Religious Life Questions


#1

Hi All,

I have a few questions about religious life that I was hoping someone could answer. :smiley:

I have been thinking about religious life lately, and although I’m only 16, I think it may possibly be my vocation. There aren’t many people I can talk about it with, no one else in my family is religious, and I feel that it would seem big headed or prideful to say it to a priest at my age.

I am starting A-Levels this year, History, Politics&Government, English Language and Law and I want to go to University to study History and eventually complete a PhD. Well that was the plan. Do most Brothers have university degrees or not? Would it be better to take the extra time to complete my education or would it be better to apply at 18?

I had hoped to become a Professor at a University, so I could mix my own research and teaching (teaching has always appealed to me for some reason) so I have been looking at the Dominicans who seem to be very study focused. Would you say they were the most academic of the orders? What about the Franciscans or the Benedictines?

Although married life has never appealed to me, and neither has having children, I had always pictured my self being close to nieces and nephews. Although I don’t want children of my own I still want to be a part of their lives. So I was wondering how often do monks get to leave the Abbey? Do some orders allow their monks more time to see family? I know that it wouldn’t be a very regular thing.

And my final question, sorry for taking so long, is about a monk’s name. When a monk gets a new name does he legally change it or is it just what he goes by if you get what I mean. I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with legally changing my name, but I doubt my mother would be too pleased :D.

Ooh, this is my last question, promise :), I read that three names are chosen by the novice and the abbot has the final say. Is this correct?


#2

[quote="Josh_Keithsson, post:1, topic:286391"]
I have been thinking about religious life lately, and although I'm only 16, I think it may possibly be my vocation. There aren't many people I can talk about it with, no one else in my family is religious, and I feel that it would seem big headed or prideful to say it to a priest at my age.

[/quote]

You're never too young to discern. It would most certainly not be big-headed or prideful for you to discuss it with your priest.

[quote="Josh_Keithsson, post:1, topic:286391"]
I am starting A-Levels this year, History, Politics&Government, English Language and Law and I want to go to University to study History and eventually complete a PhD. Well that was the plan. Do most Brothers have university degrees or not? Would it be better to take the extra time to complete my education or would it be better to apply at 18?

[/quote]

If you find a prospective community it is probably something to discern with them as to whether you would be better off entering sooner to going to university. Some communities have age requirements, so it may be if you wanted to enter a community that had a lower age limit of 21, then you would not be able to enter until that time anyway. But then some only require you to be 18 so it does vary greatly. I am guessing you are in the UK since you talk about A-levels. One thing to note if you are is that while undergraduate student loans are not a barrier to entrance, loans from postgraduate study may require you to have repaid them before you enter so that is something to consider. If you're in the US, then student loans are a barrier even for undergraduate study so do consider carefully.

[quote="Josh_Keithsson, post:1, topic:286391"]
I had hoped to become a Professor at a University, so I could mix my own research and teaching (teaching has always appealed to me for some reason) so I have been looking at the Dominicans who seem to be very study focused. Would you say they were the most academic of the orders? What about the Franciscans or the Benedictines?

[/quote]

I think you should be careful of trying to mix your own aspirations with what you think may be a vocation. You mention several orders here that are a mixture of contemplative and active vocations so you may want to discern which life you feel called to before you start going into such specifics. If you feel called to active religious life and teaching is a ministry that appeals to you then the Dominicans are most certainly something you should look into. If you are more interested in the contemplative/monastic life then I would recommend the Benedictines.

[quote="Josh_Keithsson, post:1, topic:286391"]
Although married life has never appealed to me, and neither has having children, I had always pictured my self being close to nieces and nephews. Although I don't want children of my own I still want to be a part of their lives. So I was wondering how often do monks get to leave the Abbey? Do some orders allow their monks more time to see family? I know that it wouldn't be a very regular thing.

[/quote]

It depends on the community. For example the community I want to join is strictly cloistered - my family will visit me 2 times a year for a few days at a time and I can write letters to them once a month but I will never actually leave the cloister. Other communities may allow more frequent visits. You would most likely have to be in apostolic religious life to be able to actually leave the community to visit family.

[quote="Josh_Keithsson, post:1, topic:286391"]
And my final question, sorry for taking so long, is about a monk's name. When a monk gets a new name does he legally change it or is it just what he goes by if you get what I mean. I wouldn't have too much of a problem with legally changing my name, but I doubt my mother would be too pleased :D.

[/quote]

As far as I am aware they do not chance their name legally.

[quote="Josh_Keithsson, post:1, topic:286391"]
Ooh, this is my last question, promise :), I read that three names are chosen by the novice and the abbot has the final say. Is this correct?

[/quote]

If the community takes new religious names then this is usually the custom, yes.


#3

Thanks, you're great ¦D

May I ask which community you wish to join?


#4

You’re very welcome! Feel free to message me if you have any more questions, I’m always willing to help as much as I can.

I am hoping to join St. Cecilia’s Abbey on the Isle of Wight. They are cloistered Benedictines.


#5

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