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Dear Edith

Dear Edith Response #2 – Philippa

FemCatholic Dear Edith Q&A on being single as a gift and vocation for catholic women

Read the original question here.

Dear Jessica,

Yes and no.

‘Vocation’ comes from the Latin root for ‘call’. But being single is a state of life, like marriage. They are both natural states of life, and most people end up getting married, regardless of whether they feel ‘called’ to it or not.

And yet every person who has become a priest or consecrated person (like monks, nuns and friars) has experienced a very definite ‘call’ from God to that life. Without exception.
Some married people have felt a strong ‘call’ to marry a particular person, and for them, their marriage to this person has a strongly vocational meaning.

Some single people have experienced that sense of ‘call’ also, to remain unmarried and pursue a particular career or path, even if it doesn’t involve consecration or religious life.

Where does this leave singles who don’t feel called to singleness? Pretty miserable, in my experience. Especially when well-meaning fellow Catholics tell them that they have a vocation to singleness, when they feel nothing of the sort.

The solution to this mystery is found in Matthew 6:33. Every one of us has been told what to do – to seek the Kingdom of Heaven first, and all other things will come in their right order and due time.

Every one of us has been told what to do – to seek the Kingdom of Heaven first, and all other things will come in their right order and due time.

That’s the true vocation of every Christian, married or single. Do this, and the whole spouse ‘problem’ may turn out not to be a problem after all.

There is no harm in praying for a spouse, and/or actively seeking one, if you find singleness is not for you. It’s also good to explore and heal the things that may be holding you back from real happiness, with or without a spouse. And yes, if you want to receive singleness as a gift from God, and think of it as a vocation, go ahead.

Ask God what He wants of you. This is seeking the Kingdom of Heaven in the best and most direct way. And keep asking, and keep listening. If there is any kind of ‘call’, that way, you will actually hear it!


Philippa Martyr is 47 years old, has never married, and also flunked out of religious life at the age of 38. There is NOTHING she doesn’t know about being a single Catholic woman. She is still seeking the Kingdom of Heaven, and can also make fettucine by hand. Her favourite thing is writing.

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