which third order?

I love God, but I have been married for 33 years, so I guess it’s too late to consider becoming a nun. :wink: I am interested in becoming a tertiary/ associate/ oblate of a contemplative order. I have been trying to become a Benedictine oblate for some time (about three years) and have been an oblate novice for more than two years; however, I am wondering whether God is trying to steer me in another direction, say the Carmelites, or ???

In 2010 I joined the oblate program at a Benedictine women’s monastery which I did not initially realize was too ‘progressive’ for my taste. After a few months I transferred to the oblate program at a more traditional Benedictine women’s monastery (they wear habits). I liked that monastery, but for more than a year they were without an oblate director, and direction was very spotty and unfocussed; I felt that the oblates were nearly off their radar. I found it hard to associate my heart with a monastery where the oblate program was in such chaos, and I still have not made my final oblation. I recently moved to another state and am attempting to associate with a third Benedictine monastery, but I feel like I am having to jump through hoops. My life for the past year has been chaotic; I was laid off from my job (RIF), moved to another state to look for work (my sister lives here) and still have not found work.

I am trying to listen for God’s voice. Is he trying to tell me that the Benedictines are not for me? Do I just have to keep knocking at their door? I am trying also to understand the difference between the various orders that allow third orders. Maybe I should consider the Carmelites? I am introverted and prefer to associate with a contemplative order.

I would so much appreciate some input. I don’t have a spiritual director at the moment. Our financial situation is bad so I can’t afford to pay anyone. Can someone out there tell me how to interpret God’s voice in this situation?

I’m a Lay Carmelite in first year formation. I’m afraid, I don’t have much of an answer for you, other than telling you what happened to me.

My Catholic spiritual life was stymied, I was spiritually dry. I had been praying for something to move me forward, and stop my gradual backward slide. In the meantime, I had decided to do First Saturdays in reparation to our Lady.

My third First Saturday, I learned of a neighboring parish who had a Saturday Mass especially for First Saturdays. While receiving the precious blood of our Lord, I looked up at the EMHC, and realized I knew her. I had worked with her for 20 years, and had not seen her in a long while.

After my second First Saturday Mass at that parish, my friend asked me, “Have you considered becoming a Lay Carmelite.” Eighteen months later, here I am, six months into formation.

Keep praying! Your answer will come.

Praying for the very best for you.


Looking for a director that understands you, if this ever occurs God has encouraged the relationship. Study, pray, and work. Pope Francis has recently said that in discernment- reality is present when you encounter the person face to face. And it seems like that is what you need.

“piety toward God is the beginning of discernment; but the ungodly will set at nought wisdom and instruction” (Prov 1:7, lxx)

piety toward God is the virtue of religion

Above is a link for question 81, but questions 82 and 83 have a primary concern for the virtue of religion as well.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.