Crazy Calls to be  a Priest, Monk or Nun


          When God calls his children to be a priest, nun, friar or monk, he usually accomplishes this by gently coming into their hearts during prayer, quietly tugging on their inmost desires. God gradually conveys to each a sense of His plan for their lives and a longing to give themselves to Him. For example, Mother Dolores Hart, an actress who became a nun after kissing Elvis Presley on the big screen said she realized she could not live life without Jesus. She also explained, “A call can’t be explained any more than you can explain loving someone or falling in love. It’s a reality of life. It takes you into its own way of being. You follow that call because your heart takes you there,” according to an article published by Our Sunday Visitor.

          But other times, God comes in like a lightning bolt at a very specific moment in time, with a miraculous, more explosive call – perhaps with a vision, a dream, or a voice. Those are the crazy types of calls that we have collected for you below. Enjoy.


Harvard Nun: Mary Ann Marks, who graduated from Harvard University in 2010, entered the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. In an interview with the National Review, Marks says that it was a religious experience she had at Lourdes in the 8th grade that gave her the desire to give herself fully to God as a sister: “Kneeling before the tabernacle in the lower church at Lourdes, I was filled with an understanding of God as Love and a yearning to love Him at all times in everything I did, no matter what anyone else thought.”( Source National Reviewarticle entitled “God and Woman at Harvard”)


Olympics Nun: As a teenager, Kirstin Holum was an American speed skater who placed 6th and 7th in events at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Her mother, who was her coach, was the first American to win Olympic gold in woman’s speed skating  (1968 and 1972). Today, Kirstin Holum is Sister Catherine Mary in Leeds, England. When she was 16 years old, she heard a voice say these words: “You’re going to be a sister,” according to the Zenit News Agency. Then a sense of peace and joy came rushing through her. The voice was spoken while the athlete was on a 10-day pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal, where the Blessed Mother had appeared to three shepherd children in 1917. In fact, at the time she heard the voice, Holum was right in the Cova where Mary had appeared.

          On the same pilgrimage, she had a powerful religious experience that confirmed for her the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. She is a nun of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, having made her final vows in 2010. For the full story, see From speed-skating to religious life (Zenit). Also see   ABCNews    


Harvard Law School Priest (Father Scanlan) – While a student at Harvard Law School, Michael Scanlan looked forward to marrying his fiancé. When Lent arrived, he made a commitment to daily Mass, daily rosary, and daily fasting. Suddenly while praying one day, Scanlan heard God within himself, asking, “Michael, will you give me your whole life?”  Scanlan said “yes.” After saying yes, he felt the presence of God. He felt God’s hand leading him from then on. Later, on the same day he passed the bar exam in New York and even had a job lined up at one of the best law firms on Wall Street, God spoke to him again. Perceiving that God had some sort of big plan for him but not understanding what it was, Fr. Scanlan knelt down in the barracks and asked, “What?”      God replied, “Be a priest.”


After letting go of his plans for marriage, Scanlan became a Franciscan priest and dean at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He became president of Steubenville in 1974.  


The American Catholic Almanac – see page entitled “October 5”  Father Michael Scanlan wiki The Man Who Rebuilt Steubenville     In 2011, Father Michael Scanlan retires from Steubenville after 37 years   Franciscan University of Steubenville     Let the Fire Fall (Fr. Scanlan’s book)     Video of Fr. Scanlan    Video of Fr. Scanlan II


Father John Riccardo: This priest was the son of the CEO of Chrysler Corporation. As a teenager he stopped praying and did not behave like a Christian, but as a college junior, he converted back to Christ. As he drove to Ann Arbor one day, the song “God’s Own Fool” played on the radio (“...So come lose your life for a carpenter's son, for a madman who died for a dream.  And you'll have the faith His first followers had and you'll feel the weight of the beam."

          Just then, Riccardo had a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ sitting in his car in the passenger seat. Jesus “reached across the seat and dug his right hand into my chest and said, ‘John these are all your dreams, goals and desires and everything you want to do with your life.’ He withdrew His hand and pulled everything out and motioned throwing it all out the window.  

“I said, ‘Lord, that's my life you just threw out the window.’  Jesus then said, ‘John, I'm going to give you my dream, my goal, my desire and what I want you to do with your life.’  And then He was gone.”

          It still took Riccardo three years of doing Christian outreach with university students before he realized he was supposed to be a priest. Find out what Jesus said to him while he was reading the Bible in Father’s article at

         Fr. John Riccardo was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1996 and is an expert on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. The book, Amazing Grace for the Catholic Heart, originally published his article.


Spanish Movie Star – Before she was a nun, Olalla Oliveros was a Spanish model and movie star. But when she visited one of the major Marian apparition sites – Fatima, Portugal – she had an “earthquake” experience and was given a mental image of herself wearing a nun’s habit. Although it made no sense her at the time, she gradually realized God was calling her to Him. She abandoned her modeling career in 2010 and entered a convent of the Order of Saint Michael the Archangel in Spain.


                           (Source: Beautiful Model Gives Up Flourishing Career to Become Nun (National Catholic Register) and  3 Beautiful Celebrities Who Gave it All Up to Become Nuns,”  Olalla Oliveros (imdb)


WHY SISTER MARY EMMANUELLE JOINED THE PINK SISTERS    This woman, a CPA in the Philippines, visited the Pink Sisters and “felt something different” when she entered their chapel. She became a cloistered nun and they sent her to the United States. Adoration Sisters


Saint Francis de Sales – while praying, he received a message: “Leave all and follow me.” He became a priest.



Gabriel Francis Possenti heard a voice - As a sacred image of the Virgin Mary passed by him in a procession, Saint Gabriel heard an interior voice speak to him, saying, “Francis, why do you remain in the world? It is not for you. Follow your vocation!”  The young man entered the Passionist religious order right away in 1856 and went on to become a priest. In 1920, he was canonized a saint.  (Source: The Life of St. Gabriel, Passionist)   Llinks: Saint Gabriel (1838-1862)