbing, sink down a little, climb some more. Twisting, winding, where?

This song makes me cry.

I don't know where I'm going. I'm just heading there. Sounds stupid. But it's beautiful.