Older vocation calling

I was married for 17 years, had 5 children. We divorced and he has passed. I never remarried and now I’ve begun once again to think about my desire to join the Sisterhood. Nothing new to me since I have had this desire since childhood. Children are grown and on their own. I am a senior citizen with a need to fulfill my spiritual longings. How do I go about this?

You would need to contact the order/congregation you are interested in.

In my diocese we have SSJ’s & RSM’s, both have “Associate programs”.
An associate, in most cases that I am familiar with, lives the charism and is part of the community, yet still maintains a secular life.

Peace be with you on your journey! :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, this may be tough, since most communities will not take you over the age of forty. However, if they find much potential in you, or perhaps you give them a good sob-story, they might let in on this rule. :smiley:

I will pray that everything works out for you. I have confidence that if it is the Lord’s will for you to join a congregation of Sisters, than it will be done.

Terry said;
I was married for 17 years, had 5 children. We divorced and he has passed. I never remarried and now I’ve begun once again to think about my desire to join the Sisterhood. Nothing new to me since I have had this desire since childhood. Children are grown and on their own. I am a senior citizen with a need to fulfill my spiritual longings. How do I go about this?

***Hi Terry!

There are two groups that I looked into as I was also older when I finished raising my children. One is the “Eudist Servanta of the 11th hour” located in Mexico. The woman who began the community, Mother Antonia, has the most interesting story that you have ever read! If you get the chance, read “The Prison Angel.” It is a page turner from beginning to end!


I was also in touch with a sister from that group and she is opening a small convent in Texas. Her name is Sister Lillian and her web page is:


The page that comes up says “apologies–page not found,” but as you can see, it IS the right page! Just click on the pages offered and go from there! I able to speak to Sr. Lillian on the phone and she is a beautiful person!

The second group is “The Servants of the Sacred Cross,” and is located in Nova Scotia in Canada and is an Ecumenical group that is open to Anglicans, Catholics, and Orthodox. It is also an interesting group! I have spoken with the Mother Superior and she is opening a group even over in Australia! Their website is here:


At this point in time, they have “extern sisters” who live in their own homes. They will re-open the convent when there are enough funds to keep it up and running.

Both of these groups are known as “Sisters,” and they wear a habit. They are, however, lay communities and not orders. Check them out and see what you think. I was very interested in both of them until I realized that I couldn’t walk off and leave my family. With ten children and 30 grandchildren,…my place is still here.

Hope this helps!


Have you considered staying at home and becoming a consecrated widow? See my posts further down the page or contact me at ConsecratedWidow@yahoo.com or see my facebook page Consecrated Catholic widows.

Hi Miss Terry! If you would be so kind as to list your age range, I would be most happy to list orders that would accept women in that specific range for you to look into. Also, I would recommend Phatmass.com’s Vocation Station. I am a member there, and it has been invaluable. It’s much more active there. :slight_smile:

Dear Terry,

  If you truly feel called to religious life I would suggest you begin discerning with your parish priest or diocesan vocation director or your spiritual director.

 Older vocations are not as unusual now days as they once were. ( You might find wider acceptance in a contemplative community than an active one but there are no hard and fast rules. [Of course being called, having no impediments, being debt free and in good health are usually a given]

I would suggest also that you use (multiple) searches to help you find some communities to explore.( This might help you to decide if you really are feeling called to religious life or more to a third order of some type ) If you know what order or type of community you might be interested then that might also narrow your search. Again if your adviser feels you are truly called then start contacting and dont be afraid of a few closed doors.

Here are some links to sites that were helpful to me in my search ( I began at age 48)

While online searches are not for everyone they can help to get the ball rolling.Some of these sites include forums including some for those of a more mature age who may be in the process of discernment.

  1. religiousministries.com/editorial/index.asp*

    this is a great website and resource (also has annual books)


 this was helpful as it had a vocations quiz which I found helpful in concretely helping me to answer some specific questions (for myself) as I began the process. One note.. you will receive many leads from them... not all will pan out but even those communities that don't match your "criteria" still contain useful information. 
  1. vocationnetwork.org/

  2. Finally if you know the order you might be interested in… begin to contact different communities… for instance in contemplative monasteries each is usually autonomous so their criteria might vary. ( For example I contacted more than one Poor Clare Monastery )

  3. Also other religious in your area might have some ideas to help you out…don’t be afraid to explore multiple communities.

Blessings on your journey,

Sr Debbie. O.S.C.

I just looked up the Eudist Sisters 11th hour. The founder is a divorced woman from Los Angeles. (I have no idea if she has an annulment). I lived In SanDiego and knew her daughter. It was not what i wanted at the time but as an older woman I now see it differently. BTW an annulment is not neccessary to join them as they are not quite an"order"

I am looking at Daughters of Israel’s Hope and the new one in Texas - I am 66 tho and things are not so easy. Plus I was divorced at 21, no Catholics involved and no sacraments. I simply cannot get a definitive answer about that divorce- each person, nun, priest, friend, has a different answer. Mother Miriam had to have read that i was divorced in my letter, plus my age, but she sent me the applicatoin anyway, as did Motehr Kathleen in Tyler Texas.

Your post is kind of old have you had any “luck” and how old are you? (None of my bizness, I know!)

I am now able to accept older women in my community- the Companions of Clare- see our website. I am still in New Hampshire, waiting to sell my house so the community can move to Maine. If you are interested, go tot he web, then fill out a submission for.
Sr. Courtney Haase, CoC

I was wrong- annulment is needed. I appreciate the private mail that told me so, and also reminded me to read more about the founder.

I know what it is like to have misinformation on the Internet so I apologize for saying the wrong thing.

It is possible to get an indult for instead of an annulment. I believe it takes about 6 months so if you join a community, you need to start right away. The indult from the Sacred Congregation gives you permission to enter.
Sr. Courtney Haase, CoC

of course, any community you join will ask you questions about your marriage; have you had a job; you will be expected to fill out an application; talk with the superior and take psychological testing. If the community agrees, than, they will let you ikknow; however, some religiou ordeers do have an age limit and it is mostly 40.

I heard from my Canonist and am now more aware of what is possible for divorced women to enter religious life.
If you would like the inof, please contact me.

If someone is over the age of 40 and is looking to enter religious life, I have compiled a list of religious orders who will consider belated vocations on this website:


seems like a very late reply . however i am so excited to answer as this is the day i had registered…

well, here are my thoughts about your situation…

read the bible from cover to cover.spend plenty of time with GOD

well, i am pretty sure GOD will tell you what to do.GOD doesn’t care about the good things you do… it’s just rags to HIM… (from ISAIAH)

what matters most is your relationship with HIM

for by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not of yourselves,it is gift from GOD not of good works so that no man can boast… ephesians…



I looked at your list and it is probably the most complete list I have seen so far. Thank you for your careful work. It’s interesting that so many of them are in England and Europe- esp England.

I worked to compile religious orders from America, England, and Europe. I thought a more complete list would help out those on other continents. Thank you for your compliment. :slight_smile:

I was simply professed as a member of the Third Order Secular in 1976. Am I now a member of the Secular Franciscan Order?

I am returned Catholic of five years who spent 20 years practicing Buddhism. Before that I was a Capuchin seminarian. I am interested in also returning to my Franciscan vocation, but I have been recently released from candidacy with the Capuchin s because of my age. I am interest in becoming active as a Tertiary.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.