Im discerning religious life, but i also love my family. Would going on a paid cruise, flyng to see them or giving them gifts violate a vow of poverty
I don’t see why. You have not made vows, and there is a time of discernment even after you enter. Go ahead and follow your heart at this time. Peace.
I mean after vows…
After vows would be decided by your superior. Expensive gifts-probably not. Most apostolic communities let there religious take a home visit at least every4 to 5 years and some more often depending on the circumstances or need. Also, to be considered is the financial state of the congregation. Really, really become informed before you “check in” to hotel THE THREE VOWS. Good luck and peace.
I’m guessing yes. Expensive gifts, cruises and flights are very costly. However I would talk to your superior.
Have you considered becoming a diocesan/parish priest, they generally don’t give up close contact with family or take a vow or poverty.
My question would be where would you get the money for such things from since religious don’t own anything themselves and are only given a small personal allowance.
That said, most religious orders (other than cloistered ones) encourage their members to have ongoing contact with their families and, since this can involve travelling some distance, will usually pay for the travel costs (which includes flying).
The other thing to remember is that, despite the old joke that religious priests take the vow of poverty but diocesan priests live it, religious are equally expected to live their vows - so expensive holidays aren’t exactly a good look.
Yes im discerning both
Congratulations, my Brother, for having the strength to discern God’s plan for your future.
I, myself, am a Postulant and a seminarian for the Adorno Fathers, so I had been asking these types of questions myself not long ago
Many, if not most, religious communities encourage you to stay in touch with your family. The amount of time actually spent with family away from the community differs, depending on the charism of the order and the physical ability to travel to your family from your location (for example, if you are a missionary in Africa, you probably won’t be able to fly home every year). This can range from once every few years in the case of some monastic or conventual orders, to a few weeks to a month vacation every year. If you are part of a religious order that primarily does parish work in the United States, your vacation time would most likely be in the latter category. Many dioceses require their parish priests to take a few weeks to a month vacation every year in addition to a yearly retreat to promote their psychological well-being and to prevent stress-related health problems and depression. This includes those religious staffing parishes within the diocese.
With regards to the cruise, you will have to speak with your superior. If it is only once every couple of years, then there is a good chance he will allow you to go on it. If its every year, he may ask you to limit the regularity that you attend, at least in the early years of your vocation, to remind you that, as religious, we are called to simplicity of life.
I have raised the question of the actual cost of a vacation with my superior and other members of my order and they have told me that most orders give you a stipend per vacation to spend on travel expenses and the like. Usually, if your plans cost more than the stipend provided, you take it up with your superior and you decide together if they will increase your stipend and by how much.
This does not mean that if the stipend is not increased you will not be able to go. If you know what you want to do for vacation a good deal in advance (like a year a head of time) you can begin to save your allowances and gifts to try to cover the difference between the stipend and the cost of the vacation. While your stipend may be small, most people don’t realize that the order almost always provides everything (and I mean everything!) that you would need. In addition to this, many order allow you to keep a nice portion of gifts given to you in the course of the year if they are meant specifically for you and not the order or community as a whole.
If you are in a parish, sometimes the amount of small gifts get to the point that you turn them automatically over to the order anyway because you have no idea how you would be able to spend it all. If your superior allows you to make up the difference through saved gifts, I can be pretty sure that you will be able to save up enough to go if you plan far enough ahead.
As to gifts, again, it depends on your superior. I am currently in seminary with three Filipino Brothers and they regularly save up the majority of their allowance and send gifts back to their families in the Philippines. You won’t be able to give a new car to somebody, but if you save up your allowance and give gifts to others because it make you happy to see them happy, many superiors won’t have a problem. A good rule of thumb when buying anything as a religious (whether for yourself or as a gift) is to avoid luxury and try to stick to utility.
I hope this helps. I will be praying that you will be able to discern Our Lord’s plan for your life.
Ad Maiorem Resurgentis Gloriam!
For the Greater Glory of the Rising Christ!
Wow, thank you brother. But two questions. Ive always heard that rwligious can not save up money, so can they save up their stipends? Also, im discerning the salesians, so can you give me some on them if,you have any in regards to this topic?
Again, every order is different. I have not had practically any interaction with the Salesian order so I do not know their specific tradition about this. I know that within my order that there seems to be a difference between saving up money and gradually putting aside money for a specific purpose. Religious cannot save up money just to have a monetary reserve, thinking that someday they may have a need for it. If you are money aside for a specific purpose (and you have discussed with your superior how much you plan to set aside and to what purpose that money will be spent) you are not hoarding money, nor worried about your future financial state. You are simply living in the moment, in which you see a need in the future, so you sacrifice the money you are given to spend on yourself for a specific, concrete purpose.
In all honesty, I can only think that you would have to do this in the case that the order is not financially capable of paying for the vacation. In all honesty, if your superior thinks you should go, the order most likely will pay for almost all, if not all, of the cost. Remember, they are called to detachment from material things as much as you will be. If, when you become solemnly professed, they see that this cruise brings you happiness and beneficial to you at your point in formation they will, most likely, gladly pay for it if it is within reason. The purpose of the money sitting in the order’s bank account is to do good both inside and outside the order. To not use it in such a way is to fall into the same trap that a individual religious would, should he hoard his money.
All of this, however, is only my experience with my own order. We live a communal Poverty, as opposed to the austere or mendicant Poverty that many orders and congregations express. It may very well be extremely different in the Salesian order. It may even differ slightly from delegation to delegation within the order. The only way you will be able to know for sure is to simply pose the question to a Salesian. I would suggest going to one who has been solemnly professed for at least a few years, as many of the financial aspects of the everyday life of the order is sometimes simply dumped upon the religious after their solemn profession and sometimes it takes a few years of bumbling through it to get it all straight. I know of at least one priest in our order who was still confused about financial aspects seven years after he had been solemnly professed.
When it comes to you vocation, never hold back questions, no matter how insignificant they might seem. It may be that the small questions like this scenario with the cruise that give vocation directors insight into who you are and how you think. Most of all, it shows that you are interested and want to learn more, that this is not simply a passing fancy and you are truly questioning if the Salesians (or diocesan priesthood) is what God is calling you to.