I have only been on this site for one day, but I have seen a lot of judgement, dissension and anger. This is not what I expected. I am looking for a place of peace, support, and love. I am not sure there is anyplace in this world for me. I feel and have always felt a calling to the monastic life, preferably with the Franciscans. Before I continue to try to pursue that calling, I want to know if it is even possible. I saw that one monastery had an age limitation. Can I not join if I am 47 years old? Can I not join if I am divorced, even though I did everything I could to prevent it? Can I not join if I am obligated to pay child support for the next 12 years? If their is so much dissension within the church as I have seen among participants on this site, maybe my desire to be a peacemaker could be useful.
It is best to talk with the various religious groups directly. And you might consider the Third Order Franciscans. Lay people can live very monastically. You can change the way you live without taking solemn professed vows of a religious.
But go talk with groups in your area or around the country. They are the best to tell you their particular requirements.
God bless your journey to dwell with God.
Welcome to CAF! I’m sorry your first day on the site has been a rocky one, but there can often be heated discussions on certain threads. After awhile, you will learn to avoid certain topics if you are trying to avoid dissension. Again, sorry your first encounter here was such a bad one :hug1:
As for your questions about the monastic life…
Most religious communities have age limits. You will have to contact individual monasteries and ask.
As far as being divorced, that might not be an impediment, but being a parent of a dependent child will be. Your first vocation is as a parent. You cannot put that vocation aside to pursue another.
I am also 47, am divorced, and have a young son. And I, too, am a contemplative in spirit. Regardless of what I want in this life for myself, I must – MUST – live out my vocation of mother for my son before all other obligations. Perhaps there is a place, a little nest, where God will send me in my later years when my son is independent. But for now, I live the life of a hyper-active contemplative.
Get in touch with some Franciscans, and begin a relationship of dialogue. You may not be able to join – now, or later – but you may find a way to live as a contemplative Franciscan in the world.
God bless you!
If you haven’t received an annulment, that means you’re married, thus canonically impeded from religious vows. If you have a dependent child, especially of you’re paying child support, you cannot take vows. How will you pay child support if you have to take a vow of poverty and give all your assets to the community?
I can’t take a vow of poverty until my student loans are paid off or resolved some other way.
Thank you for your reply. For me the marriage meant forever, so I don’t feel free to seek an annulment. I just have to live with this.
I would like to thank everyone for their replies. The responses I received were things that I needed to hear. I am not newly divorced, and floundering for meaning in life. I volunteer at our local animal shelter, and I have a lot of good friendships. Still I am a little sad that I wont be able to pursue a life that would bring me real peace and happiness. May God give y’all peace.
Franciscans are not monastic.
Monastic life is a life of prayer and work in a community of brothers within the cloister of the monastery. Monks rarely, if ever, leave the monastery. Most of them wouldn’t leave the monastery if they were the last people on earth. Franciscans live in a community but minister out in the world. Franciscans are not cloistered monks.
If you are 47 then the time to act is now. Many communities have a cut-off age of 50. You need to be speaking with vocations directors, visiting communities, going on vocations retreats, starting observerships and discerning now. Many here will tell you that there is always a way, that you will get into a community regardless of age if it is God’s will, etc., but the fact is that there is an age cut-off in most communities and so you need to be acting now.
You don’t become religious to avoid strife and conflict. It sounds like you have a phlegmatic temperament and need to learn to deal with it more effectively. temperaments.fighunter.com/?page=phlegmatic
An annulment means there never was a marriage. It’s not a Catholic divorce.
I don’t think I am hard to rouse to action, dull or apathetic. In fact quite the opposite. I spent 8 years as a criminal defense lawyer in Dallas, and yes I have no more appetite for conflict. I don’t see the point and it is not how Iwant to live. I am aware that the Franciscans are active in the community. That is one of the things that drew me to them. I think my life now is the best that I can achieve in light of past decisions I have made. I can earn enough to pay my child support. I can be here for my children. I can work with and comfort animals at the shelter, and Ican spend a lot of time alone in prayer and contemplation.
Sounds like you are on track.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will take up wings like eagles. They will run and not struggle. They will walk and not tire.”
Isaiah 40:31 Catholic Public Domain Version
Peace be with you.
I pray you and your spouse work things out. This is a terrible time in your life. Hold your spouse clearly in your mind’s eye and LOVE her with the love of Jesus. Perhaps this will put any demons to flight who are egging her on.
You can either be a Secular Franciscan or a lay associate of a Franciscan association. Your work in the animal shelter could be part of your apostolate. Please feel free to PM me for more information.
*]The Order of Friars Minor is not a monastic community, they are a mendicant community. There’s a BIG difference.
*]Most religious orders have a soft age limit of 35, with a hard age limit of 40 years of age. This is to ensure that you would have enough time to fully learn and live the rule.
*]If you have secured an annulment, then a religious order may consider you, but it would be up to them.
*]Child support would preclude you from entering any sort of community. You MUST be free of obligations to enter.
Yes you can live the calling you want
Look into the Franciscan Third order
Which is for people like you and me who live in the world.
To formally join you do take religious vows.
There is a very wide range of ways to live this vocation in the Third Order
God bless you and the calling of the Holy Spirit in you
Please pray for us all here.
There are a couple of Franciscan avenues that are more monastic. Conventual Franciscans, for example.
John Michael Talbot founded a new community based on Franciscan charisms - they have a site in TX and have lots of different ways to belong (including laity / 3rd Order-type). They are known as the Brothers and Sisters of Charity.
You could visit them and begin living a Franciscan way of life as you complete your obligation of child support, and look into an annulment.