Vocation rejection


Is it standard for young men and women who step forward in any fashion to present themselves as possibly having a vocation, to be routinely rejected and dismissed, again and again, until they are finally admitted to a seminary or a convent?

The Biblical basis for this would be chapter 1 of Ruth (or if not, then chapter 2) where Ruth is told to go home a couple times, to test whether she is serious about converting to Judaism?

I’m an old man now, and I was dismissed over and over, out of hand, when I stepped forward to discuss a possible calling to the priesthood or diaconate. (about a year ago, I was kicked out of my parish Bible study.)

That’s even why I have chosen Sirach 2 v 4 as my username on this website. I always seem to be in the crucible of humiliation.

(As gold is tested in fire, so are [even] wise men in the crucible of humiliation.)


It is certainly not uncommon. Often priests have to go outside of their own diocese to find a spot, especially if they are traditional and their dicoese leans liberal.

Especially with older candidates, many are skeptical. But, NY just ordained a man in his mid-60’s, so I wouldn’t give up hope.

There is even a Seminary (Blessed John XXII Seminary in Mass.) that specializes in older vocations. It might make sense to contact them for a list of dioceses that are open to older men.

May God bless you in your vocation!


People are not accepted because they don’t meet particular requirements. Perhaps it’s not as cut and dry as you’d like to think.
Often people believe they should do something they are not cut out for.
If you are old now, it’s time for peaceful acceptance of God’s will. What can you do now I the vineyard? Can you volunteer and bring Eucharist to the elderly and shut-ins? Can visit and console the grieving? Can you teach Sunday school? There’s plenty to do. PLENTY.

Clearly it was not meant to be. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t serve God in some other capacity.
Talk to your priest about where you can be useful. Priests always appreciate helpers.


Hopeful and helpful advice. It is the same for women, there are orders which accept older women, widows, with grown children… but it takes some looking to find them. For a variety of reasons one would not be accepted here…or there. If you have this in your heart then I would pray deeper about it. Ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit +++ God Bless you !


Praying for you…

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be


Remember Louis Martin, St. Therese’s father, who is about to become a Saint himself, was turned down at the seminary. He went on to have five daughters become religious sisters. I hope that consoles you.

You can reach sanctity without becoming a priest. Ask your spiritual director to help you find God’s will for you. That is the path to happiness and holiness.


Don’t let age stop you. I know a priest who was ordained when he was over sixty.


Wondering what reasons were given? eg re the parish Bible study and also why you see it as humiliation?


Amen… I just went thorough my aspirancy year for the diaconate and will be admitted into formation by the Bishop on Aug 14th, bu there was always the possibility in my mind that I might not be accepted into formation (just as there is a real possibility that I may not make it all the way to ordination).

The Church helps us discern what our call is. It may seem clear as day to us, but possibly we are being blinded by something that the Church sees and we don’t.

I was told of a story of a man who wanted to be a Deacon in an awful way, and he was admitted into aspirancy, but this man really only wanted to be a deacon so he could wear the vestments at mass (and I think to feel important). He would tell his grand kids that he would be up on the alter someday dressed up like the deacon and the grand kids were excited. Well, when he found out about the ministry of charity and the ministry of the Word (along with the ministry of the Liturgy) that the deacon is responsible for, he wanted nothing to do with it. He didn’t realize how much work there was that most parishioners don’t see. It also sounds like he wanted to be a deacon for ego reason’s which is not why you apply.

I share that with you not because I feel that is you… I don’t know you so I can’t see what your motivations are. I assume they are pure. Sometimes the reasons that people get rejected though are things that we just don’t see. If the admissions team for aspirancy had been able to see in this mans heart that he didn’t want to do anything but the mass, they could have weeded him out right off the bat. Some are not accepted due to health. Some are not accepted do to life commitments. Some possibly just have so much going on in their lives the Church can’t see how they could commit anymore. The last thing the Church wants is for someone to be ordained and then be miserable.

One of the things they encouraged us to do prior to being accepted into aspirancy was to get a spiritual director. The reason for this is multi-fold. They are to help you discern the path of is God calling you to this, but more importantly, if not, then WHAT IS God calling you to do? That second part is critical and it sounds like it is something you are struggling with. “God, I feel you are calling me to do this, but I keep being rejected. Why?” A spiritual director will help you solve that part as God loves you and has a job for you.

God bless you my friend and I hope you can find the answer you are seeking. I will keep you in my prayers.



There are a number of criteria which are used…first for the initial acceptance of a candidate for priesthood or Religious Life or permanent diaconate…and then throughout the process leading to either ordination or perpetual vows. It is an involved process with multiple layers of assessment. While they occur in stages across many years, a moment of definitive discernment can happen at any given moment in the process.

In all my years, I certainly never rejected anyone “out of hand” or to test the person’s determination – although Saint Benedict does actually propose this method in the Holy Rule.

However, there are assuredly instances in the process whereby the person could indicate that, in fact, this aspirant is not an apt candidate.

A candidate who is dismissed – above all from multiple institutes – should enter a dialogue with the vocation director/master or mistress of novices to understand the basis of the negative discernment and, subsequently, with his or her spiritual director.


Indeed. Wonderful example, Jaime. And the world would have been so much worse off had St. Louis had been admitted / accepted into the order that he applied *.

We don’t know the reasons why things happen the way they do. But God does. Let us be grateful – as much as we can.:slight_smile:



What concerned me re this was that most of this was along time ago and yet still being dwelt on and made a life foundation. They said no and even if you disagree, that will not change things. And if they are like that why ask to spend your life there? Just now i a hurting very badly after being threatened by the Gardai as I traded for the love of Jesus in a situation that has been ongoing and hurtful for many years.

Humiliated? No. Why should I be? Life is dark for me just now and I am ill. But strength will slowly return and then my Jesus will find my willing hands new ways to feed His needy. And to shake the dust of this place off my feet…

Sure it hurts; like iodine. But to let it control your life?

Just now when I wake and the memory comes back, acute pain, but put the light on, make a cup of coffee, feed the cats and PICK UP YOUR BED AND WALK.

PS the real problem is what to do with literally hundreds of jars of home made jam I have ready to sell!! And boxes of hand made things!

PPS I have also sent a very … cogent… email to the Garda’s superior. This whole matter was sorted out ages ago and is a typical Irish lack of communication.


So sorry about your difficulties. Often I have heard the discernment process as a presentation for investigation to see if ordained ministry is the place where God is calling you to serve. If one door (to ordained ministry) is closed, it means that Gods plan for you is in another area.

Realistically, people who present themselves as having a call, and that feeling of call not being affirmed, is very difficult from an emotional standpoint. It either draws people closer to God and deeper in their faith as they continue their journey, or increases separation from God and the church.

The process, like ministry itself, is an exercise in personal sacrifice and self evaluation. It could be that God drew you into the process to provide the means of personal emotional work to bring to light those characteristics which may not be serving you.

Good luck in your continuing journey.




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