Called to be a Cloistered Nun..but only 14 yrs old


I have for quite a while now been discerning a vocation to the consecrated life. I am now certain that God is calling me to enter into a cloistered community of nuns. My parish and former school (k-8) is run by Norbertine priests and I have great respect for them and a great love of their way of life. There is a community of cloistered Norbertine nuns that I know of and wish to join. I am only 14 years old right now, a freshman in high school. I would enter the community right now if I were able. However, I will probably have to wait until I am 18. I have told no one about this decision. I will try to speak to a priest about it, but any time I think about what I would say, my words sound fake and empty. How should I talk about this? Should I tell my parents? Should I tell anyone about this? And when? Is it better sooner than later? Please pray for me.
To find the nuns’ website (which explains their way of life), look up “Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph”. It will be the top choice.


Can you do some volunteer work with the nuns or otherwise hang out with them?


It’s a good idea to talk it over with your parents. Perhaps you can attend a retreat with the nuns.


Can you get in touch with the Vocations Director of your Diocese. Ask them to put you in touch with the nuns.
Go from there. I pray for your vocation. The Vocations Director can involve your parents


The monastery is about 5 hours away from my house. My family does go camping in the same general area every few years though, so we drive past the exit that leads to it. There are Norbertine Sisters (not cloistered) who are coming to my parish school. I already know them pretty well and have offered my help to them, etc.


When I was your age, I thought about becoming a nun. I actually wrote to various convents without telling my parents. Things have changed in terms of ages limits and requirements. At that time, some convents would accept a fourteen year old, and the top age limit was thirty.
Of course, once my parents learned I was writing to the convents, they made an appointment for me to see the chaplain. We were living on a military base. I don’t remember what he said. Probably something about waiting.
The youngest accepted age that I recently seen is a Carmelite convent that accepts 18 year olds. Most set a top age limit of 45, with a few going older. They often want to see that a woman has experienced the world for a few years before entering the convent.
The main question the mother superior will ask is, “why do want to become a nun?” She wants to make sure that you are not running away from the world, but running to Christ.
Once you talk to your parents, and your parish priest, you can find out about vocation days to learn more if this God’s call for your life.
Don’t be discouraged if they tell you that you are too young, especially with a cloistered community.


Be open about it even though you might hear some discouragement.


What I am reading is that you have a private urge to this particular vocation.
A vocation is not a private thing. If you have not discussed this with others, especially your parents, then your vocation is not yet a vocation.

To follow this call, you must discuss this with other competent and authoritative people, to put it in proper context.


I know that I am very young. But I am sure that this is my vocation. This was not a lightly made decision. I have no doubts that God wants me to enter the convent. I will never be able to wait until I’m thirty or fourty. Fortunately, this convent accepts women under twenty (probably not 14, but at least 18).


Goout is correct–a vocation is not a personal or private thing. YOU (no individual) can be “sure” of their vocation. It is a mutual discernment process between (in your case) you and the community you wish to join. They actually have more of a say in confirming a vocation than you do.

To look at this another way–a priest’s vocation is not confirmed even when he enters seminary–or graduates. It is not confirmed until the bishop lays hands on him at ordination.

Similarly, the final affirmation of a sister’s vows is at final profession. But the process even for discerning admission is extensive and complex. It is not simply saying that one is “sure.” What does the community say? In short, this is not a solitary road. I wish you well, but you–no one–can be “sure” of anything on your own. You can believe that God is calling you, and He may be. But you cannot decide this independently.


It’s a TRAP!!!


For example…?


I, for one, support you, as does my organization/apostolate which promotes the cloistered life.

If you’re five hours from Tehachapi, does this mean you’re north of L.A.? If so, they have Dominicans there in Hollywood. There are other monasteries in the area, both Poor Clares (Santa Barbara) and Discalced Carmelites (Alhambra). I would suggest visiting them to see the differences.

Today is the feast of St. Augustine, the basic rule that the Norbertines follow, so I see your posting today as significant. Read what you can on Sts Augustine and Norbert, and be a holy student. If you can get a copy of the Christian Prayer book, then you can start praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

Canon law says that a person cannot be accepted into the novitiate until age 17. However, different orders have different rules about this.

Concerning the parental departments, they will likely go through the five stages of grief. I would be surprised if they didn’t. The only reason my dad objected to my entering a monastery was not being able to see me again. That’s exceptionally rare, though.

I also suggest praying to not only St. Therese, but St. Agnes of Montepulciano, OP, who entered the cloister at age 9 with papal permission.

If you’ve any questions, or wish to join a private vocations forum which we offer, don’t hesitate to PM me.

Mrs Cloisters OP
Lay Dominican


Parents might think it is not a good idea and rather have grandchildren.


If you haven’t already, tell your parents. You are still indebted to them.
Do your best to find a spiritual director, ideally a religious sister.
Continue to increase your prayer life and reception of the Sacraments.


Another young Therese’. Blessings to you, my dear. Hold fast to your dream.


The advice of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church and founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer is for those seeking to enter religion, such as you are, to avoid telling your parents. I believe it was him or St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor of the Church) who said to seek counsel only from those who will support your vocation. The reason for this is that the natural affection that parents have for their children will often lead them to go to great lengths to persuade them not to enter because they dread losing them and even pious parents will try to keep their children from the service of God. Worldly minded people will tell you that you can just as easily serve the Lord and save your soul by remaining in the world. I will try and find name of the book he wrote about vocation which I have on kindle amongst a collection of his other works.


I agree with both Cloisters and Maximilian regarding the importance of a strong prayer life. Since our shoes were under the bed anyway, my first grade nun said this was the perfect time be on the knees for prayer.
I do begin my mornings with the LOTH. I did not learn about this prayer of the Church until I was much older. Rising early in the morning, the Office could be incorporated into your day, into that time before school.
It is less common practice than the home in which I was reared, but the family rosary was prayed daily. I like Saint John Paul II’s recommendation of adding a scriptural passage before each decade. I actually pray a scriptural rosary. I don’t know how far along you are on your spiritual journey. Like any exercise program, start slowly and add to it for greater results.
I always liked to read. In the back of base and post chapels, there were books about the saints. I read those books. My parents gave me my first Bible when I was eleven which I read cover to cover. Part of religious education back then also included a brown book of Bible stories that we studied for a year at the 4th grade level (I was in 3rd grade).
It is better to tell your parents yourself than to do as I did. They found out anyway. They were angrier about the secrecy than the idea that I might be considering a vocation. It is true that I came from a large family. I had an older brother who actually did spend a year in seminary.

As you learn about religious formation, you find that there is plenty of time for discernment. There is the mutual decision of community acceptance. It begins with how you answer the question of why you want to enter religious life.
A nun friend once told me, even if you enter and are accepted for the wrong reason, and your call is truly from God, He will give you the right reason.


How does one find a spiritual director?


If you’re truly called to be cloistered nun at such a young age, that’s wonderful! Stay close to Our Lord. I will pray for you.

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