Interview with Career Coach Ryan Haber – The Simpleton Podcast

Our volunteer Career Coach Ryan Haber was a guest on The Simpleton Podcast, part of the outreach of A Simple House

He spoke about how people with liberal arts degrees, former sisters, seminarians, etc. can approach work and the job search. We think you’ll find it very interesting and potentially helpful. Some of the discussion topics:

Ryan Haber - Career Coach

  • What is the correct Christian view of money and work?
  • How to take your liberal arts degree and find a great job
  • The Catholic lay vocation and its understated importance
  • How to find fulfillment as a Catholic in the modern workplace environment

You can learn more about how Ryan helps Leonie’s Longing by visiting

Watch the interview on YouTube or listen to it via your podcast player of choice


Trying to find a job with a history, theology or #Catholic studies degree? Are you a former religious sister or seminarian? This interview might help! @leonieslonging Share on X

The Feast of Saint Clare of Assisi

From The Rule of Saint Clare, Chapter VI:


After the most high heavenly Father saw fit by His grace to enlighten my heart to do penance according to the example and teaching of our most blessed Father, Saint Francis, I, together with my sisters, willingly promised him obedience shortly after his own conversion.

When the blessed Father saw we had no fear of poverty, hard work, trial, shame, or contempt of the world, but, instead, regarded such things as great delights, moved by compassion he wrote a form of life for us as follows:

“Because by divine inspiration you have made yourselves daughters and servants of the Most High King, the heavenly Father and have espoused yourselves to the Holy Spirit, choosing to live a life according to the perfection of the holy Gospel, I resolve and promise for myself and for my brothers to always have that same loving care and solicitude for you as I have for them.”

As long as he lived he diligently fulfilled this and wished that it always be fulfilled by his brothers.

Shortly before his death he once more wrote his last will for us that we or those, as well, who would come after us would never turn aside from the holy poverty we had embraced. He said:

“I , little brother Francis, wish to follow the life and poverty of our most high Lord Jesus Christ and of His Holy Mother and to persevere in this until the end; and I ask and counsel you , my ladies, to live always in this most holy life and poverty. And keep most careful watch that you never depart from this by reason of the teaching or advice of anyone.”


Saint Clare, pray for us!

August 8th – Two Holy Founders

Saint Dominic, 1170-1221

Spanish priest and founder of the Dominican Order.


An excerpt from The Lives of the Brethren of the Order of Preachers, compiled by Blessed Humbert de Romans, AD1277.


Suddenly he was rapt in spirit before God and saw Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin sitting at His right. It seemed to Blessed Dominic that Our Lady was wearing a cape of bright blue, the color of sapphire. As Blessed Dominic looked around, he could see religious of all the orders but his own around the throne of God, so that he began to weep bitterly and stood far away, not daring to approach the Lord and His mother. Then Our Lady motioned for him to come near. But he would not dare, until Our Lord Himself also called him. Then Blessed Dominic cast himself before them weeping bitterly.


But Our Lord told him to rise, and when he did, Our Lord asked him, “Why are you weeping so?”

“I am weeping because I see all the other orders here but no sign of my own.”

And the Lord said to him, “Do you want to see your Order?” and he answered, “Yes, Lord.”

Then Our Lord, putting his hand upon the shoulders of the Blessed Virgin, said to Blessed Dominic, “I have entrusted your Order to my Mother.” Then he asked him again, “Do you still wish to see your Order?” and again he answered “Yes, Lord.”

Then the Blessed Virgin opened the cape which covered her and spread it out before Blessed Dominic, to whom it seemed vast enough to cover the entire heaven and, under it, he saw a large multitude of the brethren. Then prostrating himself, Blessed Dominic gave thanks to God and to Blessed Mary His Mother. After that the vision disappeared and he returned to himself just as the bell rang for Matins.


Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, 1842-1909

Australian Religious Sister, foundress of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.


An excerpt from a letter written to her mother, Flora: from May 14th 1867, shortly after the founding of her new Congregation.

Oh, I have long been sick and weary of the world and its cares, of its false pleasures and delights. Still, I could not wish to leave it as long as I thought God willed my stay in it. I have such an earnest longing for the Order of Saint Joseph and know well how hard it will be to get it established here, but everything God blesses will prosper, and surely His blessing attends this holy Order; none other is so fitted for the wants of this Colony… think, dear Mamma, of the work that is to be done, and how few there are to do it, and thank God for permitting a child of yours to be one, the least worthy, of the workers. If our work be so pleasing to Him, will He not console and bless you, dear Mamma, for having first lead me to love Him?


From Mary MacKillop and Flora (2004), edited by Sheila McCreanor.


I was once told that leaving during postulancy is the equivalent of ending a relationship after a couple of dates: it was only a trial, a getting-to-know you period, and no commitment had been made on either side. Unfortunately, that’s not what it feels like. When I hear people describing what it was like to pack their bags and move out of an apartment shared with someone they’d eventually hoped to marry, I now feel a strange kind of empathy: that’s what it feels like. (Did you sometimes look around at the other postulants and novices and imagine what you’d all be like together as a group of old nuns one day? Yep, me too.)

If not yet formally committed to the religious life, a postulant is at least invested in it, and it won’t go quietly from the heart or mind afterward. Insignificant things suddenly remind you that you’re not on the path to being a nun anymore. It hits like an actual punch to the ribs, and all you can do is brace yourself and think: Ouch.

A few weeks after I left the convent, I looked around my new bedroom for somewhere to flop down and read, and realised with a shock that I was no longer subject to the custom that forbade sitting on the bed, because I was no longer part of the community which held that custom. Ouch.

At Mass six months afterward, I stood for the Our Father and tucked my hands under the long cotton scarf I was wearing. I had left well before receiving the habit, but suddenly realised what a scapular would feel like draped over my hands, and that I would have been wearing one by then if I had stayed. Right on cue: Ouch.

A couple of months after that, we had the story of the rich young man as the Sunday Gospel. To describe the result, I will need bold text, Caps Lock, and a minimum of three exclamation marks: OUCH!!! The story is far too familiar to need repeating here. Have you ever read a vocations guide that didn’t include it? For balance, I wish there were resources for discerners that included this story:

And the whole crowd of people from the district surrounding the Gerasenes’ country begged Jesus to go away from them, for they were thoroughly frightened. Then He re-embarked on the boat and turned back. 

The man who had the evil spirits kept begging to go with Jesus, but He sent him away with the words, :Go back home and tell them all what wonderful things God has done for you.” So the man went away and told the marvellous story of what Jesus had done for him, all over the town.

Luke 8:37-39

Why had I never noticed it before? This one lonely everyman, overwhelmed by the love shown him by Jesus, begged to follow Him, and was gently told to go back to his family instead.

When I read that story during Lent, it was like letting out a breath that I’d been holding for the best part of a year. I was not the rich young man who had turned away sorrowfully out of love for the world. I was not the foolish bridesmaid who had brought a lamp but neglected the oil. Most of all, I was not the worker who put my hand to the plough and looked back. I was the one who knelt at His feet and said, “Lord, let me come with You!” and received instead the loving instruction to go home.

Naturally, there are still things that catch me off-guard: During the morning Mass on Easter Sunday, I felt a rush of emotion as the familiar opening notes of Haec Dies flowed through the church. If your Sisters sang it every morning throughout Easter week, as mine did, you could probably chant the first two words in your sleep. Ouch. Forget nostalgia: this felt like hunger.

God’s gift to me is the grace to be able to say now when that happens, “Lord, thank you for this pain – please turn it into something productive.” It took ten months for me to reach this level of acceptance, and I have a long way to go yet, but I’m grateful to be here.

By Spiritu

At the age of seventeen, Spiritu watched some elderly nuns laughing together after Mass and decided instantly that this was what she wanted to do with her life. After six years of intense study about the Catholic faith and the religious vocation, she entered a beautiful community in her own country, Australia. Seven months later, she returned to the world, saddened that her discernment hadn’t worked out as she’d hoped. She is now exploring other possible options for the future, and owes an enormous debt of gratitude to her family for their love and help.

In Repair

After leaving the convent in July 2013, one of the most valuable things I did was get myself some new music. Almost every song on my MP3 player from before I entered had a different meaning after I left: this was the song I had been listening to seven months earlier as my train pulled out of the station, heading for the convent; this was the tune I had taught myself to strum on the community’s old guitar, sitting down the bottom of the garden on Sunday afternoons; this was what I hummed to cheer myself up when I realised that cracks were starting to appear in my vocation; I still enjoy those songs, but there’s a certain bittersweetness about them that wasn’t there before.

So, while I was visiting op-shops to re-stock my wardrobe with clothing, I started picking up CDs for a dollar each as well, by bands I knew nothing about, except that their cover art was nice. I discovered some wonderful music that way, but one song has stood out for me so strongly that I wanted to share it with others who are grieving the loss of the religious life as I was (and in some ways still am).

The song is “In Repair” by John Mayer. I admit, I find Mayer confusing: his hedonistic public persona is completely at odds with the soft, deeply expressive songs about loss and yearning on his albums. Well before I knew anything about the artist, though, I knew that this secular song expressed precisely what I felt, and didn’t yet have the language to describe: 

Too many shadows in my room
Too many hours in this midnight
Too many corners in my mind
So much to do to set my heart right

Oh, it’s taking so long
I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh, but if I take my heart’s advice
I should assume it’s still unsteady

I am in repair

I am in repair

Although I don’t regret actually leaving the convent (it was clearly what had to be done) what I do regret, sincerely, is having let things escalate to the point where leaving became the only option. What went wrong? With 20/20 hindsight, I’ve realised that over the course of a couple of months after I entered, I gradually stopped being a postulant and became instead an actress playing the part of a postulant. (I was good at it, too: I managed to fool even myself for months.) The trouble was that I then unconsciously began to see the Sisters not as my community, but as the audience I needed to impress if I wanted to stay.

Finally, half-way into my postulancy, the inevitable happened: while standing outside the back door of the convent receiving a correction in private for something I’d done wrong earlier in the day, I suddenly realised that, however hard I tried, I wasn’t going to be capable of staying. You will know for yourself what that moment feels like: it’s as if life quietly fades from full-colour to black and white. I stayed on for another month after that in the hope that the Lord would intervene and help me. And He did: when I finally admitted to the prioress that I couldn’t cope, she came in to bat for me magnificently. But in the end, I had to recognise that I’d simply run out of internal resources.

You may know, too, what I mean when I say that much of what’s happened since I left feels as if it’s happened in black and white after the vividness of life in the convent: whatever my vocation is, I’ve clearly not found it yet. I can only understand and trust that eventually, I will start to uncover the real calling that God has prepared for me, and the colour will come back.

And now I’m walking in the park
And all of the birds, they dance below me
Maybe when things turn green again
It will be good to say you know me

I’m in repair
I’m not together but I’m getting there.

I’m in repair
I’m not together but I’m getting there.

By Spiritu

At the age of seventeen, Spiritu watched some elderly nuns laughing together after Mass and decided instantly that this was what she wanted to do with her life. After six years of intense study about the Catholic faith and the religious vocation, she entered a beautiful community in her own country, Australia. Seven months later, she returned to the world, saddened that her discernment hadn’t worked out as she’d hoped. She is now exploring other possible options for the future, and owes an enormous debt of gratitude to her family for their love and help.