Vocations outside of native lands


Hello. Does anyone know whether a person would be accepted into a religious Order outside their own native land, if they applied to an Order outside of their own native land (please note: for good reasons), despite having made contact with some religious Orders already within one’s own native land?

Thank you.



Have you seen the movie Into Great Silence?

It is a documentary film about Carthusian monks in France. The monks come from all over the world. I doubt if they are the only order that accepts applicants from other lands.


Hi Sarcelle! Thanks. I did view this film a few years ago. There’s a quite a telling story behind the length of time it took for them to reply to the film maker who wished to video them - Entish pace! It was moving and quite intense in the silence which is an intensity that one would have to really enter into, but I like the idea of this, as there’d be less room for distractions. I didn’t know they came from all over the world and hearing this is positive news! Did they even have lighting in that monastery? I find the Divine Office immensely difficult when trying to follow when I can see! :smiley: I wonder if there are any missionary Orders too who might take people from all over the world?


There were two monks that stood out. One was a monk from Canada and the other a monk from Africa.

As for lighting, I am not sure if they have it. It’s been about 5 years since I last saw this film.


Am not speaking for them, of course, nor am I a religious. I met someone who came to the United States for the whole purpose of entering an order – and has stayed in it. Now I know someone who is leaving for France to join a Monastery there. It must be very “isolating” though because the person knows absolutely no-one in that country and joins the Order/group. Would the person be as accepted as a fellow “countryman”? Would the person have to learn the language? Sure, they are in the same Order or Monastery, but they are also human.

Wish you the best at discerning your calling. May it be for the greatest glory of God and the salvation of your soul.



Hi there! I’d be prepared to learn a new language, yet maybe silence - even if not cloistered (not able to speak the language) - might be a good thing! :smiley: The U.S speaks a form of english anyway but european and asian countries would require a foreign language. As long as one can study the Bible then I don’t think it is too much of an issue overall. The importance depends on whether one is required to study in-depth theology that would even be difficult in one’s own language! Isolation is a factor though and so learning the language would be a requirement from that point-of-view. Thanks for the lovely response! :):):slight_smile:


Canadians speak French, or some do. And so do Africans, in some parts. Maybe a foreign language, as Luz Maria suggested, might be a prerequisite then…?

Energy-saving bulbs, no doubt? Or candles. Let’s go with candles?



Let’s go with candles. They lend a certain ambience and is more conducive to meditation in my opinion . :smiley:

There are monasteries in the states that accept guests who participate in monastery life. I’m sure some of these guests are discerning their vocation. You may want to look into it.


Both the Canadian, a Québécois, and the African already spoke fluent French. However, there is nothing stopping you from learning French.


:smiley: Most definitely!

There are monasteries in the states that accept guests who participate in monastery life. I’m sure some of these guests are discerning their vocation. You may want to look into it.

Don’t mind the idea of the states but not sure about Visa regulations. The States is pretty well evangelised already. Was thinking more about heading in the Euro-Africa-Asia areas. To pray, become unthinkably poor, and hopefully not get eaten by oversized kittens.

Could learn french. Un table, un regle, oui, le petite pois…I thought Spanish might be easier and more of a modern language for the poorer regions of the world. But french is a well-known one. I think possibly many indigenous people speak french (maybe?). Missions from France must have spread far and wide as did Spanish ones.


Hmm, maybe Thailand?

I once visited Thailand and was hiking in the forest with friends when we came across some paw prints as big as dinner plates. They looked like cat paw prints but much bigger. Our guide said Tigers were nearby but not to worry as these big cats were shy and avoided people in groups.


And that brought how much comfort? Not sure he wasn’t trying to ease your heart, tbh. I don’t think tigers when hungry would think twice about eating someone unless they’d been reared in captivity and were docile, and even when familiar with their breeders, tigers could surely turn. I’d choose to run from a tiger than ask about its feelings! Think we’d know its answer! :smiley: Isn’t it very touristy in many places in Thailand as it is known to be a popular place for travellers?


You are welcome, FD.

Oh yes, you might have to learn the language because even the cloistered speak or listen: to the homily at Mass, the Spiritual Readings during meals, recreation, work. How about going to Confession? Remember also that you would most likely go through testing (psychological, physical, etc.) before being accepted; in what language would those be? Also factor in if you have to go to a medical doctor or hospital in the new country for you must be able to communicate or have an interpreter. How good would the interpreter be? I have heard some dandy translations! Note: an interpreter would interpret the “walnuts” in a recipe as “nueces” or “nueces de Castilla” in Spanish; the translator could translate it to “tuercas” which actually mean “screw nuts” :bigyikes: . I did not trust that translation and checked it out. Emigrating to a new country ALONE and entering religious life both at the same time is quite a bit to :juggle: for anyone.

If you do emigrate, I would suggest that you please have the fact that X is your native language in your medical records. Years ago someone had to go into the operating room to tell the patient in Spanish to open his mouth because he was coming out of anesthesia. As soon as it was said in Spanish he opened his mouth. The man was completely bilingual! I would rather learn from the experience of others! :smiley:

Just a little insight: I have a Catholic Bible in English and one in Spanish. Can you believe that the books are not in the same order? It is not a big deal unless the person states in one language sixth book from the end of the OT, and you look it up in the other language.

Am not at all trying to dissuade you, but only gently bringing the reality home. I will leave you with what a very wise Sister of Charity told me when I was very young: “Remember, you must walk with your heart in heaven:angel1:, but your feet firmly on earth.” I hold on to that to this day. From your posts here, you appear to be doing that already. Keep the good humor for it is needed throughout life in any vocation.

Please note that am only writing about migrating and language needs or difficulties that may occur.

Blessings to you always.


Many orders these days are international. There is a Vietnamese Sister in an Order here in Ireland for example and her English is …quaint… I know a US Sister in a German Order… only way to find out is to contact Orders that appeal.


Parts of Thailand are touristy and parts are not.

As for tigers, there were trains not far from where we were located and tigers are terrified of trains. The trick is making being able to make the run to the train and not being the slowest one in the group. :smiley:

As for being able to join a foreign order, the world is getting smaller, so your chances should be pretty good. You may want to get yourself a spiritual adviser . They are invaluable .


Most Canadians don’t speak French. If you go to Quebec, the French they speak is not the same as the French spoken in Europe.

What it all comes down to is visas and permanent residence, and whether or not the order is willing or able to go through the loopholes and pay for it, and whether or not the country will let you stay.

Some religious orders are better about it that others. Canada has no Carmelite communities tha at follow the original consititions, so I have been looking elsewhere. The issue of obtaining a visa has come up from all but one (whose Mother Superior is Canadian). I don’t think there are too many Americans lining up to live a life of prayer, poverty and sacrifice, so there isn’t the issue of taking away work from Americans.


Hi! :slight_smile: Seems to be notable advice. You certainly make some important points. There was one Order I visited ages and ages ago that said one had to learn the Bible, and no doubt theology, in a foreign language. Which if working in a foreign country would be understandable but the idea was surprising nevertheless. This post has reminded me. Missionary Orders would be quite difficult in this case as it probably involves speaking to the public. Cloistered Orders would allow for more time and deliberation. There are definitely many factors to deliberate. And no doubt loads of confusions would occur as you humourously recounted:D - thanks for recounting.

Thank you also for the wise comment to keep close to the heart. It is something to remember. Something that can be hard to do. But as life seems to get a bit trickier and things enter into grey areas this advice I feel will become more and more important.

And blessings to you, and a joyful Christmas.



Please continue to follow the call to the Carmelite way of life. The world need Carmelites and always will. Nuns are a blessing and the Carmelites charism is very holy blessing. Many saints connected to the history of this Order. The nuns are cloistered aren’t they? Because the friars are missionaries one might expect them to be monks not friars.


…correction (:D), although Carmelite friars are missionaries, one might expect them to be monks not friars - due to the nature of their charism.


Hi. Hmm…Google Translate, here we come!

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