Traditional catholic vision of VOCATIONS to Religious Life


I’ve been confronted to a huge difference between the point of view of most modern Religious Communities and the one of Traditional ones.

The latter say you should enter young, not make the Lord wait, because he longs for you and you might lose your vocation or waste your time. Age limit: 30 in general.

For the more Conciliar communities, they can make you wait for years before they let you in, just like it’s my case for one community. Not under 25 or 30…


Has anyone been confronted to that? :confused:


It all depends on the community. Most of the communities that are part of the CMSWR (Council of Major Superiors of Women Religions)which are the communities which still live in community, have a common apostolate and wear a habit as a visible sign of their consecration do have many communities that have an age limit of 30-35. Their reasoning is actually more that their lifestyle is one that may be too difficult for a woman who has been on her own for years to adapt to. Not all of the member communities have that age limit, but many do, including some of the most known (Nashville Dominicans, Ann Arbor Dominicans, Alton Franciscans).

The communities which decided to do their own thing in the 1960's have changed to have, in some cases, pretty much no age limit as long as a woman can work and be independent. As to why this is, there are probably alot of reasons including their feeling that women entered too early before (corollary with the "marry too young argument) and they want work experience. Those communities also would often have alot of sisters living by herself and not in community, so they want to make certain their vocations can be independent and self supporting. Also, frankly, it may be because those congregations are not getting the vocations and it is expensive to have a sister go to college and/or graduate school so that is a way of making certain most if not all of their vocations have no need of much professional training.


Thanks for your answer.

What I don't understand is that it's much easier to adapt when you are 18 than when you are 30, and asking to be graduated and have a job can makes things much easier and increase chance to lose your vocation, or to move from one spirituality to another - Spirituality-shopping - which can be of no help.

There was such change since Vatican II...
Like the religious habit, why make Religious Life so less attractive?
Sometimes so lax that it becomes riddiculous?
There's a huge problem in the UK, with community that have lost loyalty to their Founders


I figure that the communities that say “our older vocations keep leaving, so it’s better to have an age limit” are speaking from experience, but it does seem odd to me.

For me, I feel like I am much more flexible and less certain that I am always right now than I was ten years ago. That’s part of “growing up.”

And, certainly, when the diocesean newspaper has biographies of newly ordained priests, many many of them are well into mid-life. Yes, being a diocesean priest is different than a consecrated religious living under a Rule. (See the contrasting dinner scenes in “Doubt.”) But still.

However, if it is the case that very frequently older vocations have a harder time adapting in communities that interpret their Rule more strictly, it does make sense that communities with a more flexible understanding of their Rule might have less need for an age limit.

(This is the point where JREducation will point out that I’m using terms imprecisely and Orders are different from Congregations and Rules are different from Constitutions etc etc etc. I’m sure he’s right but the distinctions make my head spin. Substitute “The guiding principles that tell you how life is lived in this community.”)

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