Which is the right religious order for me?


Recently i have been considering the monastic life, and i am having trouble discerning which order God wants me to join. what are the differences in some of the different orders? i know about the Benedictines, i go to a benedictine school and attend prayers with the monks there so i am am acquainted with them.

I like going to prayers with them, it has become part of my regular day, and there are some days when i feel like i could be a Benedictine monk and be happy, and there are others when i feel like i may be interested in the Franciscans or another order. i know prayer and meditation are the most important things in discerning this but i would also like to get some outside thoughts on this too.

thank you for your time and God Bless you.


Benedictines are monastic and focus on prayer and hospitality. Many of them run retreat centers. There are some active Benedictines and they can be involved in anything from education to healthcare. They follow the Rule of St. Benedict.

Franciscans follow the Gospels and try hard to imitate the life of St. Francis. Male Franciscans are called friars and are active/contemplative which means they combine prayer with ministries. There are so many different types of Franciscans that it’s kind of a running joke that even God doesn’t know how many there are. My favorite order, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, run soup kitchens, Youth2000, homeless shelters, and do mission work in Haiti and other impoverished areas. They only go where there is a great need and are based in New York.

This link can explain the differences between the other orders you didn’t mention by name:



Have you ever thought about the Trappists. That monastic order is like the navy seals of monasticism.


I knew a couple of Trappists… they were both very humble, had a tremendous gift of understanding and had a great sense of humor that was beyond any words I can describe.

My favorite was Thomas Merton

I would do what some people have advised. Look at the different orders and if possible, see if you can talk to some and ask them some questions.



Discalced Carmelite friars were founded by St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross, both have been declared mystical doctors of the Church. The charism of Discalced Carmelites is union with God through contemplative prayer.


Who is your favorite saint? What saints are you most attracted to? Therein lies your answer.


First off keep praying for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Second I’d contact different orders and see if you can visit and ask questions. I pray you find your calling.


Not necessarily, as I was heavily attracted to the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux and thought I was supposed to be Carmelite but now I know I’m way more Franciscan. A religious Sister friend loves the writings of Thomas Merton but she’s in an order that is Ignatian. These are just a few examples.

The best thing to do is visit a few orders that stick out to you and that will help narrow down your calling. There’s so many orders out there and just looking them up on the internet really doesn’t help because you have to actively experience their apostolate. That’s why I recommend the Franciscans of the Renewal in New York because their discernment retreats are unlike any I’ve ever been on. They don’t plan activities especially for the weekend. Instead, they immerse you in what they do on a daily basis. I wish all orders did this as it really helped.


The best way to know for sure is to visit. You already seem familiar with the Benedictines. Now contact other orders in your diocese. Speak to their priests about what they do, and visit them for a day or two to talk about their life. And of course, bring this issue consistently to prayer.

You’re not going to be able to come to any sort of decision, even prayerfully, unless you have real experience of these orders and their life and work. Once you’ve ascertained the matter of the situation, assess where you’re drawn, and trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit through your spiritual director.

God bless.


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