Religious and their parents

How often do religious brothers and sisters talk with their parents (on the phone, through email, etc.)? Obviously this will vary between orders (based on what they allow), but I ask because I enjoy speaking with my parents every day, whether it is just a quick “have a great day mom and dad! I love you!” Or a quick “goodnight mom and dad, I love you!” Because my parents only have two children and I am the oldest, they are always checking on me and making sure I am okay. In about two years, I have decided that I will enter religious life to see if that is where the Lord wants me. However, I am just concerned about the fact I may not be able to say hello to my parents and check on them. When I join religous life, I realize my order becomes my “new” family. But my parents will always be my parents and my sibling will always be my sibling. Thank you for your help.

Depends entirely on the community. Part of the penance of religious life is leaving family to do the work of God.

When I entered monastic life – which by definition is very cut off from the world (including family) – I saw my parents once a year and could send letters every couple weeks. There was a phone (this was way before cell phones) but I only talked with my parents on the phone I think twice in the two years I was there.

Ask the vocation directors of the congregations you are considering what their practices are concerning contact with family.

Yes, your family will always be your family, and religious communities will respect that. On the other hand, joining a congregation means a distinct separation from that family with regard to living arrangements and contact, etc. You and your family will absolutely be able to adjust. Don’t worry.

Both of my parents have written articles on our blog which you may find interesting:

Well, as you said, it depends on the Order and also your stage of formation or your assignment. A daily telephone call, e-mail, or even text as a Capuchin is certainly possible, especially after novitiate and into vows. But you could also expect more limitations in early formation, since you may have access to some technologies restricted or eliminated. Especially during novitiate. And of course, if it was found that excessive use of communications devices may be interfering with your formation, psychosocial development, spirituality, community time, whatever…limitations may be placed as well. Many friars choose to limit communication on their own. Different order will have different norms…even different provinces or monasteries will have different norms within an order. I don’t have first hand knowledge of monastic life, but I’d expect them to be more strict than us apostolic orders. But by and large, we recognize the importance of being able to be in touch with family.

With the Dominicans it depends how far you are along. In the Novitiate a weekly or biweekly phone call is required. But more is not allowed. Also no home visits. Later in formation more freedom is given.

The vocations director will know.

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