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Older/Late Vocations Men & Women


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#1 ofpheritup

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:40 PM

I have a problem with the Church today talking about a lack of vocations when I have spent the last 5 years contacting various communities only to be told I am too old.
I know I am not the only one who feels this way, so let's talk. :banana: Coincidentally I kept searching and found a community that I will be visiting in August. DON'T GIVE UP !

Edited by ofpheritup, 23 June 2005 - 07:41 PM.


#2 Marieteresa

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 08:28 PM

I have a problem with the Church today talking about a lack of vocations when I have spent the last 5 years contacting various communities only to be told I am too old.
I know I am not the only one who feels this way, so let's talk.    :banana:  Coincidentally I kept searching and found a community that I will be visiting in August. DON'T GIVE UP !

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Hey missy,
I know exactly what your talking about even though i am just in my mid twenties I have met many older people whom desire to enter religious life but where told that they were to old. But I have heard of many active and cloistered orders whom do take belated vocations. One in particular is the Visitation nuns, I think that they don't have a age limit and entrance is at the discretion of the Mother Superior and one can check on www.religiouslife.com and do a search for religious orders whom take belated vocations. On another note I can agree and disagree with many religious orders decision not to take belated vocations due to many factors. I am just wondering do you think the adjustment to religious life would be easier or harder for a person whom has been in the world for an extented period of time? Personally, for myself I am thinking that the transition would be really difficult but thats me. Anyway I will keep you in my prayers as you discern you vocation. :P

In Jesus, Our Blessed Mother and Joseph,
S. Brooks

#3 ofpheritup

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 11:31 PM

I agree that some people of an older age may have problems making the transition from secular to religious life. But with grace and faith it is not impossible. Honestly I think the transition is not so much about age as it is about how prepared is the person to follow Jesus. What committment has been made to lay down your will in obedience.

My decision has been years in the making. I know who I am, and what I have to offer the world. I also know how it is that I want to serve the world.

I would think (at least for myself) the difficulty lies with the younger vocations. Older vocations know what they "would be missing in the world" NOTHING. Older vocations bring wisdom, maturity, experience and a willingness to hear the other person.

What bothers me is the arbitrary way I was dismissed without these communities getting to know me. I have contacted about 36 communities the response from the letter I sent has been YOU ARE TOO OLD. They see nothing past the number. They have asked me nothing about my life.

These communities need to go back and read the Old Testament to see how God used the supposedly old people then. And for me that is what it boils down to whose community is it truly? Is the community there for God or for themselves?

I feel sorry for them because they have and probably still are turning away a lot of very fine people. People that for all we know God had intended for them to be there. All I am is saying is the age limits have got to go. Let us take each person on their own merits.

#4 avemarisstella

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 12:05 AM

I think there's a PCPA convent that permits older vocations. We had a lovely priest who was a widower. He only lived a few years after ordination, but he was a good priest in that time. I presume you are female. I know nothing about entrance into men's orders.

#5 ofpheritup

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 08:40 AM

YES I AM A GIRL... :clap: IF I'M NOT MY MOTHER HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO.
The reason I said earlier NOT TO GIVE UP.is because I made the mistake of letting all of the rejection get to me and for awhile I stopped looking. Who knows, if I had kept on going I could have already been a nun.
I started "this" because I wanted to encourage people who are going thru what I have gone thru.
I also want to mention to everyone how blessed I feel to be a part of Phatmass.

#6 jezic

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 08:55 AM

it is not unheard of and usually judged on an individual basis.

I wish you the best.

#7 ThyWillBeDone

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 10:27 AM

A somewhat unrelated bit of intresting information. As far as later vocation to the diocesan priesthood ( what are refered to as second vocations) there is a special national seminary just for them. It is up in new england it called Blessed John XVIII National Seminary.

#8 daugher-of-Mary

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 02:10 PM

If you're interested in contemplative life, try contacting the Benedictine Sisters of St. Emma's Monastery, Greensburg PA. www.stemma.org
God bless and Mary protect you in your discernment!

#9 Totus Tuus

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 06:21 PM

I spent a week with a woman who is thirty-five as we were visiting the PCPA's together. Normally, that (35) is the age limit at most communities, and sometimes exceptions are made or will accept persons who are 40 (I'm talking about women's communities; I have no idea about the men's, though). The reason for this is that people are not very docile as a general rule once they reach an age at which they are "set in their ways". It is much harder to plant the virtue of obedience in them after having lived independently, in most cases. But if God really wants you to be a Relious, it'll work out! Don't worry!

#10 Marieteresa

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 07:52 PM

I spent a week with a woman who is thirty-five as we were visiting the PCPA's together. Normally, that (35) is the age limit at most communities, and sometimes exceptions are made or will accept persons who are 40 (I'm talking about women's communities; I have no idea about the men's, though). The reason for this is that people are not very docile as a general rule once they reach an age at which they are "set in their ways". It is much harder to plant the virtue of obedience in them after having lived independently, in most cases. But if God really wants you to be a Relious, it'll work out! Don't worry!

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Hey missy,
Although I have heard that that is true as well from a sister, I think it is sad that older vocations are dismissed with out assessing the person to see if the person truely has a vocation. I actually asked one of the sisters why they would dismiss a person with an older vocation. She gave somewhat the same explaination as above but stated that, because of this many other religious orders decided to allow persons with older vocations. For instance the Visitation nuns do not have a age limit on entrance because they wanted to allow all persons whom might otherwise be able to enter Religious life a chance. Anyway there are many religious orders out there whom will happily consider a older vocation in fact sister actually knows of a sister whom was 50 something when she entered.

Hey here is a list of orders whom consider vocations over 40, sorry most of this are cloistered! I didn't know if your attracted to Active or Contemplative life.
HANDMAIDS OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
The Passionist Nuns http://www.passionistnuns.org/
Poor Clare Colettines Nuns
Visitation Nuns
Actually I found a number of Carmelite monasteries whom allow belated vocations.
Discalced Carmelites Morristown Carmel,
Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Monastery of St. Therese of Lisieux (they actually allow vocations up to 55 for extern positions)
Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Monastery of Danvers (up to 50)

I will keep you in my prayers as you discern your vocation.

In Jesus, Our Blessed Mother and Joseph,
S. Brooks

#11 anchoress

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 12:59 AM

see

http://www.the-tidin.../0527/older.htm

The reason many Orders refuse older women are mainly practical; as the average age of Sisters increases they are reluctant to take those who soon will need nursing and other care.
So many Orders now have a huge number of old and sick Sisters and they just cannot handle it,, financially or in any other way.
Which is understandable
One Order here in Ireland, Sisters of Mercy, said to me that their sole work now is caring for their old Sisters.

For an excellent read re the problems an older woman might encounter, see "In This House of Brede"; the book, not the film. Phillippa there enters aged over 40

There is a page somewher which I cannot find just now with a long list of Orders who take older women. I did a study on this as I am sometimes asked to help women find an Order; as an Order we do this. I will keep looking...
.
Many of the Poor Clares are among those.

And many Irish Orders also....

Many too are those who have abandoned the Habit

We in Sisters of Faith have no age limits whatsoever..
And we wear the full Habit.

I know this as I was a latecomer; my vocation goes back decades but as my chronic, incurable illness was misdiagnosed as mental illness I did nto get a chance.. I never gave up....Neither did Jesus.. who took me as His Bride that first day 36 years ago.....So it took 34 years for me to become Consecrated. And I bring much more now to Sisters of Faith in my 60s than if I had entered any Order in my 20s.

Blessings this day....

#12 anchoress

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 01:08 AM

I knew I would find it ..

I am putting Living Stream Sisters of Faith at the very top.. Please mail ne for info; you can access our web sites from a link under my photo on my page.... http://www.iol.ie/~anchorhold/
No age limit at all.....

http://www.geocities...obe/over_45.htm

Blessings and always prayer

#13 Totus Tuus

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 06:18 AM

I think there's a PCPA convent that permits older vocations. We had a lovely priest who was a widower. He only lived a few years after ordination, but he was a good priest in that time. I presume you are female. I know nothing about entrance into men's orders.

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Yes, I believe it is the one in Cleveland, but it might be Portsmouth. Both can be accessed from a link at www.olamshrine.com/the_nuns

#14 ofpheritup

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 08:59 AM

Okay I have been reading the responses. Alot of the communities that have been mentioned I have contacted and been refused.

The "reasons" that I have been given over the years have all been mentioned in the responses. I see them more as EXCUSES than reasons.

There is a word that I have been hearing alot and that is that these communities need to be PRACTICAL. I AIN'T BUYING IT.

OUR GOD IS NOT A PRACTICAL GOD. I say this because I have noticed a few things...oh like, Creation something being created out of nothing. The parting of the Red Sea. The feeding of the Israelites in the desert. A little thing called the Resurrection. And last and certainly not least THE EUCHARIST. You understand what I am saying.

My problem with the so called logic behind the practical argument is that God is being limited. Again, I raise the question who is the community there for?

AND WHERE IS THE TRUST? I don't see that the communities TRUST GOD. If they are worred about nit picky things like money and getting older. Then again since we are not of the same mind I wouldn't want to be with them anyway. I DON'T LIMIT GOD.

I do not see how anyone who hasn't taken the time to get to know me has the right to judge me.

And I am tired of this "young" thing. Young and what? How is that better? Why is young so special? GOD ISN'T LOOKING AT THE NUMBER (have I said this enough) HE IS LOOKING AT THE HEART.

Oh yes, the "set in their ways" argument. Again, don't judge unless you know the person. I am living the vows now. Poverty not a problem. Chastity not a problem Obedience only a problem if they try to put me in charge.

I like being in the background. But moving into a community and being told what to do and when to do. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THAT, I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO IT.

Wherever I end up when I walk thru the door I will be leaving my will at the door not my personality.

:crackup: :wavey: :banana: :balloons: :clown: :hearts: :teach:

#15 anchoress

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 11:02 AM

OK; I hear you and I hear your pain and frustration and anger. As someone who has beeen refused many, many times and with less trust and reason, I have to say that I have never been angry like this. I had to go out and water the garden after reading it..

I have always accepted that I am not good enough to be a Nun. The sheer miracle now is that I am.
I all but refused as I thought and think I am not worthy.
And who was I and am I to judge any Order? or any other human being?

May I mitigate some of what you say, please? Thank you!
Over the years I have been in Ireland, I have become deeply friendly with an Order of Poor Clares here. Like all the religious houses here they are dying out; a terrible thing to see.
The youngest is 60 now. There are 12 left; one of those in permanently in hospital Altzheimers and tube-fed. Another old one is permanently bedbound; they are nursing her at the Monastery, a 24 hr job. As well as 24 hour a day Eucharistic Adoration; and long hours "parlouring" every day.
I feel nothing but compassion and deep love and admiration for these Nuns; and I would do anything to fill their empty cells with strong young Novices. Yes, I would have loved to be there, and yes, faces fell when I hinted at that. But I understood and understand and agree. It is not a a matter of lack of trust in God etc
Their priority is to keep the Prayer going; to fulfil the Promise that order made when it was founded, of Perpetual Adoration..
Many of the other Sisters have very serious health problems; cancer and all the ailments that come with old age. They are in and out of hospital... time, money.....Mother Abbess almost died of a blood clot this year.
How they keep going is a miracle to me.
What you hear is fear and exhaustion. Human women at the end of their tether and fighting on. Women who have given their whole lives to Jesus.
Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.
And I for one would not want to add to their burdens .
( I do not know how old you are? I am in my sixties now)

They are not judging you; far from it. Nor are they limiting God; we are all human after all. We are not God.
And money sadly does matter when you are caring for the frail elderly who need warmth and special care. It also matters as we in Sisters of Faith know, when an order has an active mission
Younger is stronger, simply.
And natural for a community to have that range.
The "set in your ways" thing is again is not judgemental but a fact of life. Unless you are a very rare person! I know i am not.
Sometimes when my illness relapses i am offered a Sister as a companion... and boy! Am I set in my ways here! So far it has not been necessary!
And, seriously, living in close quarters 24/7 with a small group of women is very, very tough indeed. It will amaze you how tough it is. Holy Poverty is not about material things, but about a constant self-emptying. You cannot live Vows like that outside an Order, simply.
Please, be loving to all Nuns. We are human, striving always to love and to live our Vows.
Just love in all our weakness and frailty.
If you have an Order to go to, then why worry about the others now? I don't! And I was told even a few montshsbefore I entered that I could not have a vocation as I am disabled.
I was more hurt than angry; but also I KNEW that Priest was wrong. Some groups who rejected me didso- because I was living my Vows too wholeheartedly!

Be blessed and at peace and judge not, but love...

#16 ofpheritup

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 10:45 AM

OKAY I THINK WE HAVE GOTTEN OFF TRACK HERE. I CHOSE THIS TOPIC SO THAT "OLDER" PEOPLE WHO FEEL THEY HAVE A VOCATION HAD SOME PLACE TO GO FOR SUPPORT

I am looking to hear their stories and experiences. Ours is a long difficult and oftentimes misunderstood journey. I want to share the hope that there is a place out there for everyone.

This is not the place to be criticized or told that whatever feelings people may have are wrong. If that is something you are into I suggest you find another site.

I appreciate the positive support and prayers I have received. They are the reasons that I keep searching. And please if you are able to give positive feedback then continue responding.

Over the FIVE years I have been looking I have come across many, many Vocation Directors who feel their communities are wrong for not accepting older vocations. Unfortunately their hands are tied. I sympathize with them. When I started looking I was 42.

Now as to not being able to live the vows outside a religious order, WRONG. I have been a Secular Franciscan for over 18 years and I live the vows everyday. And the vows I professed are in no way less than what a religious takes.

As to "If you have an order to go to" I don't. I will be VISITING an order this summer. I do not know what the outcome will be. I may be back to square one. I won't know until then.

I am standing by my original statements. Communities need to wake up, there are thousands of us out here. And trusting in God is a major issue. Again, many religious I have met are frustrated by their community's age limits.

AGAIN THIS TOPIC EXISTS FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING OLDER VOCATIONS WITHIN THE CHURCH. Whether it be thru prayers or communites you would like to refer us to.

I would like to hear from people like myself.

#17 Marieteresa

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 11:29 AM

Hey ofpheritup,
I am just wondering....what is your vocation story, I mean when did you realize you had a calling toward religious life. I am always interested in ones vocation story. Also do you think your being called to an active or cloistered order? Lasty did you get a chance to check out the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Monastery of St. Therese of Lisieux. Again you are in my prayers! :P

In Jesus, Our Blessed Mother and Joseph
S. Brooks

#18 ofpheritup

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 06:03 AM

Thank you for asking. It started when I was four years old. My father and I went to a monastery in our city to drop off some food. In those days there was a "turn" you put whatever you wanted to give the sisters and YOU TURNED IT AROUND. Well my dad put the food in and me with it. :D

I had a wonderful visit and that is when I started thinking about becoming a nun.

When I was 16 I did join a religious community I stayed about a year. Long story short I was abused there physically, mentally and emotionally. I left.

Fast forward I have been in the Army and lived overseas. I have been married I have a daughter. I have held down many jobs. I have friends, I have a life.

But the desire to be a nun has never left. And so here I am again looking.

I have discovered something I did not know back then. There are of course the active and contemplatives orders. But did you know there is also a "middle ground"?

There are communities who are contemplative but not necessarily cloistered.

.A community I am visiting in August falls into that category. They have a limited apostolate outside of the convent. I will be able to share more info with everyone after I come back.

#19 Susan

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 05:19 PM

Dear Offheritup,
I've been reading this thread and I understand your frustration although I'm not "older." Well, I'm almost.
If so many orders rejected your request (not rejected YOU!) there may be a reason that is more than just your age. You were married and have a daughter and many orders have found from a lot of experience that it doesn't work too well. Think of the pain a community goes through everytime someone comes and then leaves.
I think you also have to accept that vocation directress/ novice mistress to receive a certain "grace of office" and that discernment is on both sides. One directress told me that she has lived the life for 38 years and so does know by experience what it takes to live the contemplative life and that this can't really be understood unless I lived it...
Think of St. Therese's parents: they were both refused admittance into religious life!
I am not critizing you because I do understand your frustration...maybe with this community you are visiting God has shown you "THE PLACE" or maybe it's a step along the way to knowing what HE WANTS!
I have a friend who just spent the past 10 years in 2 different cloisters. She is in her 50's, was married (no kids). She left and finally found that as much as she wanted to be a nun that is not what the Lord was calling her to.
There is no easy answer to any of this. I do know that the Visitation Nuns have a special charism for accepting older/ married/widowed women. So, maybe you should look into them more????
Please be assured of my prayers for you in this.
Susan

Thank you for asking. It started when I was four years old. My father and I went to a monastery in our city to drop off some food. In those days there was a "turn" you put whatever you wanted to give the sisters and YOU TURNED IT AROUND. Well my dad put the food in and me with it.  :D

I had a wonderful visit and that is when I started thinking about becoming a nun.

When I was 16 I did join a religious community  I stayed about a year. Long story short I was abused there physically, mentally and emotionally.  I left.

Fast forward I have been in the Army and lived overseas. I have been married I have a daughter. I have held down many jobs. I have friends, I have a life.

But the desire to be a nun has never left.  And so here I am again looking.

I have discovered something I did not know back then. There are of course the active and contemplatives orders. But did you know there is also a "middle ground"?

There are communities who are contemplative but not necessarily cloistered.

.A community I am visiting in August  falls into that category. They have a limited apostolate outside of the convent. I will be able to share more info with everyone after I come back.

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#20 daugher-of-Mary

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 09:29 AM

I just read an article in Envoy about a relatively new order called the Servants of the Eleventh Hour. The name seemed a little weird at first, but Envoy is the paradigm of Orthodoxy so I read on. The foundress, Mother Antonia, explains about the name, "Sometimes, we are called to service at the first hour. For others, it's the second or the third. But then there are those who are standing around at the eleventh hour, when they are finally called to give up their lieves and go work in the vineyard."
The Sisters make their vows for just a year at a time. Most are older than 40 or 50. They teach, work in prisons, and take care of the elderly. Rome calls the Servants of the Eleventh Hour "a new kind of way of serving God...something inspired by the Holy SPirit..and something new and wonderful for the Church."




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