Too Poor to Live in Poverty


What is the policy for student loans in the OFM (specifically the Holy Name Province)? One must go to college in some way or form to enter the order, but what if I have student loans afterwards? Obviously I would never be able to pay them back. Thanks.


Is there any way you can obtain a college education cheaply? Live at home? Take community college courses on a pay as you go basis? What about classes on the internet? Are any of these offered for credit?

Does the OFM require 4 years of college? What about a two year associate degree? What particular subjects do they favor?

I would just ask them, as you are interested in a specific province.


They might ask you to delay entry to the order and get a job to pay off the debt. You should ask their vocations director.


Jesus didn’t go to college.


Jesus was a respected Rabbi - no mean feat. That would mean He had the best and most extensive formal education available at the time.


That is one thing about certain communities, they want a bachelor’s degree but minimal to zero debt. Hence I think there might be a real skewing in such communities towards candidates of considerable means…


Yeah, it can be really frustrating. I’ll have less student debt than some students due to my financial aid, but I’ll still be coming out quite a few thousand in debt. And for one discerning religious life… that’s rather frustrating. But I trust God will provide if He truly does want me somewhere where I cannot have this burden of debt.


Well, bear in mind the communities themselves are of very limited means, and joining a religious order does not automatically exempt you from being liable to pay back just debts. Debt-laden candidates would be hampered in their freedom to devote themselves to the work of the community by the obligation to repay.


I’m not complaining about the debt per se, I think that is a reasonable expectation. I am rather commenting about the degree requirement; to expect to get gobs of well-educated young vocations with minimal debt will, I think, naturally skew vocations to such expectant communities towards men and women from wealthy families.


Have you ever thought of a different order that does not require a college degree? Frankly I see no reason for any community to require this. They say they want and need members but put too many requirements on people to ever get there.

I am not sure what you are interested in exactly but you could check into Little Sisters of the Poor. They care for the elderly, and you don’t have to have a degree to enter. They will send you to school while in the order, and you will go to France for several years to learn French, since the founder was from France.

I think asking people to go into dept to go to college is a way to close the door in their face. This is why I stepped away from many communities during my search into religious life. There are communities that don’t require this. Check them out while you are investigating this possibility. Might I also suggest St. Walburga’s in Colorado. It is Benedictine.


I believe that the original poster is male. The Holy Name Province of the OFM consists of friars.

Once again do you know if the OFM requires 4 year college, or would a two year associate degree be adequate? And could you acquire this while living/working from home?


For example, my community, the Legionaries of Christ, doesn’t require a University degree. We try to help you discern first, and if you discern towards the religious priesthood in my community, we’ll provide the right studies. If not, then you can go to study whatever will help you most.
However, we have a zero debt policy so if you go to college you need to pay it off before entry. (This is what I did; I actually left engineering after 2 years because I didn’t see much point in finishing such a degree before entering. Fortunately, University is cheaper in Canada and my parents were really kind.)
This is just one concrete example to help you.


Hi “Sox”

The best thing to do regarding "what the policy is" is to contact the Holy Name Province OFMs directly.

Many times our friars enter and complete some of their University studies at a lower cost institution. (St. Barbara Province)

 Rather than worrying about school and loans, it is best to contact the director to see what other Candidates have done.

The director knows the best way to obtain schooling and to take care of loans, so for any young men out there considering either the Franciscans or any order I urge you to contact the vocations director for specific details.

Here is the link to the Holy Names website

blessings of peace and good

Sr Debbie OSC


It may be that you have to work and wait a while. If they require you to have a degree and no student loan then you will have to get your degree then work and save and pay off your debt. They don’t want to have to pay it off for you- just in case you leave, after they have paid your debt, and many aspirants do leave. If this is your vocation then you will fulfil their conditions.

As others have suggested you may want to check out other orders that do not require a degree. Chances are, though, if you want to teach, you will need a degree, or you will be willing to wait ten years or so before they put you through college.

It isn’t that you’re too poor to live in poverty. You want a degree- or what comes with the degree- but you want someone else to pay for it. Poor people do not have choices. If they cannot afford A then they have to do B. I’m sorry if I sound abrupt, but it seems to me that the friars are trying to teach you about responsibility and you don’t want to learn the lesson.


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