Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fruits From Same Garden

Last month I was at an ordination for a priest who has a younger sister in Religious Life. I was amazed at the "coincidence" but Sister Theotokias told me that this is actually a more common occurrence than I thought. She reminded me that 2 sets of the original 12 disciples were brothers. There is even a name for it "Fruits from the same garden."

People think that when multiple siblings enter the priesthood or religious life it has to do with the parents, or a younger sibling "coping" the older one. (I think the Little Flower ran into this belief). But our vocations are very mysterious and individual gifts. Often God "clusters" vocations to religious life and the priesthood in the same family for His own Holy Reasons.

I was happy, but not so surprised when Father Gary put this story on Facebook --three brothers from Wisconsin all joined the priesthood. Go Cheeseheads!


  1. I agree that vocations are mysterious and individual gifts; but I can't help wondering whether there is still some element of influence from parents and siblings. Not so much "copying" as a receptivity. It is easier to listen to God when you are in an environment that is conducive to listening. Some families seem to be better at creating that environment. Some parishes too.

    We are always free to say "no" to God. And sometimes we are so busy with our own concerns we don't even stop to ask God about his plans for us. But a parent or priest who takes the time to help a young person learn how to listen. Or who plants a seed. Or who just doesn't actively discourage a young person who is beginning to discern a vocation... I think that can be a sort of tipping point. It can help a person who has received a call to be open to saying yes.

    Certainly in looking at Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin you see parents who were also very involved in listening to God and seeking his will. That must have influenced their daughters to some degree, don't you think?

  2. Interesting! My husband's late uncle was a priest, and his late aunt was a nun (brother and sister) so I have always wondered about this.