Has anyone out there become a sister or nun when they were “older”?
I came across a group in Canada that accepts applicants even into their middle sixties! They are in Nova Scotia and are an ecumenical group in that the group includes Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican. Each group still holds to the teachings of their respective churches and most remain in their own homes. They are called the “Servants of the Sacred Cross.”
There is another group in Tijuana, Mexico that also accepts applicants up to their middle sixties. They are called “the Eudists of the Eleventh Hour.” Once you complete formation with them then you can go wherever you wish to live out your charism. The founder of the Eudists is a fascinating read! I hope this has helped!
Both of the above are actually Lay Communities that are “Sisters” when they complete formation.
Rosalind Moss has begun a new order known as “Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope.” Anyone from 18-118 is welcome to join and they will wear the full Nun’s habit upon Final Profession.
This doesn’t exactly answer your question, but thought it might be of interest that there are saints who entered the convent later in life (or at least after having first lived the married life):
St. Elizabeth Seton: widow; founded the Sisters of Charity, the first American religious order
St. Jane Frances de Chantal: widow; founded the Visitation Sisters
St. Bridget of Sweden: widow, founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior (Bridgettines); renounced the title of princess
St. Rita of Cascia: widow, entered the Augustinian order at the age of 36, after her husband was murdered
St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein): convert from Judaism; became a Carmelite nun at the age of 43
I’m sure there are more. If you’re thinking of pursuing a vocation in later life, maybe these would be good saints to invoke.
My Godmother entered the convent when she was in her 50’s - after my uncle, her husband, passed away. She is now in her 80’s and the Mother Superior in her convent and has always seemed extremely happy and content in her decision to serve Our Lord in this way.
I pray this info helps if you are thinking about such a beautiful vocation.
St Margaret d’Youville, who also was married and founded her community of Grey Nuns in Canada after losing her husband.
How old are you considering?
Not many accept women in their sixties, but many do accept or consider women in their fifties. There are so many, in fact, that you might start looking at communities, locations, charisms that attract you, and* then* look at the top age of acceptance. Many also say “exceptions are made” after listing top ages in the 40’s.
In addition to the communities already mentioned, there is the Community of the Resurrection in Maine, a lay association of Dominican women formed from the former Sisters of Bethany in the US, who live a full religious life, (office, Mass, Exposition BS) mainly contemplative (retreats, some prison work) but not cloistered–too small. The prison work stems from the Bethany charism and appears to be carried on now by one person, so it’s not mandatory.
“Older” Dominican discerners might look at them. They accept women to age 60.
A community with whom my wife and I are friends, recently received a woman (widowed) with a grown son.
The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows accepts older candidates. A few are widows with grown children.
The Redemptoristine Nuns have accepted a widow with grown children…she has been professed for a number of years now.
They also accepted a 60-year who was a pharmacist, but also in the Franciscan order (active). She left them to join the contemplative. Although i know this doe snot answer your question.
I know of a Carmelite priest who joined the Carmelites after losing his wife and had 8 children. Became a wonderful priest…then eventually left the priesthood!
I can count on 2 fingers communities who accept women in their 50s
It seems strange that God can call a woman at any time and age and yet communities restrict His call…sisters , we are not past our sale by date…
Our age shouldn’t be the barrier to our answering God,s call and you shouldn’t either
There is a new group, approved by their local Bishop, in Maine. They are called the Sisters of the Cure of Ars and they accept women up through 72 years of age as long as one is in good health. Try googling them for more information.
Thanks! I posted this info on my FB page “Consecrated Widows.”
Edit: please search for “Catholic Consecrated Widows” on my Facebook page.
Pax et Bonum,
I contacted the Sisters of the Cure d’Ars, briefly. I would go further if they were not in Maine. There is one other small group of older women trying to get a start in Maine, in the Portland Diocese, in fact.
Is the diocese of Portland open to these communities of older women? I’m wondering if it is becoming the diocese where different groups can go, specifically older women, sort of like Kansas City where there are some Latin Mass traditional groups fully in line with the bishop there.
My diocese, Orlando, is not willing to go out on any different direction it seems,other than the usual party line. I contacted the vocation director here and she just put me off stating she did not know of any communities of women that would consider anyone over 50!!! Everyone on this forum knows better!! She did say she would send me a list of books to read. You know it is stuff like that that just spurs me on…
I personally have a problem with very, very cold places, one of the few things I will take a pass on and use my age (66) as a partial excuse. I think I would die in a Maine winter. Really. I’m not kidding. So if Portland becomes the “Kansas Diocese” of older women, I will have to really rethink this…I’ve already ruled out South Dakota too…
Well here it is three years later, and I have not given up! I tried to give up. I visited a traditional order in Tyler Texas, and the founder and I decided on a start…but I did everything to shut vocation down., including eventually blocking her from my phone and email! Finally we were not even communication and I thought it was over. But it was not over. I contacted the founder once again, who was happy to hear from me (that is real forgiveness) and then out of the blue, with no planning, I went for a longer visit. (1000 miles from my home). I just got back. I am fighting it again, but not very hard. I would have to live on my own as an oblate for a year, not working. I am not a widow with some pension and big money from a dead husband; I am totally dependent on myself for $. But why am I leaving God out of this? Why do I say I am totally dependent on my own about money, and yet I ask God if my call is real and what to do? Why do I subtract God from the money thing? That’s called lack of faith. I think the oblate idea for older women is an excellent thing. It would give me a chance to find out on my own if I am right for that life - and after a year either enter or stay an oblate. You know I think I can do it. It’s scary and I’m 69 now but I think I can do it. Thank God some people are open to REALLY older vocations.
The older we become, the harder it is to adjust interiorly to the austerity of religious life. Some orders and communities are more strict and austere than others.
It isn’t a confirmed call until the Church confirms it.