Vow of poverty and dependents


To those in religious orders: i have a few questions. If you have a vow of poverty, but a dependent of yours or your parents or even a friend become sick, are you alloted money for their care? Are you alloted money for hobbies? Can yo ever by new clothes/habits if yours are assled addestroed?


Funny you should ask about the clothes. I see a nun at church every week, she’s very elderly but she still helps out at the soup kitchen. She’s been a nun for about 60 years. I noticed in the winter months that her coat was quite threadbare and looked very old. Her shoes, too. God bless her, she is a lovely gentle person.

I would love to get her a really warm winter coat (she’s a little sparrow of a lady), but I know that would probably be insulting to her and I wouldn’t offend her for anything. If anyone’s any ideas, I’d be grateful! :slight_smile:


I don’t think any order would let you join if you have dependents. Your first responsibility is to them.

As for friends - tell them you’ll pray for them.


People who have dependents would not be allowed to join a religious order requiring a vow of poverty.


Active, apostolic sisters who work for and in the community are usually given a stipend for necessities, transportation, if needed i.e. car, bus fare or whatever. They are not accepted if they have dependents. If a family crisis occurs they can ask for a leave of absence if professed and sometimes before profession.

Most sisters that do not wear a habit are quite adapt with The Salvation Army, Goodwill, yard sales and other chartable outlets. They usually look quiet “smart” without looking “rich,” but modest and appropriate.

Poverty starts in the heart and soul, not in how you look and what you wear. Jesus went to his death in a very fine garment that His mother made for Him and the soldiers gambled for. I am sure He wore the robe to please His mother and not to please Himself.

As for giving the sister a new coat and shoes, why not give her a gift certificate to a good store and just send it to her in the mail. That way she could pick out what she needs or wants and she wouldn’t know who sent her the card. I am sure that she would be pleased. Cloistered sisters have their needs provided according to the rule of the community. However, they could always use financial support as they are dwindling due to age, vocations and income.

Just another thought: the little sister may be very happy and content just as she is.


Wise words, thank you. :slight_smile:


Just wondering, what makes you think cloistered communities are dwindling? My experience was quite the contrary – the cloisters and more traditional communities are the ones that are thriving!

As to the OP, as many here have pointed out, men and women with dependent children would not be accepted into religious life. Men and women with aged and/or infirm parents/siblings would probably be considered on a case-by-case basis, to consider such things as whether there might be other family members who could care for the elderly or infirm parents/siblings.

God bless you!



Soets say i am a proffessed,memeber of say, the jesuits or another order, only son, and i find out m mother has fallen ill and needs help financially and medically would the prior, superior, abbot give the religious money and leave to caefor their parents


Gertabelll- there are only around 49.000 sisters in the U. S. at this time. Other than the Dominicans and a few other orders, religious life is in decline. There has been an upswing in the seminaries for the priesthood, but there is a huge shortage still and will be for many years to come.

Few young women are entering religious life. Cloistered sisters are having to put their aging sisters into nursing homes as there are not enough younger or healthy sisters to care for them. This is a fact that I can attest to as I have helped care for them.

Catholic schools are closing as there are no sisters to teach or are having to hire lay teachers to fill the void. There are a few sisters coming from Asian or African countries, but not enough.

You can look this up by just typing in Catholic Sisters in America and you will be surprised how many nuns are missing in action since the late "60’s and '70’s.

Some communities are extending their age limits on a case by case review. America is in need of consecrated warriors. Some areas are doing well in receiving new vocations, but many are not. Pray for them and all religious communities.


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