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...

WHY SUCH A DIFFERENCE?

Has anyone been confronted to that? :confused:

[quote="Bebekoualy, post:1, topic:215733"]

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...

WHY SUCH A DIFFERENCE?

Has anyone been confronted to that? :confused:

[/quote]

It varies by community and seeing that there are so many communites out there it is hard to say.

Also there maybe other reasons a community may wish you to wait.

With out knowing the whole story, which we can never truly know, we can not really say much.

[quote="Bebekoualy, post:1, topic:215733"]
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.

[/quote]

I don't really like this point of view. I've heard a good religious priest speak on vocations a couple of times, and he always says, "Don't rush. If you're in college finish your degree". The idea he wanted to get across to us was that you shouldn't feel trapped, because that's not how God works. God doesn't trick or trap or rush people into a vocation that they may not want.

No, you shouldn't ignore a call from God, but you shouldn't rush in without taking the time to think and discern.

There are several religious orders I know of that say the same thing you have discovered and they are not traditional orders, but they are on the side of traditional communities. They have been established recently and are very into finding vocations. I have had contact with a few of them and one even told me to go ahead and join because I might "lose my vocation." However, I had doubts if I had a vocation which was precisely why I was contacting them in the first place. I was not 100% sure about this order either because I had heard differing opinions. Some say they are awesome about vocations, others say that they are terrible and have a knack for rushing things. Because of the rush, several young women tend to leave within the first few years and you never see them again.

But then, I have also come across those orders that have a more cautious and prayerful approach such as the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart. The first order listed is the one I applied to and they did not grant immediate approval. They wanted me to test my vocation within their apostolate, and I'm glad I did because I would have made a mistake in entering. I just knew, within the first few days, that the order was not for me. They were not terrible by any means--every person is meant for a specific path--and that path was just not for me. I love them and I continue to recommend them to this day.

I think the most important thing for those discerning is to have a very active prayer life and a spiritual director who can guide you. I hate to say it, but there are some orders who seem to want so many vocations that they don't take a cautious approach at all. Almost everyone is allowed entrance. I will not name those orders, but I know they are out there.

If you feel something is wrong, you don't have to listen to the vocational director. Ultimately, it is your vocation and your decision whether or not to apply. Don't make hasty decisions based on what one person or even a few say. Try it out in several different places before settling down. I made a mistake with mine because I applied to the first order I visited and it now turns out I don't have a religious vocation at all. :)

Any order which accepts vocations now will end up getting young and older vocations. It therefore ends up a great mix of people.

Our men in formation here in Ireland are between 22 and 42. A great mix of experience and youth.

Go and discern in a more traditional community - I mean in the sense that they wear the habit and have a community life.

God Bless

Br. Paul

[quote="BrotherPaulMary, post:5, topic:215733"]
Any order which accepts vocations now will end up getting young and older vocations. It therefore ends up a great mix of people.

Our men in formation here in Ireland are between 22 and 42. A great mix of experience and youth.

Go and discern in a more traditional community - I mean in the sense that they wear the habit and have a community life.

God Bless

Br. Paul

[/quote]

Br Paul, may I ask what order you belong to?

My order will accept men as young as 18 into the pre-novitiate but according to our Constitutions (through our Formations Manual) a man must have his bachelors degree to enter the novitiate.

As you do not officially become a member of the order until the novitiate there really is no way for someone younger than 22 or so.

But as I said, if you do not have a bachelors degree you can be accepted into the pre-novitiate where you will finish your bachelors degree. That is what I did as I entered the pre-novitiate with an associates degree.

This is very interesting. I never thought of the age limits as a traditional or non-traditional issue. I always thought of it as a practical issue. When I first entered, I entered through the Capuchins. To enter the novitiate you had to have completed your university degree. The average age for the novices was 21+ . The reason was practical. As society changed childhood was extended. Young men were no longer assuming adult responsibilities in their teens or even in their early 20s. Men were still in school until age 21. Today, it’s even longer, with many men remaining in school until they complete a graduate degree. The desire of the community was to allow men to grow up.

When I was released to the new foundation, The Franciscan Brothers of Life, we discussed the whole issue of maturity for the candidates to the new community, not age. We created a set of criteria that a man must meet to enter. Regardless of whether he’s 21 or 41, if he has not met those criteria, he’s not ready. Obviously, he must have completed basic education, high school. If he has not completed college, he does so before the novitiate; but there is more. He must have experience in daily Catholic living without the supervision of mom and dad. We look at certain things such as fidelity to prayer, liturgy, apostolic activity, job and independent relationships. We look at things such as his relationships with people of different ages, both genders and different life experiences, because he will be living with men of different ages and different life experiences. The people we serve come from a variety of backgrounds. As Pope Benedict XVI said, he must “know Jesus Christ.” Faith is not just a list of doctrinal conclusions. However, he must also know how to answer questions about what he believes. There is that balance between experience of Christ in his life and knowledge of his faith.

Finally, he has to be entering because he shares the vision of St. Francis of Assisi, not because he wants to help people or do good things. Social work is fine; but we’re not social workers. Wanting to be a priest is also a noble thing; but our priests are brothers who are equally comfortable serving their brothers by celebrating mass for them or doing the community laundry. Like St. Francis, the man coming in must want to give whatever the Lord asks for and accept whatever the Lord gives. This is perfect obedience. I guess that’s what we look for . . . the desire to obey as Christ obeyed.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

Dear ByzCath

It is the Irish Dominican Province. They don't seem to require a Bachelors degree because brothers have entered the novitiate with two years of theology. We do not have a pre-novitiate or postulancy period in a house - what happens is that once you make contact with the vocations director you are accompanied by him in a period where you are called an aspirant.

It is not that long since someone did enter at nineteen either with only one year in a seminary as well.

You are right about the not becoming a member until first profession but the youngest student brother is 22.

I guess the attitude towards study on our order means that they do not worry about everyone having a degree.

There is one other fact about Ireland. Some people can end up with bachelors degrees as young as twenty anyway.

God Bless

Br. Paul

I’ve heard a few monks tell me they want men with college degrees so that they can become priests. Previously for those monasteries, it was the men who spoke Latin prior to entering who were allowed to become priests, but nowadays (for them at least) it is the men with college degrees that are allowed to become priests. For an age limit to enter, I’ve heard some monasteries say 25, so that they may have enough “life experiences” outside the world to know whether they want to live away from it.
However, I would say the bulk of the groups I’ve visited have an upper age limit. Usually around 35-40, unless the man was part of another order or congregation prior to entering.

Well I have a Degree, I'm now 21 and it's as if Joining a Religious Order was impossible, except for these new communities - that don't attract me at all - and the Traditional ones, which are very strict.

If I wait, I won't be able to join a Traditional community due to the age limit, and there'll only be these post-vatican II ageing communities left.

So I'm seriously considering joining a Traditional convent because some refused me due to my young age in spite of my readiness to strive to be a perfect nun.

N’oubliez que rejoindre une communauté religieuse n’est pas un droit, même si vous voulez être la nonne parfaite. C’est un privilège. Votre anglais est mieux que mon français est.

(Please remember that joining a religious community is not a right, even if you want to be the perfect nun. It is a privilege. Your English is better than my French is.)

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

There is a higher emphasis nowadays on getting a college education. Before college degrees became so common, women who weren’t housewives often went to trade schools to learn how to do whatever job they were hoping to do. There were teaching schools where people could go to learn how to be teachers. There were secretarial schools where people could go to learn to be secretaries. This took less time and money than getting a university education, and at least some programs could be done without even completing high school. Back then, dropping out of high school wasn’t frowned upon by society- women did it all the time to get married. Years ago, a girl wanting to be a secretary or primary school teacher could drop out of high school, go to a teaching or secretarial training school, and start working when she was 17-18 or so. Even when graduation from high school was expected, being trained to be a teacher didn’t mean getting a bachelor’s degree, and teaching communities could train their sisters during formation. Since there were more teaching communities, they probably had their own teaching colleges where they didn’t have to spend much money. Nowadays, expectations are higher, and education is more expensive. I don’t know about the contemplative communities or the apostolic communities with apostolates other than teaching, but that would explain why age requirements may have gone up for entering teaching communities.

[quote="Bebekoualy, post:1, topic:215733"]

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...

WHY SUCH A DIFFERENCE?

Has anyone been confronted to that? :confused:

[/quote]

I don't know that traditional vs the alternative is behind the difference, simply more realistic experience applied to vocations discernment, and I am not sure it is a new or modern innovation. It was common in my day (50s) to attend discernment retreats at various convents in 8th grade and in high school, but even girls who seemed to have a really strong desire to join were strenuously advised to wait at least until high school graduation, and encouraged to finish college or post high school education first. I think it is completely unrealistic to expect a religious order to pick up the tab for education of candidates, and it is hard to see how the charisms of most orders could be carried out without education.

[quote="m134e5, post:12, topic:215733"]
There is a higher emphasis nowadays on getting a college education. Before college degrees became so common, women who weren't housewives often went to trade schools to learn how to do whatever job they were hoping to do. There were teaching schools where people could go to learn how to be teachers. There were secretarial schools where people could go to learn to be secretaries. This took less time and money than getting a university education, and at least some programs could be done without even completing high school. Back then, dropping out of high school wasn't frowned upon by society- women did it all the time to get married. Years ago, a girl wanting to be a secretary or primary school teacher could drop out of high school, go to a teaching or secretarial training school, and start working when she was 17-18 or so. Even when graduation from high school was expected, being trained to be a teacher didn't mean getting a bachelor's degree, and teaching communities could train their sisters during formation. Since there were more teaching communities, they probably had their own teaching colleges where they didn't have to spend much money. Nowadays, expectations are higher, and education is more expensive. I don't know about the contemplative communities or the apostolic communities with apostolates other than teaching, but that would explain why age requirements may have gone up for entering teaching communities.

[/quote]

There are several realities that we have to face. Much of the work done by sisters and brothers is very professional. There are very few countries left that do not require licenses, degrees, certifications and so forth. You can't run a school unless you have a license in school administration. You can't get one of those unless you have a degree in school administration. The same is true for most of the services that religious provide.

Then there is the issue of equity. In religious communities of men there are usually priests and brothers. Vatican II was very explicit when it commanded religious communities of men to have only one class of religious, as had been the custom until the early 1900s. This means that priests and brothers do the same ministry and work side by side. To do so, everyone has to be trained in theology, ministry and secular sciences. The idea is euqalize so that the religious life becomes prominent and not clericalism.

Enclosed communities of nuns have other criteria for admission. They do not always require a degree, but they do require maturity.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[quote="JReducation, post:14, topic:215733"]
There are several realities that we have to face. Much of the work done by sisters and brothers is very professional. There are very few countries left that do not require licenses, degrees, certifications and so forth. You can't run a school unless you have a license in school administration. You can't get one of those unless you have a degree in school administration. The same is true for most of the services that religious provide.

Then there is the issue of equity. In religious communities of men there are usually priests and brothers. Vatican II was very explicit when it commanded religious communities of men to have only one class of religious, as had been the custom until the early 1900s. This means that priests and brothers do the same ministry and work side by side. To do so, everyone has to be trained in theology, ministry and secular sciences. The idea is euqalize so that the religious life becomes prominent and not clericalism.

*Enclosed communities of nuns have other criteria for admission. They do not always require a degree, but they do require maturity. *

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

However, I know most of them who wouldn't take a very mature 20 yeared-old lady because of her age, even if she's been through a lot and is ready for the religious life.

What I don't understand is that Traditional Orders are harsher and take younger girls, and more fragile I suppose. Whereas post-Vatican II communities that tend to be lax take older women who could have lost a bit of their fervour and however can better cope with harshness. So contradictory...

I made up my mind: choosing older people is just SILLY. Youth brings a lot to a community: it lasts longer, it brings enthusiasm, laughter, joy, and beautiful voices!!! Not this horror you can find in some ageing communities...

JReducation, Thank you SOOOO MUCH for your French post!! Excellent French you've got!!

[quote="Bebekoualy, post:15, topic:215733"]
However, I know most of them who wouldn't take a very mature 20 yeared-old lady because of her age, even if she's been through a lot and is ready for the religious life.

What I don't understand is that Traditional Orders are harsher and take younger girls, and more fragile I suppose. Whereas post-Vatican II communities that tend to be lax take older women who could have lost a bit of their fervour and however can better cope with harshness. So contradictory...

I made up my mind: choosing older people is just SILLY. Youth brings a lot to a community: it lasts longer, it brings enthusiasm, laughter, joy, and beautiful voices!!! Not this horror you can find in some ageing communities...

JReducation, Thank you SOOOO MUCH for your French post!! Excellent French you've got!!

[/quote]

Hmmm, techincally every religious order today is "post-vatican II" as it is after the council and the whole Church is bound by it.

This phrase "post-vatican II" bothers me and appears to be an attempt by some to create two Churches, a pre and a post vatican II, which do not exist. There is only the Church.

Now if you mean newer institutes that were formed following vatican II then I can understand your statement but it was not clear that this is your meaning.

[quote="Bebekoualy, post:15, topic:215733"]
However, I know most of them who wouldn't take a very mature 20 yeared-old lady because of her age, even if she's been through a lot and is ready for the religious life.

What I don't understand is that Traditional Orders are harsher and take younger girls, and more fragile I suppose. Whereas post-Vatican II communities that tend to be lax take older women who could have lost a bit of their fervour and however can better cope with harshness. So contradictory...

I made up my mind: choosing older people is just SILLY. Youth brings a lot to a community: it lasts longer, it brings enthusiasm, laughter, joy, and beautiful voices!!! Not this horror you can find in some ageing communities...

JReducation, Thank you SOOOO MUCH for your French post!! Excellent French you've got!!

[/quote]

Bonjour! Je suis un Prêtre canadien français qui habite au centre du pays, dans les prairies. Nous pourrions dire un Père du désert spirituel dans lequel nous vivons, non? Tu (vous me permettez de vous tutoyez?Merci) cherches un Oasis de Paix et de Vérité comme chacun de nous qui veut être fidèle à notre appel. Pourtant, pendant la sécheresse, il faut approfondir ses racines dans ce désert...et puiser l'Eau vive de la Source profonde. Rappelles-toi la semence, devenue une plante, qui a été désséché avec les rayons du soleil de l'épreuve, dans la parabole du Semeur. Je tenais à rédiger quelques paroles en français vu que cela te plaît. (Hello, I am a French Canadian Priest from Canada who lives in the centre of the country, in the prairy region. One could say, a Desert Father in the spiritual desert in which we live, no?You(you allow me to use informal speech to address you with?Thank you!)are seeking out an Oasis of Peace and Truth as we all are, all those seeking to be faithful to our calling in life. However, during a time of aridity, we must deepen our roots in this desert-draw from the Living Water that flows down deep. Remember the seed that, once a plant, shriveled and died, for lack of deep roots when the time of drought came or when the rays from the sun of tribulation overcame it. I decided to write a few lines in French seeing as it pleases you so much.)

Remember the lives of the Saints who spent time in the world, helping their family bisnuess, doing works of charity, penance and sacrifice, all the while in correspondance with a Spiritual Director. Nothing is wasted, nor time, nor grace. The only time wasted is that not given to God. All is preparation and formation for you. It is easy to get caught up in the question: Why won't they take me now??? I asked myself the same question until I realized: the Lord takes you now, as you are. Relax. Be at peace. Ask yourself, what does the Lord want me to do now? The Lord and Our Lady will open the doors to a Community for you, when the times comes, if that is God's Will.

What have the traditional communities that appeal to you suggested you do in the mean time?...In there a lay association, a Third Order, or any way to participate in their prayer life and works all the same? In any case, find a Spiritual Director and a chapel of a Convent or Monastery or a place where there is Eucharistic Adoration to deepen your roots and ask Priests, Religious and lay people with spiritual insight for good spiritual reading that could help you. I am praying for you and I am here if I can be of any help.

Fr. Dominic La Fleur

J'aime to nom, bebe! :thumbsup:

[quote="Father_La_Fleur, post:17, topic:215733"]
Bonjour! Je suis un Prêtre canadien français qui habite au centre du pays, dans les prairies. Nous pourrions dire un Père du désert spirituel dans lequel nous vivons, non? Tu (vous me permettez de vous tutoyez?Merci) cherches un Oasis de Paix et de Vérité comme chacun de nous qui veut être fidèle à notre appel. Pourtant, pendant la sécheresse, il faut approfondir ses racines dans ce désert...et puiser l'Eau vive de la Source profonde. Rappelles-toi la semence, devenue une plante, qui a été désséché avec les rayons du soleil de l'épreuve, dans la parabole du Semeur. Je tenais à rédiger quelques paroles en français vu que cela te plaît. (Hello, I am a French Canadian Priest from Canada who lives in the centre of the country, in the prairy region. One could say, a Desert Father in the spiritual desert in which we live, no?You(you allow me to use informal speech to address you with?Thank you!)are seeking out an Oasis of Peace and Truth as we all are, all those seeking to be faithful to our calling in life. However, during a time of aridity, we must deepen our roots in this desert-draw from the Living Water that flows down deep. Remember the seed that, once a plant, shriveled and died, for lack of deep roots when the time of drought came or when the rays from the sun of tribulation overcame it. I decided to write a few lines in French seeing as it pleases you so much.)

Remember the lives of the Saints who spent time in the world, helping their family bisnuess, doing works of charity, penance and sacrifice, all the while in correspondance with a Spiritual Director. Nothing is wasted, nor time, nor grace. The only time wasted is that not given to God. All is preparation and formation for you. It is easy to get caught up in the question: Why won't they take me now??? I asked myself the same question until I realized: the Lord takes you now, as you are. Relax. Be at peace. Ask yourself, what does the Lord want me to do now? The Lord and Our Lady will open the doors to a Community for you, when the times comes, if that is God's Will.
**
What have the traditional communities that appeal to you suggested you do in the mean time?...In there a lay association, a Third Order, or any way to participate in their prayer life and works all the same? In any case, find a Spiritual Director and a chapel of a Convent or Monastery or a place where there is Eucharistic Adoration to deepen your roots and ask Priests, Religious and lay people with spiritual insight for good spiritual reading that could help you. I am praying for you and I am here if I can be of any help.**Fr. Dominic La Fleur

[/quote]

I was told to carry on personal prayer, receiving the sacraments, and I do have one hour adoration during the Exposition on Saturday, but it is very hard as there is no convent near the place I live, so I have to carry on with personal prayer and I am not made for that, I like community prayer. I am fervent when with people but when on my own, it is very tough. I am not to be a Carmelite Nun. I need community life. I have a SD, but it is hard to do all he demands of me. To join a traditional order, you have to be very pious and i just can't do everything he asks me to do each day.

Merci de parler en Français ! :D

By*** PRE-VATICAN II ***communities, I meant those who decided to remain very traditional, even after the council. Those who mostly have the EFLR now :shrug: and keep old monastic traditions.

[quote="Bebekoualy, post:19, topic:215733"]

By*** PRE-VATICAN II ***communities, I meant those who decided to remain very traditional, even after the council. Those who mostly have the EFLR now :shrug: and keep old monastic traditions.

[/quote]

EFLR?

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