Taking private vow, while discerning call to religious life?Any advice?


I am not yet Catholic but, do intend to become one in future. I do understand about being married,consecrated,or religious. I have always felt a tug on my heart to give myself to God and our Lord fully. It has not been a easy choice in that I wished for children. Over my time of discovery I became attached to St. Therese. I watched films and books about her and yet what struck me was how happy she was at her death, knowing she was going home her every dying breath exclaimed his love. It was also a struggle for her to wait to be allowd into Carmel, her sisters in a French film told her simply that she was betrothed and why rush the wedding. Another scene that touched was her prayer to save a convicted criminal in the film. She called him her son and asked only for a sign he repented. In the end he did just that.

I am looking at being a consecrated virgin or a Carmelite in the future.But, like St. Therese I want to give my future bridegroom, our beloved Christ a part of myself.I seek becoming a spiritual mother, helping to guide the lost home, as I too was once lost. I told myself that if St. Therese’s feast day was this year I would make a full perpetual vow of virginity on that day,considering it a bethrothal for what is to come. As her day is October 1, I was reminded of my request to her to let me know what I am called to. In a way she gave me an answer.

I am currently 22, and a virgin. I do not date,etc. What do you think of my plan on taking this vow? What is your experience with private vows? What do you reccomend?


Are you taking RCIA? I think they start in September.


Call a local parish and sign up for RCIA classes, then before you make any decisions about promises get a GOOD spiritual director and tell him all about your desire to make a private promise of virginity. If you can’t find a spiritual director then you can always make a private temporary promise. You could make the promise for say two years or something. Or make a promise of chastity instead of celibacy.


I think it’s a beautiful gift to God–but if you were my own daughter, I’d suggest that if she made such a vow that she make it slowly–maybe for a year or 5 years and then keep it. I’m not saying that you would fall into a sexual relationship with a man before marriage–I’m only reminding you how young 22 is. I know it seems old to you because it’s as old as you’ve ever been to date–but believe me when I say that when you look back in even 5 years and make the comparison you’ll realize how young you are right now. This does NOT mean I question the sincerity of your vocation–only that even in a convent or seminary they insist on not rushing people through so that they have time to be very, very sure before they take a lifetime vow. How will you feel if somewhere along your path to becoming Catholic and then entering an order–all of which take time and apparently right this minute you aren’t even Catholic–if you should somehow discern that the convent is not the path that God truly wants you on and if you should meet a man that you know you should spend the rest of your life with? What would you do then if you had made such a vow at 22 and at say 26 you realize that maybe you were a bit hasty? A vow is very serious–whether personal or public. You are living the gift of celibacy for God now–even without a vow. Just be sure you think it through thoroughly.:thumbsup:


We definitely need vocations now more than ever!

Some of the saints said that part of the reason why our world is in such dire straits is due to the lack of vocations, that vocations pray so much which helps bring about intercession which leads to peace and more. Without them, we have wars and all kinds of other problems.

I’ve heard that if we ever truly understood the importance of vocations, we’d be setting these places up all over the place!

It is VERY easy, especially in today’s times, to allow people to take that vocation away from you, go down the wrong path.

I wish you could find yourself in some kind of protected situation, even now! I hate to see you surrounded by all these influences. It makes it hard for a person to continue in celibacy. The pressure against you would be quite great, and it would take a lot of strength and grace to even think about resisting it! Very few young people can withstand today’s pressures and most fall, unfortunately. It’s the sad truth of these times we’re living in.

Have you ever talked to a guidance counselor at the school, or anybody at the Church, about this? Have you ever talked to a priest about this?

I wonder if there are any programs one can get into to help you. I know where I am in Mexico, they actually do try to encourage young people, even around your age, to consider vocations. They have programs for them. Now, maybe you can also go online and see if there are things like that. Again, it’d be good to have help on this, from someone in the know, the guidance counselor, a priest or sister, say.

Good luck, and God bless.


Here’s a website on vocations.



You should only make a private vow on the advice of your pastor or spiritual director, after due consideration. It is not something to be done in haste.


I agree with Paul in his advice to you. In addition, I suggest you complete at least half of your instruction in Catholicism before you even consider discussing such a vow with a priest. When you have studied the Catholic Faith a bit more, you will then be able to make an informed and mature discussion with a priest about such a serious matter.


I did something similar. But first I discussed it with my spiritual director, who wisely suggested I make a temporary vow for one year. If I renewed the temporary vow every year for five years, the I would be allowed to make it a permanent vow.

  1. RCIA

  2. Spiritual director

  3. Realization that Carmelite spirituality is for everyone. St. Therese was to show the world the beauty of the cloister, despite sufferings.

  4. “Chastity” is the recommended vow. Never do anything like that unless with the help of a spiritual director.

Once you do become Catholic, please realize we are tempted according to our state-in-life, and men may come out of the woodwork. If you are intended to marry, you will know when you’ve met your soulmate/BFF. Then your temporary vow will be slightly changed, meaning chastity-before-marriage, and could even lead to promises as a dedicated lay person in a third order.

I think RCIA is giving out spiritual thermoses of the Little Way. St. Therese is always with converts, especially those who wish to give their all to God. You wouldn’t believe how many converts want to be another Therese.

A recommended book would be “An Easy Way to be a Saint,” by Fr. O’Sullivan, OP.

The constant giving of one’s soul to God–the process of conversion (choosing for Jesus in every situation)–is what the Holy Ghost is leading you to. Whether that means as a cloistered nun, or a street preacher, remains to be seen.

If you’re the one from KY, then I would suggest the St. Louis Bertrand Dominicans in Louisville as spiritual directors.


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