If an individual was asked to leave religious life for sin, could they repent and 30-40 years later try religous life again? What would be required? Would it be the same community or must it be a different community?
I think it would be extremely unusual for a religious to be asked to leave unless it was a mortal sin that was not repented or a sin that reflected on the community in a very negative way. As the reason was not given for such a dismissal it would be impossible to say as to if they could try again. This is a question best poised to a priest or SD. God is forgiving and sometimes what occurs in youth is actions or behaviors that are severe teaching lessons. Peace and prayers.
P.S. Not keeping the “rule” in some cases my be for some reason an extreme case.
It is normal for one’s depart from a religious life (or a seminary) to be given a recommendation letter by his/her superior or bishop. What is written in the recommendation letter can give the answer easily as to whether this an individual can be received again by this very community or any other.
However, it may happen also that another superior or bishop can be convinced to take him/her regardless what is written, or after considering a number of years since the recommendation, and/or by considering the satisfaction of the testimony of his/her life after departing (“suspension”) from the previous community. Nevertheless it is simply considered to be the superior’s action “at his/her own risk.”
This was a good answer-better than mine. However, I would not recommend the same community as “stuff” tends to follow us even after a long period of time.
Some sins becomes “unforgivable” just as the judgment and conviction of the “person in the position to forgive” but we all know that it is a different story to God. Therefore it is sometimes tempting to join the same community especially when that “judge” is no more, and especially when in that community is where your heart really belongs.
Another thing to consider, the age limits for communities. Many cap at 30-35.
Yes, something that happened 30 to 40 years ago would put the said individual up in the 60s to 70 range. I could mention two communities that might overlook the age factor as long as one were in good health, but they are both cloistered. There is a community in Chicogo that that will accept former prostitutes, but is scrictly cloistered. Also, for good reason it is not well known.