Religious Discernment Questions

So I was for a long time thinking of being a consecrated virgin. However, my Deacon kept bringing up getting into a convent and after speaking to my once not supportive mother I’m realizing a few things. My mother indicated the deacon was trying to let me know that technically you do gain Christ as a consecrated but, not the support financially,etc. of the Church. Considering I am a single woman living alone with a cat and only able to support myself (and very minimal amount left over for other things) at this point with non full time work, she indicated after RCIA if I was serious to consider a convent. She felt like it would be the best option out of the two for my situation. What do you think of this?

Also,I had questions:

  1. What are some good cloistered communities that are in or around the Louisville,Kentucky area? Communities working with the elderly also would work.
  2. I was interested in the Carmelites, a full cloistered community in Louisville down near Newburg Road I believe. However, I can not find a website or more information. Any ideas?
  3. I do have a cat that I would like to keep until his death. Would a community be okay with adopting him too? He LOVES people of all sorts including children.
  4. Since I’m in RCIA can I even start asking questions of these communities? I would ideally like to explore different ones and then work overtime on a relationship with one community I was serious with.
  5. Is it possible to shadow postulates in a community, tour the facility, and maybe spend some time when I can experiencing their community life as a discerner?
  6. When I find a community I fit well with does the Mother of that community function as a spiritual director?
  7. I am:24 years old, vegetarian since childhood (will get sick if eat meat), have some anxiety issues and self-confidence, as well as learning disability( largely foreign language and mathematics affected) and mild physical (mostly means no endurance and should not do hard manual labor). I am however better than average in English and Comprehension. Would this prevent me from joining a convent?
  8. Is there any information on the Kentucky Passionists Sisters? What do you all think of them?
  9. Anyone had any experiences with the sisters of St. James the Worker?
    Any other advice is great.:slight_smile:

Most communities would be wary to accept you at this point. Many will ask you to wait for a few years and “let the dust settle.” A new convert is gung ho in the first couple of years and very fervent, but as time goes on they hopefully become more stable and committed in their faith. It’s kind of like buying a new car, all shinny and new, but wait because there may be a few dings and scratches down the road. I encourage you to wait and investigate. At 24 you have plenty of time yet to discern. There are Passionist, Carmelites, Little Sr. of the Poor and others in the Louisville area. The Little Sr:)s of the Poor have a nursing home in Louisvile and are always happy to speak to interested young women. They often need good employees, but the work can be hard at times, but they have other jobs as well. Even so, I think you should wait a bit. As for the cat? I guess it depends on the order or superior. Good luck:D

I have read of some orders holding retreats for discernment, or silent retreats, perhaps retreats of another kind.
Many of the orders have websites now with contact information. Speaking to the sisters would give you more information …
Your Diocese may have contacts for you.
God bless you for responding to grace!

God bless you for responding to grace!

Each order is different in regards to acceptance of novices, but many orders offer retreats of various kinds :slight_smile: . This may be a good place to start. Your Diocese may have information for you on religious orders within your area.

Most religious orders require new converts to actively live and practice their faith for a minimum of 2-3 years before seriously considering them as a postulant. In the meantime I would suggest you do a lot of reading and research about religious life so you can make a more informed decision.

Consecrated virgins and consecrated hermits must be self-supporting; they do not receive any financial assistance from the Church. Religious orders are self-supporting by their own works (such as teaching, nursing, producing food items or religious articles).

You may want to begin discerning if you want to be in an “active” religious order vs contemplative/cloistered order.

Start looking now. As St. Therese says, “Go off your first impression.” The Holy Ghost works on attraction.

If you’ve got that many issues, I would suggest either the cloister; a secular institute; third order or oblature; or either consecrated hermit or virgin. Only in the first would you not be required to support yourself. If you cannot do hard work, you’d probably not be suitable for the active religious life, which can be very physically demanding.

KY’s full of convents! I grew up in Bardstown, and attended colleges in Louisville and Berea, respectively.

The KY Holyland tour:

St. Louis Bertrand Church in downtown Louisville is conducted by the Dominicans, and I highly suggest them as spiritual directors. They also have meetings of the Dominican Laity there, and would likely welcome you to a meeting.

Here is the Archdiocese of Louisville webpage for religious:

The Carmel of Louisville is in DIRE need of young vocations! I know they don’t have a web presence, but if I had the photos, I would build one for them pro bono. The superior there was on our Cloister Outreach prayer list when we first started in the late 1980s.

Here’s an article on them:

Diocese of Covington:

The Sisters of St Joseph the Worker were founded by a group who separated from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. I would recommend them.

The Passionists of Erlanger, KY, are also in DIRE need of young vocations. I nearly entered there myself.

Diocese of Lexington:

Vocations Director for the Diocese:

I don’t know of any motherhouses in the Diocese of Lexington. The diocese is relatively new. St. Clare’s in Berea had two sisters from different religious communities working there. Blessed Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity opened a mission in Jenkins when I was in college, but that was nearly 30 years ago.

Also not sure about the cat. All would depend on where you’re attracted. If the convent can’t keep up with the vet bills, probably not.



Here’s the Poor Clares of Evansville, IN:


Study. Lots of it.
God bless you on the journey.

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