priests) met with some form of parental opposition to their vocation.
ONE can only reconcile these two apparently opposite facts by realising that the good Catholic parents, while admiring the priesthood or the call to he a nun, reel in horror when their darling Elsie announces her intention to join the Poor Claret.
This is one situation when the old adage of "You are not losing a daughter—you are gaining a convent" cuts no ice, and many a nun or monk have the joy of their profession or clothing saddened by the knowledge that it has caused sorrow to their parents.
It is a common factor in the lives of the saints — fathers and uncles and brothers chasing the would-be monk, whom they thought would be a shining light in secular affairs, and mothers and fathers forcing daughters to marry a suitor. generally well-endowed with worldly goods, when all the poor girl wanted was to dedicate her life directly to God.
Priests, whose job requires them to he more knowledgeable of the human heart, say that the woman who will openly admire the daughters of a neighbour who all go off to be nuns. may in her secret heart think them a bit queer, and feel even more ill at ease if her own daughter wishes to "bury herself in a convent."
Hopping over the gate
THIS idea of entombment, of dust and decay settling in the folds of the
minds of those who arc not even Protestants. So it is with the religious life — an atmosphere, a deeply buried prejudice, a halfexpressed fear, may blind the parents' eyes to the real life, and the real vocation awaiting their children.
It is this unspoken prejudice which such things as the Vocation Exhibition opening this weekend in Manchester may help to break down. It helps to take the mystery out of vocations. and gives parents and children a better idea of the many ways of life in which God may be served in this world.
Good health is essential
WHILE the parents do not provide the vocation, which can only come from God, they can try to the best of their ability to rear children, who. on growing up, are capable of receiving, and accepting, this call to a dedicated life.
The qualities required in a religious arc the right intention and good health. No order of religious barring the Congregation of Jesus Crucified, which is specifically for sick or handicapped women, will accept an ailing postulant, though it is quite all right if you weaken at the knees afterwards—you arc then one of the family.
cherish the thought that one day Designs of So the mother and father who cherish the thought that one day Designs of So the mother and father who
a member of their family may become a priest or nun, should first of all cherish the health of their children.
Prayer for vocations, and the Faith lived deeply are two obvious things—and reverence for the religious state in word and deed is something which does not seem so obvious at first, A child who hears mummy saying "Ooh! Those nuns!" fairly often will not necessarily wish to join them.•
Generosity of will
GENEROSITY of will is a quality often mentioned. Into that one phrase you may pile all the qualities which take years of character training. love and knowledge on the part of the parent.
In fact, studying this matter of vocations, it appears that the parents must be excellent as parents, and their children will then be the stuff that vocations are made of.
Finally. Pope John sums it all up. Speaking of his own call to the priesthood he said recently, "We owe a great part of Our priestly and apostolic vocation to Our family—not really as poor as it has pleased some to describe it, but rich above all in heavenly gifts. We owe this to the example of Our good parents, father and mother, which is always imprinted on Our heart, and to the atmosphere of kindness, simplicity and honesty which We breathed from early childhood."
THE 16 Designs of the Year have been chosen by the Council of Industrial Design, and are now on show at the Design Centre.
The Atlas Fluorescent Kitchen Lamp which is in my own kitchen, 1 recognised as an old friend. in more exclusive surroundings. My only criticism is that it tends to be erratic in starting, and the ballast collects dust.
The Flamingo chair. shown in -purple upholstery. costs £30. It was tested by several reporters. both thin and fat, all of whom liked it, but one found the arms rather low.
Lastly. I would mention Mandate, a carpet pattern which has a peculiar luminescent quality created by the clever grading of the wools. It is available in either deep red or blue—just right for a sanctuary was somebody's comment.
This remark was strangely appropriate, for although Mandela is a Sanskrit word meaning magic circle, it includes all concentric figures, and is one of the oldest known symbols in the East used as an aid to contemplation, there have been Christian mandates dating from the Middle Ages-showing Christ in the centre with the Evangelists at the cardinal points. This idea is often seen in stained glass work. The design is said to he associated with peace and harmony. and harmony it certainly has.