Religious life?

I am 41, single no kids or wife or gf and going through some mide life confusion.

How does one know if they are called to religious life?

I had someone tell me the religious orders offer retreats. Ok, but are there any recommended self assessement tests or videos or books?


I have not heard of any videos or the like. I suggest you call the Vocations Office at your Archdiocese. They are bound to have materials that can help, as well as someone to talk to.

I hope this helps.

Have you looked into any religious orders that might fit your calling?

A spiritual director would be a great asset in helping you discern whether or not you are called to a religious vocation. Ask your pastor if he is available or can recommend someone to you.

i guess u should read books nd know exactly what u really want from this juncture u can begin consulting many religious institutes, u also need a priest or a religious’guide as many have suggested.

There are several online vocations assesment tools- just do a google search.

I second this suggestion.

One thing you can do is approach religious life something like you would approach dating. You don’t decide if a certain girl is who you want to date or marry or whatever until you go an talk to her. It is the same with religious life. You will never ever know if it is for you unless you go visit a community.

If God has put the inkling of a desire of it in your heart, that is enough to investigate it. Look for a spiritual director and go visit a community. Any community. There is a community of active sisters close to me who offer retreats for young women thinking religious life in general may be for them. One does not have to be discerning with their community. Perhaps a community offers something similar near you. It may not be the community you end up with if you enter religion at all, but it’s a good step to take.

Just putting it out there that I have a website exclusively dedicated to belated vocations. Please check it out if you are so inclined.

Hi there esmac. I am 41 as well and have been looking to re-enter religious life. I was a Benedictine in my 20’s for a couple of years after college. 18 years later and I find myself missing consecrated life very much.

I can tell you that at our age many of the orders would consider us too old to enter. There are still options though. Both Benedictine monasteries and many dioceses accept guys til they are 43 or more depending on the house or diocese. Trapists might accept older guys as well but not exactly sure about that.

Granted the life of a parish priest is different from that of the monk. Each has its own charism. Among other vows, monks take a vow of stability meaning you are bound to stay there in that community. Diocesan priests get around a little more in their ministries although priest monks can as well because some get farmed out to help local parishes. Both require discernment whether either life would be for you and whether you feel God is calling you.

I am currently in process to enter St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota. Formerly I was at St. Meinrad Archabbey. If you have any questions about monastic life (or diocesan priesthood for that matter since an older brother took that route) I’d be happy to answer. If you have a question about a particular house I could probably answer that too. Each house has its own temperament.

Living in community can be a very rewarding life but don’t expect it be all sunshine and roses all the time. You will find men of all different kinds of personalities and moods. Monasteries are microcosms of the larger world, you seem to have one of every type of person. Whatever problems or issues you currently have will not magically go away at the monastery gate. They will follow you wherever you go as you deal with them and sometimes can be magnified in communal life, but you have your community there to offer support and counsel.

Best bet for you now in addition to prayer is to get out and explore some possibilities. Many houses are happy to have you stay for a week to see if the life and schedule agree with you. What part of the country are you in?

Best of luck to you,


Vocation directors will refer you to the Blessed Sacrament. They will also advise you to get a spiritual director.

Keep these things in mind:

  1. If it’s God’s initiative, let Him make the first move.

  2. Where are your talents going to be best used?

  3. Make a list of your faults and start working on them gently.

  4. Attend adoration:


Yes yes yes to everything Cloisters just posted. Good advice.

would like to give a status update and say thank you to all who have given advice and your support.

Kelly, I was a seminarian at St Meinrad (for 1 year) so I know the Hill well. I would love for you to expand on your monastic experience there, or please pm me.

A number of you have mentioned to discuss with a spiritual director. I do not have one. As far as my parish pastor goes, he said he doesn’t have time to be my spiritual director. Amazingly, he was given the title “Mosignor” at some point in his ministry! I should hope not for telling his parishoners he doesn’t have time to be a spiritual director for them. I live in MS, there are not a lot of options here for spiritual directors as most Christians here are Protestant. I have given a great deal of Bible study with the Book of Proverbs for counsel and it has helped me tremendously, but I agree, it would be great to have a “coach” I could turn to.

I can tell you that I am “religious”. It is a central part of my life and I have grown thirstier for it as I get older, I find myself wanting more Jesus and less of the world I have known.Yes, I attend adoration weekly, two days per week where it is offered here.

I have studied over a monastery in Arkansas that may be a good fit for me. I feel good about them. I may see about going up there for a a few days this spring. Their cut-off on age is 50 with exceptions.

I am ok with the way things are going. I am grateful for the things I have in my life and enjoy, but it’s the “blade of lonliness” as I like to call it that is has been a scourge in my life. Even God said in the book of Genesis it’s not good for man to live alone.

I agree that I think the next thing I would have to do, and probably need to do at this point in my life is go make the visit and see how it feels.

Thanks all. Any other advice, ideas or suggestions are welcomed. Please remember me in your prayers.

dominicans are very hands-off when it comes to spiritual direction. they point to the spiritual classics, and have you check in if there’s a problem.

that being said, if you work off of attraction, you’re likely in the right place.

i was good friends with an oblate attached to st john’s. i used to pick him up for holy hour every wednesday.


Cloisters I apologize but I’m not following you. My parish pastor is not a Dominican. He’s an Irish priest very set in his ways. Although no spiritual direction he does make time to meet for reconciliation.

i wasnt saying he was a dominican. i’m saying you dont have to flog yourself for not having an sd. read up on the classics, and go to confession when there’s a problem. the type of spiritual direction discussed on these boards is ignatian, which suggests every two to four weeks for meetings.

if he doesnt do spiritual direction, that may be a blessing to you because he may not be comfortable doing so.


Cloisters are you in a religious order? If so which one if you don’t mind me asking. I sense from your words we share a common denominator being Catholic but we operate on different frequencies and from different backgrounds.

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