Questions on cloistered convents?

  1. If your not officially converted but believe the Catholic faith is right for you can you start the discerning process?
  2. I have to respect my parents wishes not to attend a Catholic Church until after I move out. If I can not meet with a priest,nun,etc. directly can I still receive some e-mail guidance until I can? Would it be too forward to send an e-mail to a convent I’m interested in or would they not be okay with it until I can become a member?
  3. Since my family will not approve if I find it is right for me I would not have help moving from the world to a convent. Would the convent I join be likely to be able to help me get things in order so I can join them? I don’t have friends support for this so I would be on my own here.
  4. Do most nuns get to keep a journal,etc?
  5. What is convent life like? How do they handle the sick, elderly,etc? Do they leave a convent for the doctor? I do need glasses so for me an eye doctor is needed once a year though I hardly get sick. Would I still get mt prescription eyewear?


You would probably need to be 18, or older, before considering monastic life (I’m just assuming that you might be under 18, since you mention parental permission?). You can still establish a friendly relationship with a cloistered community before then, though.

Health care plans for individual communities vary; so does the way they care for their elderly. These are great questions for the community that you may be interested in.

For cloistered convents, it is typical that a convert would need to wait to apply for around 3 years after entering the Catholic Church. Not all require a waiting period; it depends on how mature you appear to be, how long you’ve considered religious life (maybe you wanted to be a nun 10 years before you were even a Catholic), etc.

You may not be able to apply to a convent/monastery for several years, but that doesn’t stop you from studying different religious orders and contacting the ones that look interesting. I don’t think this is too “forward.” You can begin to learn about their way of life and develop friendships with the Sisters. I’m sure they will be happy to answer all of your questions and help you to understand the life that God may be calling you to.


You said your parents will not allow you to “attend” a Catholic Church until you move out. Did they tell you that you could not speak to a priest or nun? If not, perhaps you can do so on your own.

As to Convents — the Cloistered Sisters normally (most Orders) are allowed out once a year to vote and once a year for medical checkups (including eye doctors). The active Convents, which work in schools, within the Diocese, or Churches, vary. They allow Doctor (and eye doctor) appointments as needed, and the convent pays for the glasses once you are a Novice (usually a year).

You might find a Cloistered Convent which would accept you one year after your conversion and Baptism/Profession of Faith. Meantime, there are a lot of books about Catholicism in any library, which can be read IN the library, so you don’t have to take them to your parent’s home.

Some of the Carmelites will accept you one year after your conversion, likewise some of the Benedictines and Franciscans (the cloistered Franciscans Nuns are the Poor Clares, mostly.) Another possibility are the Sisters of Charity founded by Mother Teresa, which have accepted converts very soon after conversion, but they are not cloistered.

A bit of info: Sisters belong mostly to active (apostolic or working) Orders. Nuns are how cloistered Sisters are referred to, usually. There is a difference.


Here’s a website on vocations. I think it should cover all of them, though I didn’t read it.

I think you could start e-mailing people.

If you’re still in high school, you could also begin to talk to your guidance counselor about your wishes.


I am 22 however, my parents are not Christian and are big on none of their kid a getting ‘brainwashed.’


Regarding life in a Convent:

These vary greatly depending on the Order. The average is: Rising for early prayer between 4 and 5 am with Mass following. Confession at least once a month. (A priest is assigned to visit each Cloister for a year or more, when another priest is assigned). Breakfast can vary – some Cloistered Nuns have only coffee or tea and toast with possibly some fruit for breakfast. Others have a larger breakfast with scrambled eggs, perhaps some meat (although many Carmelites seldom eat meats). This is followed by work, private prayer in your cell (room) for up to 2 - 3 hours, some grow a large vegetable garden & work is done there. Most cloisters observe silence except during their once or twice a day time of getting together, and the talk is usually on Spiritual matters, or occasionally about their work. As a beginner in the Convent, you would have at least an hour and possibly 2 or 3 hours a day with your Director to teach you the Rule of the Order. After work, there is prayer again in late morning, followed by the main meal (usually) which is between 11:00 and 1:00 around lunchtime. This is followed by Scripture reading in your cell, private prayer, and in some cloisters, you do your daily work also in your cell. Laundry is also done as assigned work in small groups also in silence. Then there is afternoon prayer, Rosary, private prayer or Scripture reading, a small meal in the evening, sometimes followed by group fellowship again, then Benediction and Night prayer and very early to bed. Many Cloistered Nuns, arise again around 11 pm or 2 am for Matins (midnight prayer in the Chapel), back to bed for the hours until rising again.

As for the Sisters/Nuns helping you to enter – of course they will! You should need only 2 or 3 skirts (definitely BELOW) the knee, 2 or 3 blouses, 2 or 3 slips (cotton or nylon, full length), several pair of socks or hose (dark colored) enough underwear for 4 or 5 changes (usually including a bra of cotton -(no lace or fancy stuff), a pair of sturdy black or brown shoes, and one pair of nice flats (in some convents) for Sundays and Feast Days. Also 2 nightgowns (long) usually one in cotton and one in light wool and a pair of plain slippers. Other orders only require 2 sets of each item, then they provide your habits after that.

Many convents require a “dowry” (usually about $500) which is held to provide for you if you decide to leave at a later time, but no one is refused due to lack of money that I know of.

Why are you interested in a Cloister? Not as many prefer it, although I have always thought it was preferable (personally) to the active Orders. I was in an active Order, and wished I could have been a Carmelite instead, but did not have the inner strength for it myself. If I were young again, I would use my will power to train myself to discipline and enter a Cloister!


I would say that although it is good that you want to follow the commandments and honor your father and mother, ultimately, you are 22 years old and are capable of making choices pertaining to faith. I don’t see how they, in good conscience, can claim that you are being brainwashed. You are an adult with a free will.

But if you are unable to actually attend a Catholic Church, any priest would be more than willing to speak with you at least by email. If you look up your closest parish, you should be able to find the contact information!

God Bless you, and I hope you do find a home in the Catholic faith.


I would be okay on funds as I work two jobs one is renewed yearly. I wanted to be in a cloister because I felt I would be closer to God and our Lord there. While working for a community is always good I think as a nun we are called to give the whole world up for him. True I think praying to save the world is important yet, your goal as a nun is also to reach a complete union with our Lord which might only be achieved through the total gift of ourselves and all that is important to us. Through silence I think one can best hear him speak to the heart. This is why I prefer the cloistered communities, so that in each day and every moment our beloved Christ can draw me closer to his heart,inflame me with his love, and provide me a thirst to save souls for him.


Additional information regarding living in a cloistered Convent – or ANY convent!

First, be aware that it is not all spiritual and beautiful. There will be Sisters who don’t like you or that you don’t like. This is a fact of human nature. If you haven’t read “Diary of a Soul” or seen the film (available on DVD) "St. Therese, do so. St. Therese had one Sister who was always splashing her carelessly with the dirty laundry water, which irritated Therese no end. What did she do? She tried to love that Sister more! Another Sister was always criticizing her, and picking on her. What did she do? She went out of her way to be extra kind to that Sister!

When I was in the Convent, I was told it is a life of a martyrdom of pinpricks! And it is. It is also highly satisfying, spiritually fulfilling and most pleasing to Our Lord. I agree with the previous answer – you are 22 and able to make decisions on your own. Are you in college? Are your parents supporting you? Do you have a job?

If you are working, start looking for a very small apartment that you can afford, then start going to Mass, start RCIA classes & you can become a Catholic. Explain to the priest that you want to become a Cloistered Nun and ask for his direction as a Spiritual Director.

Be aware, do NOT go into debt! I’m not aware of any convents which will allow entry if you are indebted. You must be clear of debt to enter. Once you are on your own, attending daily Masses, even before your Baptism and Confirmation will help you to know if you truly are called to the Cloistered life. It is not an easy life, but it is a fulfilling one. And, oh yes. In convents, the Sisters DO have a sense of fun and humor. St Teresa, who founded the Discalced Carmelites in Spain had a great sense of humor, and encouraged it in her Sisters. And they lived a life of poverty that was much more severe than anything you’re likely to find in the U.S.!!

I will pray for you to achieve your desire to become Catholic, and if you succeed in becoming a Cloistered Nun, I beseech you to occasionally remember me in your prayers. I request your prayers anyway, because growing up in a non-Christian family, it is obvious that Jesus, Our Lord, has sought you out in a special way.


It sounds to me like you want to enter for all the right reasons! The Discalced Carmelites and Carmelites in general have the priority of praying for Priests that souls may be saved. Secondly they pray for the whole world, and often receive requests for prayers from laypersons who request prayers. These are often given to individual Nuns to pray for. Many Carmelites do keep a journal – a spiritual journal, which they share with their director, Novice Mistress or the Superior of the particular Convent. Most Carmelite convents are limited to 10 to 16 Sisters, and when they get more, several are sent to begin a new one. They are one of the stricter Orders, but their life is primarily oriented to prayer and becoming closer to Our Lord, which sounds like what you are looking for.

Good luck, and come back and let us know how things go for you so we can all thank the Lord for your love for Him and for souls who need Him so much!


It is a joyous thing to hear of someone called to the religious life. You sound like you have a desire to please the Lord in thought and deed: remember that and be formed strongly in the fundamentals of your faith, to be not led astray: be careful thus, for many orders today in the United States are unorthodox to heretical, which care more for feminism, social agitation, and leftist causes than for the glory of the Lord our God the Most Holy Trinity. Most of these orders are organized under the Leadership Conference of Women Religious: but there are also many orders, which tend to be the fastest-growing and most dynamic with the power of the Spirit, which are highly orthodox. Most of these are organized under the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. Something to keep in mind.

I will pray for you, that you may discern God’s call.


to "Duchess’

What state do you live in? I’ve visited or know several convents in various states, including some Carmelite and other Cloistered Convents, and might be able to refer you to a couple which are good, Catholic, and in good standing with the Vatican. I’ve lived in nearly a dozen states over the years, and am also friends with people and priests in local Parishes in many of them. Perhaps I can give you some contact information.

God keep you. I think the Lord is drawing you to Himself and to a very holy life.


Here is our site on the cloisters:

We also offer an online support group with closed posts:

If you are where I think you are, then there is a Carmelite monastery on Newburgh Road. You can ask the nuns to pray for you in finding an efficiency apartment, and there are apartments all around that area.

There is also a Passionist monastery in Erlanger, KY. They are great friends of mine.

Another poster asked something of the same question on this vocation forum, so you could do a search on kentucky cloisters.



One addendum to Khalids post… not all cloistered orders are part of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. So while there are many fine communities that do belong to that group, it is not necessarily an all inclusive listing. For instance most Poor Clares of the Primitive Observance…(OSC) belong to their own Federation of Monasteries which was set up at the request of Rome.

  • Again it depends on the community. Active sisters generally would go out for doctors visits. Cloistered would go out according to their constitutions. [for instance we cannot get doctos or dentists to come to us for house calls so if we are sick or need to see a dentist, or eyedoctor we make an appointment to see them.]… All communities either active or contemplative/cloistered would make sure that your medical needs are met.*

There are various posts here on different vocation search websites you might look at blessings as you begin your journey…oh one last thing… if you can do try to find a priest or sister you can talk to (in real life so to speak as opposed to only online) he or she can be a tremendous help to you… If you are not sure where to begin you might look at retreat centers near you or Neuman centers at a local college.

Blessings… Sr Debbie OSC


It seems like the CMSWR represents active or active/contemplative orders.

For Carmelites, I have heard that there are four associations of Carmelite Monasteries in America, and of these the St. Joseph Association is especially faithful to the Magisterium and to tradition. Many Carmelite communities are independent, though, and that’s fine too.


I think you are jumping the gun a little here. You aren’t a Catholic yet and you are unable to attend Mass until you move out. so you have to wait until you move out, then start attending Mass and RCIA which usually takes one year, then you usually have to wait 2-3 years before being able to enter religious life. So you could be talking about more than 4 years before you will even be considered as an applicant.

There is certainly nothing wrong with researching various convents, but there are quite a few additional steps you also need to include. First, learn about the Catholic faith through reading and online research. While doing so, you can also learn about different spiritualties within the Church such as Carmelite, Franciscan, Dominican, Benedictine, etc. and what the charism is for each one of these orders.

As lovely as it sounds to live in cloistered life, the reality is that it involves community living as well as time alone with God. As you grow into your spiritual life you may want to check out active communities as well as cloistered ones. Don’t rush into anything.

Best wishes and prayers on your journey.


Whatever you do, remember this. Even if your parents forbid you to visit the church, speak to priests, nuns or attend mass (once you convert), or even if they forbid you to go through RCIA etc. you can do it, because you need not obey your parents’ orders that go against God and Church.

I do hope you will become a Catholic soon, and that the Holy Spirit will fill you and give you a clear mind on what your vocation is. :slight_smile:


I agree. Your parents cannot forbid you to follow the Lord or to worship. If they state you must move if you insist on being religious, then find a small apartment (perhaps one close to a Parish or Convent), that will provide you with a support group/family to assist you with your growth in the Lord.

Praying for your growth in the Lord.


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