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graciandelamadrededios

I can understand the question because I was a vegetarian for over 20 years (starting when I was a Buddhist in my early 20s). And I have never been particularly fond of meat anyway so after I converted, I thought I would find it hard to enter a convent where I would have to eat meat. When I did start discerning RL seriously though, I was attracted to the Carmelites (Discalced), who don't eat meat. The first two Carmels I was in adhered to this part of the Rule, but the third Carmel I entered ate meat because it was donated by their neighbors (ranchers) and the community felt it was more in keeping with the vow of poverty to accept and eat it, than to stick to the letter of the law in the Rule. Especially since the Rule has several exceptions to eating meat -- one of them was not to inconvenience a host and another was while at sea! They felt it was 'common sense' to accept what was offered, so in that Carmel I had to eat meat, which I did. My fourth Carmel was back to no meat again. After awhile, I stopped worrying about it. In my own life I didn't buy or cook meat for myself, but when I went to dinner at someone else's house, I would eat whatever they had prepared, and this usually included meat. Now I eat what is put in front of me and don't seem to have any problems with it.

 

 

 

I agree with you on this.....

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We never ate meat until about the 80's when fish became very expensive and people would be offering us meat, especially turkeys. We felt it was more in keeping with poverty to accept the meat and eat

Hi Oremus,   Perhaps a more constructive way to have phrased the question "how would you know? y ou are married and therefore not in religous life." might have bee nsomething along the lines of:  

Ok ... I am locking this thread for the precise reason stated above.  You can discuss an issue, and disagree with people, but there are statements on this thread that are just not good (I don't want t

Sr Mary Catharine OP

We never ate meat until about the 80's when fish became very expensive and people would be offering us meat, especially turkeys. We felt it was more in keeping with poverty to accept the meat and eat it. Since the early 90's our Friday Fish is donated by a generous family. We don't eat meat during Advent and Lent. There are quite a few sisters who can't eat fish which sometimes means that the diet kitchen needs to prepare something for nearly half of the community.

 

Fish used to be the food of the poor and shell fish too used to be plentiful and cheap. I'm told that on the big feasts like Christmas and Easter they ate shrimp, crab, and lobster! Now, today we would say that was against poverty! But then it was cheap! I remember as a little girl in the 70's eating fresh, jumbo shrimp on Fridays all the time! I recently found out that Eastern rite religious don't eat fish during Lent except Sundays but then can eat shellfish. Another favorite meal (and one we still make during Lent) is "mock turkey" using walnuts. It's a lot of work to preparing and frankly, it doesn't taste like mock anything but it's tasty. We have a mock meatloaf that uses cottage cheese and it really does taste good.

 

This all by way of showing that times have changed and that the ancient rules, which had practical reasons behind them, sometimes no longer apply and changes need to be made. When one enters the monastery a certain interest in what is being served at meals is OK but it's good to develop a detachment and just eat what is put in front of you. "Blessed be God in his gifts!" If we receive something special and tasty, thanks be to God. If it's something, well, not to our liking, thanks be to God!

Edited by Sr. Mary Catharine
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May I ask what do you mean by Vegetarian?  What type of Vegetarian are you referring to?  

 

Discalced Carmelite Nuns, at least those I am acquainted with don't eat meat but they eat fish, milk, and eggs as protein substitute.  Trappist does the same thing as well as Poor Clares.  I heard one Trappist Monk said "We do not eat meat but we are not vegetarian."  In her book "A Right to be Merry" by Mother Mary Francis, PCC, she wrote:

 

"Sister Paula remarked ... how it was 'so nice' that the tornado did not kill us after all, as Sister Catherine's mother had just given us some shrimp and it would be a dreadful shame for a rare treat like that to be blown into Texas where people probably had shrimp any old day." 

 

When I visited the Convent of the Pink Sisters in Baguio, I asked the Superior if the Sisters eat meat, she said Yes, especially that they have few sisters in this community than normal, each Sister has to be feed well to sustain their health since they maintain Adoration 24/7.  

 

Also, I heard that a certain Carmelite Monastery was allowed to eat meat since fish is more expensive than meat in their area.  The Carmelite Rule states: "Necessity has no law"

 

Primitive Rule of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel given by St. Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem and corrected, emended and confirmed by Pope Innocent IV (Carmelite Rule)

 

16. You are to fast every day, except Sunday, from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross until Easter Day, unless bodily sickness or feebleness, or some other good reason, demand a dispensation from the fast; for necessity overrides every law.

 

17. You are to abstain from meat, except as a remedy for sickness or feebleness. But as, when you are on a journey, you more often than not have to beg your way, outside your own houses, you may eat foodstuffs that have been cooked with meat, so as to avoid giving trouble to your hosts. At sea, however, meat may be eaten.

 

By vegetarian I mean not eating animals. No fish, chicken, shrimp etc.

Only things grown in the ground, or dairy.
 

 

We never ate meat until about the 80's when fish became very expensive and people would be offering us meat, especially turkeys. We felt it was more in keeping with poverty to accept the meat and eat it. Since the early 90's our Friday Fish is donated by a generous family. We don't eat meat during Advent and Lent. There are quite a few sisters who can't eat fish which sometimes means that the diet kitchen needs to prepare something for nearly half of the community.

 

Fish used to be the food of the poor and shell fish too used to be plentiful and cheap. I'm told that on the big feasts like Christmas and Easter they ate shrimp, crab, and lobster! Now, today we would say that was against poverty! But then it was cheap! I remember as a little girl in the 70's eating fresh, jumbo shrimp on Fridays all the time! I recently found out that Eastern rite religious don't eat fish during Lent except Sundays but then can eat shellfish. Another favorite meal (and one we still make during Lent) is "mock turkey" using walnuts. It's a lot of work to preparing and frankly, it doesn't taste like mock anything but it's tasty. We have a mock meatloaf that uses cottage cheese and it really does taste good.

 

This all by way of showing that times have changed and that the ancient rules, which had practical reasons behind them, sometimes no longer apply and changes need to be made. When one enters the monastery a certain interest in what is being served at meals is OK but it's good to develop a detachment and just eat what is put in front of you. "Blessed be God in his gifts!" If we receive something special and tasty, thanks be to God. If it's something, well, not to our liking, thanks be to God!

yes but for many, eating meat is a moral issue, it is not just a 'I don't really like the taste of chicken....'.

it would conflict their conscience. some of them have never eaten meat in their life.

 

also, I don't see why people thing a vegetarian diet is so complicated. take a normal meal. remove the meat. replace with a glass of milk. you have a vegetarian meal.

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While it is understandable to want to investigate whether or not a deeply held desire to not eat meat would be able to be fulfilled in a particular community, I do think it is important to realize that religious life is meant to be a life of sacrificial offering of oneself to the Lord.  This by its very nature is going to mean that there will be times when it will be more difficult to  "die to oneself" to follow Christ in obedience, Who certainly sacrificed Himself in obedience to God. 

 

I am not saying this question of diet isn't important for some people and shouldn't be explored.  Just suggesting the importance of keeping this issue and all others in the perspective that religious life is ascetical by design.   

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios

By vegetarian I mean not eating animals. No fish, chicken, shrimp etc.

Only things grown in the ground, or dairy.
 

 

yes but for many, eating meat is a moral issue, it is not just a 'I don't really like the taste of chicken....'.

it would conflict their conscience. some of them have never eaten meat in their life.

 

also, I don't see why people thing a vegetarian diet is so complicated. take a normal meal. remove the meat. replace with a glass of milk. you have a vegetarian meal.

 

If the aspirant is vegetarian, this should be discussed with the community he or she is discerning with.  It is not as simple like most of us think - a lof of factors will be considered.

 

I agree with Sr. Catherine on what she wrote.

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By vegetarian I mean not eating animals. No fish, chicken, shrimp etc.
Only things grown in the ground, or dairy.
 
 
yes but for many, eating meat is a moral issue, it is not just a 'I don't really like the taste of chicken....'.
it would conflict their conscience. some of them have never eaten meat in their life.
 
also, I don't see why people thing a vegetarian diet is so complicated. take a normal meal. remove the meat. replace with a glass of milk. you have a vegetarian meal.

 
 
Although I do understand the personal concerns involved (having been through it myself), don't forget that when St Peter didn't want to eat the foods that were forbidden to Jews, God gave him a vision in which he was told that what God has made clean, not to call profane. God has not forbidden us to eat meat, even though we may have our own concerns about animal slaughter, it is a private and personal morality, not a Catholic one. That is why even convents that have traditionally not eaten meat for a variety of reasons (penance, poverty, etc) have sometimes re-evaluated their position about it. As Sr Mary Catherine points out, fish used to be cheap and meat expensive, but these days, fish can be a luxury item. When I was in England, our chaplain asked me how we, as nuns vowed to poverty, could afford to eat fish every day. He told me that he certainly couldn't afford it! Sometimes being practical or just having common sense means that we might have to surrender our own personal choices - at least that is so if you live in a religious community.
 
He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners.In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky.A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.” But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.” The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.”
 Acts 10:10-15

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Although I do understand the personal concerns involved (having been through it myself), don't forget that when St Peter didn't want to eat the foods that were forbidden to Jews, God gave him a vision in which he was told that what God has made clean, not to call profane. God has not forbidden us to eat meat, even though we may have our own concerns about animal slaughter, it is a private and personal morality, not a Catholic one. That is why even convents that have traditionally not eaten meat for a variety of reasons (penance, poverty, etc) have sometimes re-evaluated their position about it. As Sr Mary Catherine points out, fish used to be cheap and meat expensive, but these days, fish can be a luxury item. When I was in England, our chaplain asked me how we, as nuns vowed to poverty, could afford to eat fish every day. He told me that he certainly couldn't afford it! Sometimes being practical or just having common sense means that we might have to surrender our own personal choices - at least that is so if you live in a religious community.
 
He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners.In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky.A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.” But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.” The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.”
 Acts 10:10-15

 

I never said it was profane. you cannot surely be denying that meat is the product of procuring death.

and while fish and chicken might be cheap, beans are cheaper. and possibly milk.

 

so I don't see why 'having common sense' means one must eat meat.

 

it isn't complicated. someone gives you a plate of fish with rice. you leave the fish and eat the rice.

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Oremus, in many communities--especially the strict ones that you seem attracted to (and I am not being critical)--one is to eat everything as a matter of obedience. And "leaving" something is a violation of the vow of poverty. 

 

Part of religious life is putting aside one's own preferences.  It really is neessary to understand that, just maybe, someone else may know what is best. 

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I never said it was profane. you cannot surely be denying that meat is the product of procuring death.

and while fish and chicken might be cheap, beans are cheaper. and possibly milk.

 

so I don't see why 'having common sense' means one must eat meat.

 

it isn't complicated. someone gives you a plate of fish with rice. you leave the fish and eat the rice.

 

Fish is not cheap - I just got through saying that, especially in England! But you missed the point. One of the aspects of religious life is that you don't always get things the way you want them, so there might be some aspects of it that might not be exactly as you want them to be. Self sacrifice is part of the lifestyle. So if vegetarianism is that important to you, then you either need to find a community that feels as you do or stay in the world.

 

But don't forget that Jesus ate fish as did his disciples. And although it doesn't specifically say so in the Bible, being a Jew, He probably also ate the Passover lamb. His family certainly sacrificed at the Temple, and when Mary went for her purification after giving birth to Jesus, they took a sacrifice with them:

 

"They also offered a sacrifice according to what is specified in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." Lk 2:24

 

Yes, you have a right to your own personal moral standards, but nowhere does God forbid humans from eating meat (despite the fact that the animals have to die in order for this to happen) and in fact, it does state that he created animals for humans. There are different levels of morality, but being a vegetarian is purely a personal choice, not a Catholic point of view. 

 

It's all about priorities. If vegetarianism is a priority for you, especially at this stage in your life, then that is something you certainly have to take into consideration while discerning.

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Oremus, in many communities--especially the strict ones that you seem attracted to (and I am not being critical)--one is to eat everything as a matter of obedience. And "leaving" something is a violation of the vow of poverty. 

 

Part of religious life is putting aside one's own preferences.  It really is neessary to understand that, just maybe, someone else may know what is best. 

 

 

yes well some orders are vegetarian and this thread is so they may be listed. if there are two with a similar charism, but one is cegetarian and the other isnt, one might wish to take that into consideration.

 

also everyone is more or less saying 'vegetarians are fussy and disobedient and self aborbed'. but some countries actually make it obligatory to abstain form meat on fridays. Eastern Orthodox Lent is very strict too. and many people fast from meat during lent.

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yes well some orders are vegetarian and this thread is so they may be listed. if there are two with a similar charism, but one is cegetarian and the other isnt, one might wish to take that into consideration.

 

also everyone is more or less saying 'vegetarians are fussy and disobedient and self aborbed'. but some countries actually make it obligatory to abstain form meat on fridays. Eastern Orthodox Lent is very strict too. and many people fast from meat during lent.

 

 

There is a difference between not eating meat during Lent or on Fridays, and not being prepared to eat meat ever, even if it is served to you in community. So if it is that important to you, then yes, you need to find a community that feels as you do.

 

But even if a community is listed as vegetarian, as most OCD communities are - there are exceptions since each community is autonomous, so be sure to ask this question of the Prioress when you enquire.

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We never ate meat until about the 80's when fish became very expensive and people would be offering us meat, especially turkeys. We felt it was more in keeping with poverty to accept the meat and eat it. Since the early 90's our Friday Fish is donated by a generous family. We don't eat meat during Advent and Lent. There are quite a few sisters who can't eat fish which sometimes means that the diet kitchen needs to prepare something for nearly half of the community.

 

Fish used to be the food of the poor and shell fish too used to be plentiful and cheap. I'm told that on the big feasts like Christmas and Easter they ate shrimp, crab, and lobster! Now, today we would say that was against poverty! But then it was cheap! I remember as a little girl in the 70's eating fresh, jumbo shrimp on Fridays all the time! I recently found out that Eastern rite religious don't eat fish during Lent except Sundays but then can eat shellfish. Another favorite meal (and one we still make during Lent) is "mock turkey" using walnuts. It's a lot of work to preparing and frankly, it doesn't taste like mock anything but it's tasty. We have a mock meatloaf that uses cottage cheese and it really does taste good.

 

This all by way of showing that times have changed and that the ancient rules, which had practical reasons behind them, sometimes no longer apply and changes need to be made. When one enters the monastery a certain interest in what is being served at meals is OK but it's good to develop a detachment and just eat what is put in front of you. "Blessed be God in his gifts!" If we receive something special and tasty, thanks be to God. If it's something, well, not to our liking, thanks be to God!

 

I wish shrimp, crab and lobster were inexpensive these days!  I LOVE crab legs so much - in fact, my birthday is coming up at the end of the month and I tell my mom every year that I really want to go to a seafood restaurant.  We found a great little place that's been open nearly 40 years on the other side of town near the beach and I'd love to go back.  Anyway, I'm making myself salivate so...  :drool:
 

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By vegetarian I mean not eating animals. No fish, chicken, shrimp etc.

Only things grown in the ground, or dairy.
 

 

yes but for many, eating meat is a moral issue, it is not just a 'I don't really like the taste of chicken....'.

it would conflict their conscience. some of them have never eaten meat in their life.

 

also, I don't see why people thing a vegetarian diet is so complicated. take a normal meal. remove the meat. replace with a glass of milk. you have a vegetarian meal.

 

There is considerable confusion between vegetarian and vegan diets.  Vegetarians usually will eat dairy and egg products, and some even include fish.  Vegans forego everything that is not from plants.  Getting balanced and adequate nutrition in a vegan diet is very difficult. 

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Oremus, no one is saying that vegetarianism is *wrong*--we are saying that NOT being a vegetarian is not wrong, either, nor is one OR the other a sign of "holiness."  And, while Benedict may have been a vegetarian, there is no evidence that he was considered a saint BECAUSE he was a vegetarian.  

 

I see no one here who is claiming that vegetarians are fussy and disobedient. Please read what people are actually saying. The point is that this is not an essential element of either religious life or holiness. And, once one is in religious life, I would hope that one would be flexible enough to put the community above one's individual preferences.  Essential to most forms of religious life is COMMUNITY.  Even orders like the Carthusians eat what they are given, not what they prefer personally.... 

 

Enough.

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