Teen Vocations: How can we move forward?


Hello Everyone,
I was wondering if anyone knows of any religious orders that accept minors. I am discerning the Catholic Priesthood/Religious Life and while I know most young people are not fit for religious life or priestly formation at such a young age, I am part of a small minority that would benefit from being able to progress in this discernment (entering a religious community or minor seminary). In my discernment it has been difficult because the Church has shied away from providing minors with the tools to discern a priestly vocation, only instructing us to pray and live our lives as a good young Catholics. This is a great step but after a while I have felt a longing and desire to move forward. There is only so much discernment one can do from the outside, I feel ready to move into a formal discernment process either in a religious community or through some sort of priestly formation program. I know times are different now but I find myself in the place of many of the saints who were called at a young age, many of which entered into a religious community or began priestly formation at a young age. Anyway I just wondering what my options are, God Bless Everyone!

For Perspective:
I am 16 years old (17 in September)
I am very involved with the church through altar serving, music ministry, being a lector, retreat leader at my school and catholic youth club at my school.
I have been engaged in formal discernment with my Archdiocease since 8th grade and in personal discernment since 6th grade
I am a honor roll student
I have participated in many retreats and conferences
I pray a shorter version of the Divine Office everyday and participate in many other forms of prayer
I maintain a healthy balance in life and engage in normal teenage activities like sports and theater
I have met multiple times with the vocation director in my diocese
Iknow I’m still maturing and am no where near perfect, but I can’t deny this call I have received and all I want to do is live out the will of God, I have been told by many people including clergy members that the only problem is that I am too young, throught middle school and in my first two years of high school I’ve done my best to continue to discern well and have balance in my life, but I looking for a next step and I don’t know how to take it!


I recognize the importance of maturing, but think of St. Therese of Lisieux she entered Carmel around the age of 15. Now I’m in no way insinuating that I am on her level, but It’s hard I’ve done as much as
I can in my state of life and I feel stuck. I mean my diocese gives me special permission to attend certain discernment retreats, It’s just unfortunate because not even Catholic School offers a space conducive to discernment but oh well, thanks for your response


What does your Vocations Director say


He told me to keep up what I was doing and that he would be more than willing to provide me with with more resources when I am 18.


It’s an exercise in patience.


@Roseeurekacross is right. Look upon it as an opportunity to cultivate patience.

You wrote that you feel stuck, but I would suggest that you are not really stuck. You have been putting a lot of energy into religious activities and thinking a lot about a religious future. For the next year, perhaps you could get unstuck and move forward spiritually by letting go of that dream – not abandoning it, but just putting it on a shelf for a while – and looking for perfectly ordinary, boring ways to serve others for their own sake (family, friends, classmates, neighbors, community) and not to advance yourself. Grow in faith and virtue in the ordinary activities and challenges of life.


This is a very interesting thread, two people, one adult and 1 teen. One discussing his deep vocation to Priesthood, the other a self professed satanist looking for proofs of Jesus .

Jesus surely works in mysterious ways


St. Therese lived in an era when people died at a much younger age, as evidenced by her own death (and other saints of that era), so they had to get started on their adult lives sooner. It wasn’t unheard of for girls in her day to be living as adults and getting married around age 15 or 16. Nowadays it’s not the norm, and there’s even some risk to adults in the USA from having a minor under 18 hanging around them in a community vocational setting.

If you have a strong vocation, I would suggest you use this time to try to figure out what skills would be the most useful to whatever group you plan to enter, and build them. I can understand the feeling of wanting to get on with your life, but you can use this time productively so it’s not like you’re just sitting around and waiting.


Truly there’s not a lot out there for youth, particularly those called to religious life and priesthood. There used to be sodalities and aspirancy schools, but now we’re recoiling from the sex abuse scandals, and we can’t hardly touch kids now.

Your story reminds me of one of my fave memories of our Dominican laity chapter in Knoxville. The twelve year-old daughter of one member was standing on the kneeler, sharing the Christian Prayer book with her dad and another dad. (We had lots of member kiddos). When I met with the leader of the Nashville chapter, I told her of that, and how the young lady wanted to participate. She said a firm no.

That being said, I would recommend a personal prayer rule, meeting with a spiritual director, and perhaps making either a consecration or private promises. And, by all means, be a holy student! If the St Vincent Conferences are in your area, participate in those.

Mrs Cloisters OP
Lay Dominican


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