For context: most religious orders accept only postulants who are young, cheerful, committed Catholics, and in good physical and mental health. There are very practical reasons for this; just think about the close-knit communal life. So anyway, here's an excerpt from the letter.
We are still celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the Founding of the Nuns. Our first celebration with our Dominican brothers took place on our patronal Feast of Corpus Christi. The former vocation director came and I took the liberty to ask him what to do with all these binders I have of communications with so many women who have inquired about becoming a cloistered nun. He told me to purge all the inquires and to save a few sentences on each so I wanted to share some of the "best" with you:
Inquirer: "I am convinced that I have a true contemplative monastic calling, but I am also a psychiatrically challenged individual. I am wondering if your Order accepts people with such disabilities?"
Inquirer: "Is it ever possible for a woman divorced and with children and grandchildren to become a nun?"
Inquirer: "My first marriage was a mistake, made probably in desperation for a forty-three year old.... a few years later I met my deceased husband who was on his way to Alaska.... After we were married we moved to Alaska and lived here for the thirteen years of our marriage until he died of a brain tumor.... While I am in good general health, I do have knee problems and have to take care of my back... Your web site on the Internet is very interesting and informative but in reading about the formation process of the Dominicans, I realize how old I would be by the time I finished..."
Inquirer: "The truth is that I cannot find my path.... I feel a desire not to speak unless praying or chanting... Do you think this sounds too strange, or that maybe I am called to be a nun?"
Inquirer: "Hello! I am not sure you would remember me but I e-mailed you last year about possibly living the cloistered life.... I find myself in a situation today writing to you yet again for the same reason, only by my own foolishness have complicated my life by getting married just a few months ago... Anything you can say would be most appreciated... I am now 28 and the most miserable ever. Thank you and God bless you. I am sorry for all my troubles."
Inquirer: "I may have contacted you before. My memory is rather poor. I am interested in becoming a Dominican nun, but may be too old. I will attain 50 years of age in December."
Inquirer: "I would like to: #1. Become Catholic and #2. Become a nun. I have had basically no religious training of any sort.... so, a blank book. I am 55 years of age."
Inquirer: This inquirer was 28 and since she lived in Seattle, I called her at 7 p.m. and when she answered, she replied: "I am ill at the moment so could you call me back during regular business hours."
The novice directrix told my roommate that if they accepted everyone who wanted to come, their monastery would be full. :)
I feel bad for the poor impulsive girl who got married. The second-to-last inquirer really piques my curiosity. If she knows nothing about Catholicism, how does she know she wants to be a nun?