Family responsibilities vs. religous vocation questions

Is there a religious order that, if I joined, would allow me to become the legal guardian of my niece if something happened to her parents? My sister and her husband have requested this in their will, they do not trust his side of the family (drug abuse, unhealthy relationships, etc.)

Also, my parents have some health problems (not debilitating yet) and may need a caregiver in the next 10 years or so.

I want to trust God and pursue a religious vocation (if I have one; I might not), but I don’t want to neglect family either.

Probably not.

I would at least try to discuss the possibility and the situation with the leader of the religious community, before simply giving up on it. Some accommodations could probably be made.

Sorry my post was so short - I had to get kids to bed!

In a typical order or congregation you basically renounce the world and all responsibilities in/of the world.

Also, the community isn’t going to allow a child into its cloister/house/convent, nor will it allow a religious member of the community to accept responsibility for a child.

In the same way a religious community won’t allow someone who is too old, too sick, or too much in debt to enter. It’s hard enough to survive without taking on additional responsibilities.

I totally commend and understand where your heart is in this.

Some members of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary have adopted children.

If you don’t mind joining a non-ordered religious community (Vatican approved) you could try the Brothers and Sisters of Charity which have both single and married members (without or without kids).

True that, but it does depend on the order and such. Especially third orders or lay groups have different rules. For example, a Benedictine monastery might agree to take you as a claustral oblate, rather than a full member, so that you could lead the life but not give up your secular responsibilities entirely. A vocation director might have more ideas of where you could look.

While I understand the concern I’d just leave it to God. Asking around for peace of mind is definitely understandable though we won’t really be able to give you much insight other than our members experiences, some of whom are members of various orders so they might be able to help should they happen upon this thread. Just keep discerning your vocation and trust in God that should it be legitimate then He will provide for your family in your stead. All will work out as it is meant too, whether you are called to an order or called to your family. So keep that in mind and just pray for continued guidance. God Bless

I appreciate everyone’s responses. My priest referred me to a vocations director, so I will ask her too. Maybe I could look into a third order, or else just extend my noviate until the neice is closer to adutlhood…that’s a long time, though, and I’m sure I will need to be more committed than that. I don’t want to wait much longer because I’m getting close to 30 and pretty soon I may be too old for many orders to consider me. :stuck_out_tongue:

You cannot put your life on hold for your family, as much as you may love them. You can’t live making your decisions based on a slim chance of the worst. I know it sounds harsh but if you think you have a calling to the religious life then following God’s will is the most important thing. Trust in Him and let Him guide you, He will take care of the rest.

You are probably not the only person who could take care of your niece. Even if your brother-in-law’s family are out of the question one assumes they have friends who would trust as well. I am sure your sister would not want you to hold back on living your own life.

You are right, thanks! :o

You’re welcome. I’m discerning myself so I know it can be very difficult.

Just out of curiosity, are you discerning active or contemplative religious life?

Secular Institute
diocesan hermit
third order secular

Diocesan hermit permits one to be caretaker of one person.


Hi, have you thought of becoming an oblate to some order?
Just a thought.
Very best wishes.
Kathryn Ann

Active, I think. (I am already too good at isolating myself…:p) I want to be helping people, involved in society to some degree.

Thanks for the suggestions. I brought up to my sister (who brought it up to mom) the possibility that a family friend, who loves my neice and is involved in her life, could assume guardianship in case of an emergency, and so far the idea is not going over well… :o

Cool. What kind of apostolates are you looking into?

(Sorry if I’m being super nosy, I’m just always curious about what other discerners are doing!)

I don’t know yet. I think I was going to tell the vocations director what’s wrong with me and why she shouldn’t let me go this route, and she was going to sum up the few skills that I have and tell me why I could still do this, and what I could do. But the priest hasn’t given me her number yet. :stuck_out_tongue:
I still have to figure out if I’ve been Catholic long enough, and if I’m okay mentally and emotionally. I’ve wanted to be a nun probably since I was 14 or 15, but this is the first time I’ve taken it seriously (it helps that I’m not Calvinist! :D)

How long have you been a Catholic for?

I’m guessing you’re in the US? Just asking 'cause I know a few people entering active communities in the fall and there are some awesome ones in the states.

I received Confirmation and First Communion all of 4 months ago. :rolleyes: (US)

Oh wow, that isn’t all that long ago. But welcome home!

I think that the general guideline is you have to have been a practicing for 2 years before you can enter, but there’s no reason you can’t discern until that time. I have friends who are too young to enter yet but they’re discerning with their communities already. It’s almost good in a way because it gives you a lot of time to discern with a community and get to know them as well as sort out any other stuff that might need dealing with.

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