3 wrong reasons to become a religious

Think you have a vocation? Guess again.


St. Francis de Sales outlines three pitfalls of self-deception in discerning whether you have a religious vocation. In brief, they are:

1. A refuge
2. Attraction to the external
3. An escape

Be careful

Learn about these on the website of the Visitation Spirit in the article, “Three Wrong Reasons to Become a Religious.”


This all comes down to the fact you need a CALL.

Benedict escaped and sought refuge from a world that had grown too wicked to exist in as a Christian…

The quotation thus comes across as less realistic than holy.

The religious life is a refuge, the externals are attractive, and it is an escape. It is only those things, however, for the people who are called to it (by God- not by those things). If you go to the religious life simply because you are looking for a refuge, it will just make you bored- and you’ll just be frustrated because religious life is not for those who want to run away and hide. If you go to the religious life simply because the externals are attractive, in a short time, the newness of it all will wear off, you will long for something that seems more attractive, and you become excessively critical because nothing is as perfect as it may seem at first. If you go to the religious life as an escape from a less-than-ideal current situation, it may seem great at first- but eventually you’ll just find a new set of problems.

I think with this respect, different forms of religious life are very different. Apostolic forms are much less of an escape than a monastic or contemplative form. I personally don’t like the idea of escape because religious life is living life more fully, not escaping from life.

it is interesting that you see the word as escape from LIFE…

As opposed to escaping from the clutches of all that is evil in the world and the way it lives.

Active orders live this in fact far more as they are a counter-cultural force in their loiving.

And there is no escape from anything in a monastic life.

All seek to escape from a life where so much is evil.

All that is evil in this world is in each of our hearts primarly. We never escape from our heart. That is why, you aptly point out that monastic life is not an escape - it is just further from the hustle-bustle of the modern world, at least in general. (I probably wouldn’t be responding to you here if I were a monk…)

As you point out I could have been clearer “not escaping from life” could have been better worded, “not escaping from this world / external concerns / the evil in society.” I accept your correction, thank you for helping me be clearer in the future.

What does #2 mean?

It means wanting to become a religious for reasons based on aesthetics, and not an authentic call. For example, the chanting, the habits, and the tranquility of the monastery are all nice things- but the newness will wear off eventually, and what will be left if there is no authentic vocation there? You’ll find yourself frustrated because the chant isn’t flawless, the habits don’t look like you want them to look, and the monastery no longer inspires you with the awe of new discovery as it once did. The vocation has got to be real- it can’t just be because you admire it.

Thanks m134e5 for clearing that up for me.

Does the book pictured contain the writings of the saint on this subject? Is this book available? Online?


or in my opinion, because you can’t find the perfect someone:D

I found this online but not really sure if it answers any questions:


Actually, I would like to know if the book is available so I will contact them and let you (others) know

God be with you,


The Spritual Conferences of St Francis de Sales can be found free online here:


Thank you very much for providing and sharing this link.

God bless,


Yes, thank you for the link.

On the Subject of the Intention That We Ought to Have on Entering Religious Life” is treated in the 13th conference. I believe the website linked in the original post states that it is in the 20th conference.



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