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Redemptoristines and older vocations


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In this Christmas season, I would like to highlight 2 examples of older vocations. 

Firstly this linkhttps://www.facebook.com/mosteirodasantaface.oficial/

 

This is the social media of the one of  Redemptoristines monasteries in Brazil, who recently accepted an older vocation who is now a novice. It was not a short process. The sisters there go through live in candidature and then postulancy. This process is not rushed. And age does not mean expections to the process. Time is taken to form the sisters. 

The Australian Redemptoristines also have a live in candidate who is over 60 years old. Currently after a year with them, she remains in pre-posulancy. The sisters will take all the time needed to make sure that the candidate and them are sure that it is God's will. In my correspondence with the Australian Rev Mother, she emphasises that the process is never rushed. 

While many orders will not accept older vocations, there are orders who will and no woman who no fault of her own, should feel that she cannot be where the Lord wants her to be. The Lord will place her where she needs to be. It just takes time. 

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I do not know this community, nor do I know anyone personally who entered when over 60. However, I'll make the general comment that, on this forum, I often see comments which make it appear that religious communities lack candidates because they won't accept those who are past 60. It seems odd to me. 

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https://www.ossr-nuns.org/

Both the Brazilian and Australian monasteries are a part of the above order, which is the Redemptoristines. 

The female counterparts to the Redemptorists, CSSR. 

Many communities regretfully shut the door to candidates at 30 to 35. Yes, for some orders they need a younger woman. To train a teacher or a nurse, starting young is better. That's understandable but the cut off can at times be too enforced. 

There are younger women who through being only children then have the obligation to care for ill parent(s). In this I speak from experience having been put in the carer role in my mid 20's and still being in that role in my mid 40's. That does not mean that my vocation to religious life should be discounted because I have a responsibility to see to right now. The older candidate can bring life experiences to religious life that the younger candidate sometimes cannot. 

It is not for everyone and I do not believe that just anyone should think of religious life when they are older but there are older 35+ candidates who need to be taken more seriously than they are. 

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I believe that far more communities consider those who are over 35 than did in the past. I was referring to that some posts make it appear as if the shortage of new candidates is related to that congregations don't encourage those over 60.

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In the UK many contemplative communities have candidates older than 35. The Poor Clares at Arundel, for example, have 2 novices, one in her fifties and one in her sixties. Both have been there for 3 years and are doing fine.

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Most communities accept candidates over 35; only the most conservative have such restrictions anymore. But there is a big difference between someone in their 40s or even 50s, and someone over 60, although those are not unheard of, obviously. In active communities, too, it will depend on educational and professional qualifications. 

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On 12/27/2021 at 1:17 PM, Nunsuch said:

Most communities accept candidates over 35; only the most conservative have such restrictions anymore. But there is a big difference between someone in their 40s or even 50s, and someone over 60, although those are not unheard of, obviously. In active communities, too, it will depend on educational and professional qualifications. 

Talking with a Sister at the monastery I’ve discerned to, she became a postulant at 45 and expressed how difficult it was for her to adapt to formation. She was used to having her own freedom and community life was a major shift away from that. I always joke that I’m at an advantage since I’ve either lived with family or 2+ roommates my entire life.

I know the Order of the Visitation also accepts older vocations, and has since its literal foundation. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/26/2021 at 3:39 AM, gloriana35 said:

I do not know this community, nor do I know anyone personally who entered when over 60. However, I'll make the general comment that, on this forum, I often see comments which make it appear that religious communities lack candidates because they won't accept those who are past 60. It seems odd to me. 

Most orders won't accept older candidates because they have not persevered in the past; it is too difficult to adapt to a new routine. However, The Visitation was designed for widows; also I read of a Redemptoristine who posted on Phat who entered in her late 50's or 60's. Sometimes a peek at the novice(s) might suggest an older one. Some orders make it very clear, others don't say, still others say something like "each aoplication is considered on its own merits." or some such.

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I myself am of mature years - I know there are exceptions (and I've been living a vowed life for forty years), but I would think it was a very difficult adjustment to make at 60+. I know there are exceptions, and I would allow for that there may be individuals who enter older, but what surprises me on this forum (not only on this thread) is that there are posts which make it appear that the reason communities do not have candidates is that they do not encourage those who are past 60. 

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It has always seemed to me that it's not just about the difficulties of formation at an older age, but that, even with the best will in the world, someone who enters at an advanced age is going to eventually and almost inevitably cost the community a great deal in medical care, and that can be very tough for small, not well-endowed communities.  Just an example, and I'm still an independent and active 76, my chronic meds alone cost over $1000 per month [if my health insurance didn't pick up 80% of the cost -- but remember, I'm in Israel and we have an excellent national health system].  Some women would enter as healthy 40 year olds, only to require considerable physical assistance a decade later, etc.  Others, of course, are sprightly 90 year olds -- there's no way of knowing how things will turn out.

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Most of the many Sisters I knew have died, and it does sadden me that the diverse communities, and large membership, there was in my younger days is replaced by communities I knew dying out, almost entirely. I would imagine that many communities have few members, most of whom are elderly, already. 

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9 hours ago, Antigonos said:

It has always seemed to me that it's not just about the difficulties of formation at an older age, but that, even with the best will in the world, someone who enters at an advanced age is going to eventually and almost inevitably cost the community a great deal in medical care, and that can be very tough for small, not well-endowed communities.  Just an example, and I'm still an independent and active 76, my chronic meds alone cost over $1000 per month [if my health insurance didn't pick up 80% of the cost -- but remember, I'm in Israel and we have an excellent national health system].  Some women would enter as healthy 40 year olds, only to require considerable physical assistance a decade later, etc.  Others, of course, are sprightly 90 year olds -- there's no way of knowing how things will turn out.

I just really don't understand it.  I tried to enter after my husband died, but didn't even receive a letter turning me down.  Nothing.  Health care is given as costing too much for a community.  Well, I have USA medicare, a program for my local health care that cancels any copays due to low income, and I pay only $95 a month for my health care program.  I get social security, so not only would I not be a burden to my community for any medical expenses, I would bring money into the community from my social security.  

I belonged to a thriving Franciscan community in my youth.  They had about 700 sisters at that time.  In the last 13 years, 92 sisters have died.  I got a call from one of the sisters bemoaning the fact that the "community is dying".  I estimate that there are only about 50-60 sisters left in the community.  So very sad.

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2 hours ago, gloriana35 said:

Most of the many Sisters I knew have died, and it does sadden me that the diverse communities, and large membership, there was in my younger days is replaced by communities I knew dying out, almost entirely. I would imagine that many communities have few members, most of whom are elderly, already. 

Yes indeed. Most of the sisters living today are elderly. Not all, of course. Even those communities who are steadily professing sisters/nuns cannot make up for the crashing numbers as the numerous elderly eventually die.  Also you should follow the numbers in the USA/Europe. The dying-off worldwide is masked by the numerous young nuns in Africa and Asia.  It is anyone's guess where the numbers will bottom out in the states.

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6 hours ago, Totally Franciscan said:

I just really don't understand it.  I tried to enter after my husband died, but didn't even receive a letter turning me down.  Nothing.  Health care is given as costing too much for a community.  Well, I have USA medicare, a program for my local health care that cancels any copays due to low income, and I pay only $95 a month for my health care program.  I get social security, so not only would I not be a burden to my community for any medical expenses, I would bring money into the community from my social security.  

I belonged to a thriving Franciscan community in my youth.  They had about 700 sisters at that time.  In the last 13 years, 92 sisters have died.  I got a call from one of the sisters bemoaning the fact that the "community is dying".  I estimate that there are only about 50-60 sisters left in the community.  So very sad.

Some communities don't accept people who have been in religious life previously and left. I do agree that you deserved the courtesy of a response, even if it were negative. But financial concerns are not primary in whether a person is accepted into a religious congregation or not. Finally, keep in mind that the formation process for most congregations is between 5 (absolute minimum) and 13 years. If one is already 60 years old upon admission (and the screening process typically can take about a year), final profession after that length of time would mean one would be 74. 

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2 hours ago, Nunsuch said:

Some communities don't accept people who have been in religious life previously and left. I do agree that you deserved the courtesy of a response, even if it were negative. But financial concerns are not primary in whether a person is accepted into a religious congregation or not. Finally, keep in mind that the formation process for most congregations is between 5 (absolute minimum) and 13 years. If one is already 60 years old upon admission (and the screening process typically can take about a year), final profession after that length of time would mean one would be 74. 

And what would be wrong with final profession after age 74?  A woman of any age has something to offer her community, but the most important thing is that she belongs to Christ.  Her life, whether short or long, she offers back to Christ.   Her vows are offered to her Spouse, so it matters not her age or what she does in community.

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