Joining an order after death of spouse (theoretical)


I had a horrible nightmare that my DF died. It was very real and upset me very much.
But it made me think.

Would it be wrong for a wife to join a religios order if her husband died?
If she were religious and lived her faith, but chose marriage at first, could she choose life in an order after marriage?
Provided, of course, there are no children to take care of. (And I know this is very important.)
Is it possible?
Does the age matter in such a situation?

What if there are children, but they are grown-up?

What about the other way around, if a husband wanted to do it after the death of his wife?
(Again the presumption of no children who depend on him.)


If one’s spouse has died, then the individual is free to pursue the priesthood or the religious life should they feel called. Many great religious were widows. It’s not wrong at all.

Grown-up children are not an impediment. As long as children are no longer dependent, they are not an impediment.

Some communities do have age limits (regardless of whether one is a widow or not), and older people do sometimes find it more difficult to find a community but if the Lord is calling a person then He will make the way. Just as there are communities that only accept younger applicants, there are those that have no age restrictions.

I hope I’ve managed to answer your questions, feel free to ask if you have any more.


Thank you for your answer.

I meant wrong since this person in my head first chose marriage, and not devoting oneself completely to God, and that might make the Lord seem like the second choice, and probably wouldn’t choose that path unless the spouse died.

I was thinking about my grandmother, who has been a widow for 18 years now. She has remained single and never looked for anyone else, went to Church often, and I think I would prefer to do the same.


We don’t say a man who chooses Diocesan priesthood doesn’t devote himself completely to God because he devotes himself to his Parish and his flock.

Marriage in the Church is a Sacrament. Devoting yourself to a spouse and children, is devoting oneself to God.

Similarly, religious devote themselves to their communities, to service, to prayer. None of which are God, bur are service to God, as are the two above.


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is a great example of this


In the Epistles of St. Paul, the assumption is that women Religious would always be widows! St. Paul recommended against young women taking a vow of celibacy!

In more recent times This is in no way abnormal. IF I were widowed, and my children were already grown up I too would give this idea serious consideration.


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