How do you know if you are called to a religious order?

I am 40 years old, single and quite lonely…no family here and the friends I know here are always on the clock with their wife and kids. I have been single most of my life.

Our Catholic faith gives me purpose and reason to press on against the grain of this world.

At this point I am “considering” the possibility of joining a religious order, but from an identity standpoint, I don’t know.

I have been in seminary for a year and discerned out due to identity conflict, anxiety issues and internal struggles.

The idea of being a brother, however, might be a better fit for me.

I would consider Benedictines because I have lived with them for a year (St. Meinrad). I would also consider Jesuits due to the inspiration of Pope Francis and the Franciscans.

Thoughts?

Any ideas, feedback, counsel, wisdom, questions, instruction is greatly appreciated.

esmac

The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius would be perfect for you. They live community life, and the option to be a brother or priest is available. They are wonderful and located mainly in the Chicago area. Contact Fr. Frank for inquiry: pastor@cantius.org. Their website is canons-regular.org God Bless and they would love to hear from you!

@ holyfamily1

Thanks for the suggestion. I have looked over their website and will keep them in mind as I continue to discern God’s will for me.

I think sometimes when one is living a single life, we spend lots of time trying to figure out what we are supposed to do with our life…looking at marriage…considering priesthood or religious life…when in reality we are actually living out God’s plan for us and not even aware of it…single and alone…and dealing with the weight of it day in and day out…month after month…year after year.

That itself, the loneliness of it…is cross to bear so I can see in the variety of God and through his eyes how it may be a vocation that he has assigned to some of us.

But I think I can speak for a lot of singles who are living out such a vocation that it is one that is very difficult to accept…because the single life itself, the lonliness of it is a form of poverty…a form of poverty that can be difficult to endure at times.

Even God himself said in the book of Genesis 2:18

It is not good for man to be alone.

I can relate to your post. I’m a single, 31 year old female with no children. Most of my friends and relatives, who are close to my age, are married with children so I feel left out a lot. I do believe God has called me to remain single, but that idea sounds ludicrous to the people I know. I greatly admire monks and nuns for their sacrifice and devotion to God. I hope & pray you find the order that will help you grow closer to God. It would be nice if I had that option. :slight_smile: God Bless You!

When I think about my religious vocation I feel like there is nothing that could make me happier. I feel blessed. I feel like I am in a state of pure joy. The idea of being so close to God makes me so so happy. Think about your vocation. I guess a good way to understand a possible vocation is to think about it this way. Take your vocation, and think, does anything else matter? Am I so genuinely “in love” that nothing else in my life matters because of my vocation? I’m not saying that things like your family, hobbies, and school shouldn’t matter. I’m not saying that at all. But does it seem like those things aren’t a big deal, when you are fulfilling your vocation? Think about it. Pray about it. You are in my prayers.

Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. :slight_smile: You are not alone, and you have a friend here. I can totally relate, all my friends here are married, so they are immersed with their kids and spouses as they should be. I do things with them when the opportunities permit, when they have a “yard pass”, ha.

I live in the Bible Belt in the South where Protestants are the majority, Catholics only make up less than 10% of population here. I admire ya’ll for your devotion to the study of God’s Word, and conservative values.

You still have those options. I would encourage you to consider conversion to the Catholic Church and all the benefits she offers. Pope Francis is taking care of business as seen just recently in Brazil. The tone is always set at the top. People are converting and coming back.

I am sure you have friends who are Catholic, ask them if you can go with them to observe a Mass or just go by yourself and sit in the back…that is exactly what Scott Hahn did:

The second thing that happened was when I quietly slipped into the basement chapel down at Marquette, Gesu. They were having a noon Mass and I had never gone to Mass before. I slipped in. I sat down in the back pew. I didn’t kneel. I didn’t genuflect, I wouldn’t stand. I was an observer; I was there to watch. But I was surprised when 40, 50, 60, 80, or 100 ordinary folk just walked in off the street for midday Mass, ordinary folk who just came in, genuflected, knelt and prayed. Then a bell rang and they all stood up and Mass began. I had never seen it before.

The Liturgy of the Word was so rich, not only the Scripture readings. They read more Scripture, I thought, in a weekday Mass than we read in a Sunday service. But their prayers were soaked with Biblical language and phrases from Isaiah and Ezekiel. I sat there saying, "Man, stop the show, let me explain your prayers. That’s Zechariah; that’s Ezekiel. Wow! It’s like the Bible coming to life and dancing out on the center stage and saying, “This is where I belong.”

Then the Liturgy of the Eucharist began. I watched and listened as the priest pronounced the words of consecration and elevated the host. And I confess, the last drop of doubt drained away at that moment. I looked and said, “My Lord and my God.” As the people began going forward to receive communion, I literally began to drool, “Lord, I want you. I want communion more fully with you. You’ve come into my heart. You’re my personal Savior and Lord, but now I think You want to come onto my tongue and into my stomach, and into my body as well as my soul until this communion is complete.”

And as soon as it began, it was over. People stuck around for a minute or two for thanksgiving and then left. And eventually, I just walked out and wondered, what have I done? But the next day I was back, and the next, and the next. I couldn’t tell a soul. I couldn’t tell my wife. But in two or three weeks I was hooked. I was head over heels in love with Christ and His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. It became the source and the summit and the climax of each day, and I still couldn’t tell anybody.

catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0088.html

When I think about my religious vocation I feel like there is nothing that could make me happier. I feel blessed. I feel like I am in a state of pure joy. The idea of being so close to God makes me so so happy. Think about your vocation. I guess a good way to understand a possible vocation is to think about it this way. Take your vocation, and think, does anything else matter? Am I so genuinely “in love” that nothing else in my life matters because of my vocation? I’m not saying that things like your family, hobbies, and school shouldn’t matter. I’m not saying that at all. But does it seem like those things aren’t a big deal, when you are fulfilling your vocation? Think about it. Pray about it. You are in my prayers.

Esmac, thank you for the information. I have thought about that and I live in the bible belt too, Arkansas. :slight_smile:

Awesome. I lived in Memphis for a few years, I know Arkansas. If you live in Little Rock area there are a couple of priests your age who you should meet to just talk about things…Father Tony Robbins…aka “Holy Tony”…and Father Mauricio Carrasco. I know them because I was in seminary with them. It didn’t work out for me, but it did for them, both of them were ordained, and they are really, really good guys. I got to attend Father Tony’s ordination and the place was packed, standing room only. I’m sure it was no different for Father Mauricio’s ordination. They will help answer any of your questions.

I can give you a testimony on Father Tony. We were walking in the building together one evening and saw a spider on the hallway floor. I wanted to step on it, but Tony stopped me, scooped the spider up with a sheet of paper, walked it outside and let it go. :signofcross:

Cool story, I have their names written down now! :thumbsup:

They might not be in Little Rock area but assigned at a parish in Arkansas somewhere. Diocese of Little Rock covers the entire state. If I am not mistaken, Diocese of Little Rock also has one of the most successful seminarian programs in the country. :slight_smile:

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