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Andrea Maio

Age Barrier

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gloriana35

I am not suggesting this applies to you, but am remembering what I heard from some vocation directors. They sometimes had applications from ladies of retirement age, who said outright that they considered entrance because they were long on the waiting list for senior housing. Others had lived with family members, who since had died, and lost the ability to live in the house the other owned. Apparently, there are devout women, who may always have been involved in Church, but who had no aspired to religious life, who hope to 'retire to' a religious community now that they are alone. I do not know which communities would be most open to vocations amongst women in your age group (I myself am in my 60s, but, much as I missed convent life, today I'd go out of my mind if I had to be in formation again), but I can understand that some must have applicants who are more focused on a place to live than actually responding to a religious vocation. 

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gloriana35

I want to amend what I did write previously. Through the centuries, and into our own day (though it is less common now, with all the emphasis on careers), there were unmarried or widowed ladies who'd devoted themselves to their families. (It wasn't unusual for a spinster to help a widowed sister raise children, or to be housekeeper in the parish where her brother was a pastor.) It wasn't common, but was an ideal some held, to dedicate themselves entirely to prayer and/or service of the poor or sick after family members died, with a focus on preparing for the next life in the later years of their lifetimes.

When I mentioned what a few vocation directors I knew had mentioned (not about me! I was in a profession where I knew hundreds of religious), where older ladies mentioned not getting into senior housing and the like, it is possible that these ladies were completely dedicated and sincere, perhaps thinking that their failure to get into council or senior housing meant God wanted them to enter the convent. 

I know, all too well, about the 'universal call to holiness' - I saw many religious communities lose members because of an excessive emphasis on this. (It was as if there were no other vocation - the lives to which they'd dedicated their lives now were presented as if they had no special value.) And I hope I won't be shouted down for saying that, if one feels a calling to convent life, third orders, associates, or secular institutes (many of which require secrecy about one's vows) are not going to be a substitute. I would have no desire to live with the congregation to which I once belonged, because they have become absurdly conservative - a dear friend who was in a semi-cloistered Order loved them dearly, but they've become so secular that she would not care to be there today.

I'm not denying the sincerity of those who enter very late (though that is uncommon.) But I think adjusting to community life would drive me mad at this age (I'm retired), and I have no desire to do so. One would have to be very careful in discernment - it's hard to find truly gifted spiritual directors.

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Kathleen777

The Family of Jacopa Association in Steubenville, Ohio has no age limit as long as you can "live the life!" Please check out our website and give us a call;  www.familyofjacopa.com  

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