Saturday, April 25, 2015



Many women do not feel called to the married state or the religious life.  

There is nothing wrong with this.  However, I have noticed that a great number of people are embarrassed to be labeled as “Old Maids”.  In fear of being ridiculed about being single, they try to join the religious life or get married, regardless of whether it is their vocation or not.  

Yet, we should never run away from our fears, and the single life is certainly nothing to be ashamed of.  

In fact, sometimes single women support our society more than those who are married or religious!  The general populace can relate more to a woman in the world trying to live a virtuous life than that of a religious, and take her more easily as an example in life.  Also, a single woman can often help a number of families at the same time, who might not be able to make everything work out by themselves.  

The Most Reverend Father Lasance's explains these matters quite well in his book, The Catholic Girl’s Guide. So I will below what he has written, in the hope that it may be of benefit to others.

The So-called “Old Maids” LXXVIII

A young girl may feel herself called neither to marry nor to become a Religious, but she may determine quite voluntarily to preserve her virginity while living in the world.  In accordance with this resolution she may reject all offers of marriage, even the most advantageous.  To those for whom virginity has an attraction the all-wise Creator gives, as a rule, a desire for the Religious life, because it is in the cloister that virginity can be most easily and most surely preserved.  Women who live in the world in a state of celibacy are, as a rule, those who, for some reason or other, have been prevented from either marrying or entering the cloister.

How often it happens that young girls are prevented from going into Religion!  Many a one has longed from her childhood for the life of the cloister, has passed her youth in piety and innocence, has made every effort to attain the object of her desire, knocking at the door of one convent after another, but everywhere meeting with refusal.

Either she was found to have some mental or physical infirmity which made her unfit for the cloister, or she had duties to perform toward ages and inform parents, or younger brothers and sisters, who were dependent upon her for support, or perhaps her character was unsuited for convent life, and so on.

It is no small trial for her, and many a secret tear does she shed because God has seen fit to refuse her the object of her ardent desires.  Ought she on this account to be disconsolate?  Certainly not; for God orders all things for the best.  But why did He implant a longing for the cloister in her heart if this longing was never to be satisfied?  It is plain that He acts thus in order to increase her merits.  To find herself obliged to relinquish all hope of attaining the desired goal is the greatest and most painful of sacrifices.  If she makes this sacrifice for the love of God, resigning herself to His will in a spirit of childlike submission, and striving to serve Him faithfully in the world, how great is the store of merit she lays up for herself in eternity!
And maidens like these, to whom the Religious habit was denied, seldom fail to find in the stormy ocean of the world some quiet islet which they may sow and plant, making it as a garden of the Lord, and devoting their life to Him as surely as they could have done in the convent.

A third class consists of those who had felt inclined to the marriage state.  They would gladly have married, but have been compelled, by force of circumstances, to relinquish the idea.  These young women are condemned, as people say, “to single blessedness,” and to become “old maids.”  Such persons should all make a virtue of necessity, and in a Christian spirit recognize the hand of God in the arrangement of the circumstances of their life, submitting patiently to His most holy will.

Divine providence seems to have ordained that a large number of girls should remain unmarried.  Statistics prove that in all nations the number of women considerably exceeds that of men; and of the latter there are many, for instance priests and Religious, who cannot marry and have a family.

Under all circumstances a Christian maiden ought to remain firmly convinced that it is no disgrace to remain unmarried, or to be what is commonly called an “old maid”.  Rather is it an honor and a happiness for her if she is a maid, a virgin, in the true sense of the word, and is recognized as such by the all-seeing eye of God.  And indeed an unmarried woman, a true virgin like this deserves to be held in high esteem, even, and indeed particularly, when her hair has grown gray and her youthful beauty has fled.  She has cheerfully renounced that which most persons regard as a great happiness, in order to choose a better part; she courageously treads the path of life alone, a path which so many do not venture to tread without the support and protection of a husband.

It truly requires courage and fortitude to pass through life in such a manner; but the Giver of all good gifts will not deny these qualities to His true servants if they keep eyes and heart fixed upon Him.  Mothers and wives do much for the world, and obtain for themselves no little store of merit, by faithfully fulfilling their duties, by bringing up children to be pious and useful members of society.  But many so-called “old maids” have done quite as much or even more by their advice, their help, their prayers–in a word, their benefactions.

I happened to hear the following account of just such a good and admirable “old maid”: She was not beautiful, it is true, but she possessed the far more valuable gifts of a bright intelligence and an inexhaustible fund of sweetness and kindness of heart.  Her mother died at a comparatively early age, and she had to undertake the task of bringing up a numerous family of younger brothers and sisters.  In the course of time her eldest brother married a wife who knew very little about housekeeping.  Once more the aunt came to the rescue, and instructed her sister-in-law in household matters, doing this with so much prudence and tact that her presence was never felt to be an intrusion.  At a subsequent period the family of a married sister became involved in financial difficulties.  Again the aunt made herself very useful, she went to live in her sister’s house, paid a large sum for her board, and took charge of the children.  After the death of both her brother and his wife she returned to their children, aiding them in every possible way by her wise counsel and more practical assistance.  Thus this “old maid” did as much good in three different families as she would have been able to effect in one had she married.

Leave your future serenely and hopefully in the hands of God, to be disposed of as He shall see fit, and if you are to live unmarried in the world and be called an “old maid” you may say:

Why should I blush to hear that name,
As if a sobriquet of shame?
For know, an old maid though I be,
Some dames would fain change states with me.

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