More traditional Orders for men


I tried posting this elsewhere, but I will try it here! Seems more fitting anyway.

I spent some time in a diocesan seminary, but I left formation. I am discerning a call to a religious vocation. I am looking for a more vibrant young and traditional community. It doesn’t HAVE TO be TLM community, but definitely more traditional. Any thoughts out there, ladies and gentlemen??


Norbertines of St. Michael’s Abbey (which is the community I am very much enamored with in many ways) (OF and EF of the Praemonstratensian Rite I believe)
Canons Regular of St. John Cantius (EF and OF)
Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem (EF)
Benedictines of Clear Creek Abbey (EF)
Benedictines of Norcia, Italy (EF, a majority of men are American expatriates)


Saint Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts


I am in a similar position myself. Currently discerning the Institute of Christ the King, FSSP and a new local brand of traditional Benedictines.


Can you be more specific as to what kind of vows or a special charism? Are you thinking about Monastic Orders (Benedictines, Cistercians) or perhaps Mendicant Orders (Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites)? A mission-sending order, or perhaps a clerical institute with the charism of evangelization of the culture (Institute of the Incarnate Word)?


Institute of Christ the King the Sovereign Priest!!!

#7 has info on vocations down the left hand side if you scroll down.


Keep in mind that “traditional” in the context of a religious order means much more than the liturgy or doctrine. It means respect of the traditions of its founding father, such as St. Benedict, respecting the way of life he intended.

A monastery could celebrate the most modern of liturgies, but still be 100% faithful to the charism of the founder of the order, and 100% orthodox and in communion with the Pope. Tradition has to take on the wider meaning in the context of the Rule and the founder of the order, and seeking a vocation in a monastery should be first and foremost because the charism of the order and of the specific house is a good vocational fit in all its dimensions, not just “traditional” liturgy or general doctrine (though you will find that Benedictine monasteries that are 100% faithful to the Rule and St. Benedict’s intent are also 100% faithful to Catholic doctrine; however doctrine is not their focus; living the Rule faithful to its spirituality is the focus).


The Carmelites in Wyoming

If you prefer the active life in service ot the poor over the contemplative monastic life, try the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal


Personally I don’t believe that it’s possible to make a clear recommendation of a religious institute for someone else. There are too many variables, too many things to consider, too many communities: it’s a little like being asked to recommend a potential spouse to someone who has decided that they are called to married life - kind of complicated.:slight_smile:

Although it’s very difficult, I think that only the individual themselves can know what they are looking for, and as OraLabora states above, what ‘tradition’ means to them specifically. In other words, finding a religious institute is a complex matter, and a personal quest, not a search through a catalogue. And typically the individual is not called to ‘religious life’ as such, but to a particular charism, and the quest to find that charism is an important part of our faith journey, and not one that can be lived secondhand.

Probably that doesn’t help much.:o Best wishes to you in your uncovering God’s plan for you.

In Christ,


This is just to give you a head start hopefully, but with enough time you can find a lot of information on the web. If you research a lot on the internet (as I tend to do) be mindful of the source and aware of what’s opinion or fact, as I’m sure you know already. Much of what I say below is opinion. If you’d like to message me about this topic of “traditional orders” feel free to because I’ve been researching a lot and have visited some communities recently which I believe are on the more rigorous side.

Here’s a wikipedia with a simple list of communities which celebrate the EF, but that’s not to say they don’t celebrate the OF or that the OF isn’t their norm. It just means they know and celebrate the EF. For example, Miles Christi celebrates the EF, but from my understanding, it’s always within their community and never in a parish. When they celebrate the OF in a parish they do so with great reverence. Note that not all of these communities are in the United States, so you can get through the list pretty quickly if you stick to the US communities

Here’s a list of communities I’d encourage you to at least take a look at. I do not speak on behalf of any of these communities so anything appearing as a fact should be checked with the actual order
*]The Dominicans - there are 4 provinces in the US. If you’re looking for an older, stabile order which has produced many saints and has well formed priests who are contemplative and active, take a look at the Dominicans. They also tend to do a fair amount of parish work.
*]The Eastern (St. Joseph) - has a ton of vocations with a beautiful school in DC, and from what I’ve read (on the internet) they allow their priests to learn the Dominican Rite which is very similar to the EF but apparently older, see video here: Also they have 2 websites: and
*]The Western (The Most Holy Name of Jesus) - I’ve read they celebrate the Dominican Rite even more so than the Eastern Province
*]The Southern
*]The Central
*]The Legion of Christ - very well formed priests IMO (do not celebrate the EF), Ignatian Spirituality
*]Miles Christi - very well formed priests IMO, similar type of work as the Legion of Christ but focuses heavily on preaching the spiritual exercises. Minimal parish work. Emphasis on the interior life. Very Ignatian. I can give you more info on these guys if you want.
*]Fathers of Mercy - I’m pretty sure these guys don’t celebrate the EF
*]Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (Wyoming Carmelite Monks) - apparently these guys are growing at a nice pace. They have plans to build a large gothic style monastery there in Wyoming. Right now they look to be in wooden buildings forming a cloister type setting.
*]Franciscan Friars of the Renewal - in one of their YouTube videos I saw them celebrating what looked like the EF
*]Norbertines - St. Michael’s Abbey in Orange County
*]Our Lady of Clear Creek Benedictine Monks

If you’d like to investigate types of catholic spirituality, you may enjoy a book called Paths to Prayer found here:
I found it not only informative but also formative and the author apparently knows what she’s talking about so it’s a safe read for us catholics

Let me know if I can help you out any further,


Those are all completely different charisms.

I repeat, it’s important to discern which charism and rule one wants to live under. Benedictines attach a particular importance to the liturgy (especially the Divine Office) because of the Rule. What that means is that in general, whether OF or EF, in Latin or the vernacular, the liturgy will be celebrated with care.

But what really makes the community tick is its faithfulness to the Rule of Saint Benedict in its entirety, not just the parts pertaining to liturgy (the Rule mentions nothing about the Mass, incidentally other than a few passages about admitting/ordaining priests for the “service at the altar”, but has a lot to say about the Divine Office).

Again, if one seeks a vocation on the basis of “tradition”, it has to be the particular tradition and charism of the order. A Benedictine community can celebrate the OF in the vernacular and be completely faithful to Benedictine tradition while another one celebrating in the EF may not. Of course the reverse may also be true.

The discernment process may of course involve looking at different orders, but to determine if one fits with, first the order’s charism, second, the specific community, and third, if one prepared to spend one’s entire life living under that rule. It’s not unlike finding a spouse. If one sticks to superficiality and appearances, one will be sorely disappointed. However in a monastic community, it won’t just be the postulant checking out the community. The community will also check out the postulant. Remember that a community gets to vote on whether a postulant can make each step from postulant, to simple vows, to solemn (lifetime) vows. Someone who is there for the wrong reasons will be quickly found out and won’t even be admitted.

One would think however that someone will first study what each of the orders are all about and then at least narrow down the choices. For example someone attracted to the spirituality of Saint Benedict, may want to check out Benedictines, Cistercians (common observance) and Trappists. Many communities offer the opportunity to live and work with the community for a short period to get to know the order and community better.


I really agree with this. Since the OP only mentioned the desire for a community fulfilling the characteristics of vibrant, young, and traditional where the word traditional was related to the EF, “It doesn’t HAVE TO be TLM community, but definitely more traditional”, I just provided some communities I felt fulfilled those 3 qualities regardless of charism since that wasn’t specified.

Like the OP, I’m also discerning and so I like that you pointed out the importance of charism over the superficial appearances which for me would be things like young vocations, vibrant, and rigorous, even though I think entering a community with other young and energetic guys who are serious about their vocation would be wonderful on top of any charism. I often have to remind myself of this so I appreciate that you said it. :slight_smile:



Note: I’m a Legionary and know how to celebrate EF and do it occasionally. We do not see it as central to our spirituality as some communities dedicated to it but we aren’t forbidden from celebrating it.


The Salesians of Don Bosco.


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