Do you think a religious will remain a religious in heaven


I was just wondering, if a religious sister -lets for example say a Carmelite- dies, will she remain a Carmelite sister in heaven. Or is there in heaven no distinction between different vocations.


Actually, the Church does have a direct answer to this question.

The answer is no.

The only changes to our human status (I know the wording here is awkward) are the sacraments which “affect an ontological change” which means a change in the soul. It’s one of those rare phrases that only occurs in something like a theology class, but nevertheless, it’s truly a matter of church doctrine.

Entering religious life does not affect an ontological change. Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination do, but not religious vows.

Now, having said that, we can wax philosophical and say that someone who was a carpenter or accountant or tailor will be a former carpenter, etc. in heaven. So, in a certain sense, we can say that whatever characteristics we had on earth will be part of our histories in heaven. We won’t become some sort of anonymous spirits with no past.


Thanks Father!


you’ll find out when U get there;

heaven is so different than earth that you
will laugh that you even asked this question;

our tiny human brains cannot comprehend the
wonderful nature of heaven


I second this. Thanks, Father, for the answer to this question and the many others you answer. We’re fortunate to have you here.



Thank you father. Great answer!


That’s really a non-answer.

There are some things that we actually do know about heaven.

We know, for example, that our mortal bodies will be resurrected. Once we say that, though, we have other followup questions we cannot answer (like, what age will we be?)

We know because this is something that the Church has already considered and has arrived at a conclusion.

This isn’t a pointless question either. Really, the heart of the question (even if the one asking doesn’t realize it) is whether or not the vows of Consecrated Life apply after death. Again, in more than one way the Church has a ready answer to this particular question.

Consecrated Religious Life is a temporary situation. The vows end when ones life ends, just as a marriage ends when one spouse dies. Furthermore, one can leave that state. Sometimes the vows are temporary. For example, a monk can take vows of 20 years, then leave when those years are spent.


As an aside, in the book “The Little White Shepherdess” (treats of St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier), the first of her Magdalen sisters to die appeared to her and said she had opened the Magdalen choir in Heaven.

The Benedictines have always said that when one dies, they return to the bosom of the Father. I cannot imagine that God, who put us on this earth to do a job that only we can do, would eradicate any of that once we return to Him. We glorified Him by doing His will. Why would any of that dissipate because our bodies have died?

Vows in Heaven? I should think the point would be moot. They were the deepening of our baptismal promises to begin with. If we live them, we have done our job and glorified Him.

If we don’t live them, then I would imagine He would not be too pleased with that and we will find out what our slackness has earned us. He told St. Faustina that religious go to Hell because they don’t live their vows. If the heat’s too hot, get out of the kitchen. If you’re not going to live your vows and slide into acedia, then something’s got to change.


I am not sure why one would think that a question like this one is answered not by theology, but instead by emotion. :shrug:

Sentences like “I should think…” or “I would imagine…” or “I cannot imagine…” do not answer the question.

Theology is not about imagination. It isn’t about sitting back and saying “gee, I would really like it if…”

The OPs question actually has an answer, an answer that the Church has already determined.

A religious sister (nun or monk/brother) is someone who has joined a community of consecrated life by taking vows. It is precisely those vows that make someone a member. That membership ends when someone dies, or when the vows expire (if temporary) or when the person leaves or is dismissed. There is no ontological change, as occurs at baptism or ordination.

A saint in heaven who was a carpenter will be a former-carpenter in heaven because by no means will our pasts or our identities be erased (it’s Heaven, not Nirvana). Still, that former carpenter is not going to be sawing wood or driving nails in heaven.

A saint in heaven who was a religious sister in life will be a former religious sister in heaven (an untold number already are). But no, there are no “Institutes of Consecrated Religious Life” in heaven.


Right. Perhaps what the poster was getting at is something a little more mystical and personal… for example, 3 religious sisters who had very close bonds in a religious community on earth may have a special affinity / relationship among themselves in eternity.


Do you think a religious will remain a religious in heaven?

To rephrase it abit - do you think that a religious will remain part of their religious family/Order in heaven in some real way?

  • Yes.*

and not only Religious but tertiaries et al.

Even the experience Saints and Blesseds while whey were earth of their Brothers and Sisters in Heaven - have experienced them as such - seeing them in their habits etc. Of course they do not yet have their resurrected bodies etc…but the point being is that is part of how they were identified.

Yes I would say they remain “part” of their Religious families -* in some real sense*- in heaven though in a very different way than on earth.

And most especially the Founder or *Founders *of the Order. They very much remain the “Father” or “Mother” of the Order and intercede for those on earth as such.


Excellent post.


And this is flat out wrong.

These institutions are an earthly reality, important ones which foreshadow the heavenly realm, and very significant in the life of the Church on earth.

Yet, there are no religious orders in heaven. There are people in heaven who were members of those orders while on earth.


I did* not *say there were “religious Orders in heaven”.

That is not what I noted - rather I noted other things that I hold. I will continue with my thought on this (what I hold) and you may continue with yours. The Lord be with you and your ministry.


Of interest in terms of such the “in some real sense” being still related to their Orders here are a few of the prayers from the special All Saints and “all souls” days of particular Orders -as the Church prays so she believes. Some examples of how the Orders Pray in terms of their members in heaven or on the way to heaven (these are from the Liturgical texts approved by the Church the respective Orders) - I have cut them down for space:

From the Liturgy of the Carmelite Order – All Saints of the Order

“Lord,may the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother,
and the prayers of all the saints of Carmel help us to walk steadfastly in their footsteps….”

From the Liturgy of the Franciscan Order – All Saints of the Order.

'Almighty ever-living God,who were pleased to make your Church illustrious through the varied splendor of the saints of the Seraphic Order, and by whose gift we venerate them all in one celebration,grant that, by following such shining examples of virtue on earth,we may merit to receive crowns in heaven."

From the Liturgy of the Franciscan Order – for all the deceased of the Order

“Lord, you are the glory of those who serve you.
Look lovingly on our departed brothers and sisters…”

From another Order – for All Deceased of the Order:

“All powerful and ever-living God, you are the giver of life on earth and the perfect joy of the saints in heaven. Give the departed brothers and sisters of our Order the fullness of joy in the kingdom of your glory."

From the older Monastic Diurnal (1963) of the Benedictines.

“We Beseech Thee, O Lord be merciful to the souls of Thy servants and handmaids of our Order for whom we humbly entreat Thy majesty; that by these prayers of pious supplication they may be counted worthy to enter everlasting rest. Through our Lord.”


thank you!


Indeed. The Carmelite Orders celebrate “All Carmelite Saints” and “All Carmelite Souls” on their particular calendars.


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