Is there such a thing?


For most of my short life, I'm 17, I have never been interested in a religious vocation. Being very much a tomboy and thinking that religious = boring life in cell praying for the rest of my life. But this past month my view has changed. I read an amazing book called The Irresistible Revolution and it's changed the way I look at everything. Then after that I watched an 80's version of the life of St. Francis. The poverty of this saint is so beautiful and amazing and I find myself wanting it. At this point in my life I am still living with my family, who by the way are Catholic lay missionaries in the Philippines, and I have a wonderful boyfriend whom I love very much. But is there an order who takes the Beatitudes to the letter? Is there an order of nuns who live barefoot, wearing rags, living with the poorest of the poor? If so I would be greatly interested in looking them up.


Mother Teresa’s community, based in India, does the poorest of the poor thing.

Not the barefoot and the rags thing though, AFAIK. After all, even our LORD told His friends to wear sandals.




St. John of the Cross, whose feast day we celebrate today, advises us to detach our hearts from things that hold us earthbound. Wearing rags and going barefoot may be penitential, in part, but if there are other areas that hold us bound, we need to practice the opposite virtue as well.

  1. Strive always to prefer,
    Not that which is easiest, but that which is most difficult;
    Not that which is most delectable, but that which is most unpleasing;
    Not that which gives most pleasure, but rather that which gives least;
    Not that which is restful, but that which is wearisome;
    Not that which is consolation, but rather that which is disconsolateness;
    Not that which is greatest, but that which is least;
    Not that which is loftiest and most precious, but that which is lowest and most despised;
    Not that which is a desire for anything, but that which is a desire for nothing;
    Strive to go about seeking not the best of temporal things, but the worst.

Strive thus to desire to enter into complete detachment and emptiness and poverty, with respect to everything that is in the world, for Christ’s sake.


As someone else said, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity are probably the nearest thing to what you are looking for. Living with and serving “the poorest of the poor” is what they are all about, and they tend to live evangelical poverty more intensely than (possibly) anyone else right now.

That said, you are only 17, and I would consider waiting at least a year and possibly more before doing anything practical towards joining a particular religious community. When I was 16 I read about St. Francis and was filled with a similar desire and continued thinking about becoming a Franciscan, of the most intense, old-school Order I could find, for about two years, but I feel confident today that that particular spirituality is not for me. I was nearly 19 when I realized, almost overnight, that my spirituality was much more Benedictine than Franciscan, and I still believe that.


I’ll third or fourth Mother Teresa’s community. I’d also recommend the book A Right to Be Merry by Mother Mary Frances - it gives an idea of what a contemplative vocation is like.


thanks for the link. :slight_smile:

I’ll look up that book. So it seems that only Mother Teresa’s community…okay.

I’m not planning on doing anything any time soon, and like I said I do have a boyfriend. But I know I’m not Benedictine. :smiley:

Thanks everyone.


Abbagail, I am also discerning, but I am 16. While doing my own research, i found an Order that based on your description, that you would like. They are called Poor Clare Collentines.

heres a link to to there website.

good luck with your discernment, I will pray for you


Hi catholicrobot, thank you so much for the link, I'll be looking at it. I'll pray for you as well, if you ever want someone to talk to feel free to send me a message. :)


thanks Abbagail


The Missionaries of Charity


You might try searching on this site -

It is for the Institute on Religious Life - they have a huge database of communities.


That was funny the way you put it!


Are there any religous orders in which St. Anthony of Padua is their patron or model?


The Capuchin Friars of the Renewal are a fairly new group of Fransiscan Friars (there’s a group of Sisters part of the same community… the Fransiscan Sisters of the Renewal). They have their novitiate in the Bronx in New York.
They have a world wide policy, that if the area where one of their houses ceases to be a deprived area with serious social problems, they close the house and move where they’re needed.
Spiritually as a group they are “Charismatic”, which may be an attractive feature, or it may be off-putting.

If it’s the Life of St Francis and St. Clare that inspired you then I’d say these should be one of the communities / orders on your short-list for further investigation.

You will need to travel to one of the countries where they have a novitiate intake if you were very interested… but that’s normal. I have a very good friend from my school days who joined them after University (10 years ago). Last year he was ordained a Priest. and is working in a very deprived area in the city of Derry in Northern Ireland where there is both significant Poverty, but also major social problems caused by decades of sectarian and political violence.

There are other groups including other Franciscan communities who have sought to “return to their roots”. But I reccomend you look at the CFR / FSR


You might want to look into the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal (CFRs). They are not barefoot (except in their Chapel where they wear no shoes) but they wear a simple grey habit and work with the poor of NYC. They have food pantries and a soup kitchen. Their male counterpart, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, also work with the poor. They are a solid order and very worth checking into. I hoped I would be called there, but the order was not for me. I’ll research some other orders. In the meantime, here is the CFR Sisters’ website:


Yes! This is what I’m looking for! :smiley:

Thank you both so much.


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