Monk first, then priest? Or ordination, then religious order


#1

Hey all,

I just had a question that I couldn't find an answer to: for people who are interested in joining a religious order (let's say Carmelites for example) but also feel drawn to the priesthood, is it customary first to undergo investiture and then seek ordination, or the other way around?

All the best,
Taurks


#2

Religious Orders will only ordain brothers in order to serve the needs of the community or its mission/apostolate. So you will join the Order first and discern with them if you are called to the priesthood in that Order.

You join a religious order (or society, congregation etc) because you are drawn to their "charism," then you are ordained a priest FOR that Order.

If you are drawn to be a priest FIRST then either look into diocesan life, or to priestly societies (FSSP for instance).


#3

The norm is that if a man feels called BOTH to the priesthood and to a particular religious order, he would enter the religious order with the intention of becoming an ordained religious. In many clerical orders (such as the Carmelites or Dominicans) this is normal, as most members are priests. In other groups, the superiors may have the man enter the order first, and then the superiors would discern whether the man is called to be a priest as well, or a lay brother (I know some Franciscans do this, as well as certain monastic orders.)

So, it really depends. If one is drawn to a religious order where he could be a priest, or if he is so drawn to a particular order that he wouldn’t mind if it was decided he was to be a non-ordained brother, he would enter religious life first. If the call to priesthood is so strong that he would not feel called to an order that would not have him ordained a priest, he would discern being a diocesan priest, or a member of another order.

It is also possible that one may be ordained a priest within a diocese, and later discern that he is called to religious life, and so join that order as an already-ordained priest. This can’t be something that a man plans, of course (be ordained in a diocese first, then once one is a priest, plan to join an order) but a progressive discernment that leads one closer to Christ by later becoming a religious.

If you had a question like this for a particular order (what are the chances I could be a priest and member of this order? Could the superiors change their minds about my priestly calling later on? etc.) the best person to ask would be the vocation director for that particular order.

Hope this helps!

In Christ through Mary,
Frank


#4

[quote="Cominghome89, post:3, topic:286880"]
The norm is that if a man feels called BOTH to the priesthood and to a particular religious order, he would enter the religious order with the intention of becoming an ordained religious. In many clerical orders (such as the Carmelites or Dominicans) this is normal, as most members are priests. In other groups, the superiors may have the man enter the order first, and then the superiors would discern whether the man is called to be a priest as well, or a lay brother (I know some Franciscans do this, as well as certain monastic orders.)

So, it really depends. If one is drawn to a religious order where he could be a priest, or if he is so drawn to a particular order that he wouldn't mind if it was decided he was to be a non-ordained brother, he would enter religious life first. If the call to priesthood is so strong that he would not feel called to an order that would not have him ordained a priest, he would discern being a diocesan priest, or a member of another order.

It is also possible that one may be ordained a priest within a diocese, and later discern that he is called to religious life, and so join that order as an already-ordained priest. This can't be something that a man plans, of course (be ordained in a diocese first, then once one is a priest, plan to join an order) but a progressive discernment that leads one closer to Christ by later becoming a religious.

If you had a question like this for a particular order (what are the chances I could be a priest and member of this order? Could the superiors change their minds about my priestly calling later on? etc.) the best person to ask would be the vocation director for that particular order.

Hope this helps!

In Christ through Mary,
Frank

[/quote]

Great reply Frank.

Now the But. . .

I do not think the term "lay brother" is in use any longer. The term is brother now.

I can only speak to my order, which is the Carmelites. What Frank states is true. One may enter with the intention of being ordained. If the community discerns that one is not called to be ordained then they let you know before you take solemn vows.


#5

[quote="ByzCath, post:4, topic:286880"]
Great reply Frank.

Now the But. . .

I do not think the term "lay brother" is in use any longer. The term is brother now.

I can only speak to my order, which is the Carmelites. What Frank states is true. One may enter with the intention of being ordained. If the community discerns that one is not called to be ordained then they let you know before you take solemn vows.

[/quote]

haha, thank you for the correction. Now that I think about it I'm pretty sure you're correct. I very recently reread Thomas Merton's journal "The Sign of Jonas" that he wrote as a young monk, so I guess that's how the term "lay brother" got stuck and put into use. Forgive the slip!

In Christ through Mary,
Frank


#6

[quote="Cominghome89, post:5, topic:286880"]
haha, thank you for the correction. Now that I think about it I'm pretty sure you're correct. I very recently reread Thomas Merton's journal "The Sign of Jonas" that he wrote as a young monk, so I guess that's how the term "lay brother" got stuck and put into use. Forgive the slip!

In Christ through Mary,
Frank

[/quote]

There are still lay brothers, but not in every order. The vocation to be a lay brother is real and is a valid vocation. The problem is that the vocation to be a brother and a lay brother have been confused and the terms used interchangeably. It's the same thing that happens with sisters and nuns. All nuns are sisters, but not all sisters are nuns.

All lay brothers are brothers, but not all brothers are lay brothers. Communities that have lay brothers are:

Dominicans (called cooperator brothers or coadjutor brothers)
Carthusians

In these communities the ordained vocation is essential to the identity of the community. You can't have a Dominican order without priests or a charterhouse without priests. At the same time, you can't have either order without lay brothers. The two need each other.

Among Franciscans, Cistercians, Carmelites and others, that's not the case. The Carmelite Order would be the same order with or without priests or if everyone were a priest. The Carmelite vocation does not depend on the priesthood.

Among the Franciscans, the order can exist without priests. In fact, many Franciscan communities have no priests or have a small number of priests. However, there would be no Franciscan order without brothers. The brothers are essential to the order, the priests are not. The Franciscan vocation does not depend on the priesthood, but it does depend on brotherhood. The founder would be lost, since Francis was not a priest. It is the non-ordained Franciscan who best presents the image of Francis of Assisi to the world.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, FFV :)


#7

Hey,
If you want to become priest, you have to go to a seminary or a religious life. If you want to enter in a monastery like the Carmel, the first point is to be a god friend of Christ. So, monk first and you will discern the priesthood later with your master.
I know what I'm talking about, after my three years experience with the Carmel.

Gob bless you,

http//:leandresz.com/en/

[quote="Taurks, post:1, topic:286880"]
Hey all,

I just had a question that I couldn't find an answer to: for people who are interested in joining a religious order (let's say Carmelites for example) but also feel drawn to the priesthood, is it customary first to undergo investiture and then seek ordination, or the other way around?

All the best,
Taurks

[/quote]


#8

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