For older discerners
While many religious communities do not consider candidates for membership over (or below) a certain age, there are some places to turn for older people who feel called to religious life.
1. The Community Search section of this website, filtered by age 45.
2. See the “Older vocations” article by Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M. in the VISION Vocation Network’s Q&A: On Vocations section.3. Some Benedictine women’s communities who may consider older candidates. (Note: Policies amd contact information may change and VISION cannot guarantee these communities now consider older candidates. Check with the communities individually):
• St. Martin Monastery, Rapid City, SD 605-343-8011, firstname.lastname@example.org, Limit: 55.
• Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, AL, 256-734-2199, email@example.com. Limit: 50 but will make some exceptions.
• St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, MN, 218-723-6646, firstname.lastname@example.org. Limit: 50 but will make some exceptions.
• St. Benedict Monastery, Canyon, TX, email@example.com. Limit: 60.
• Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, ID, 208-962-5024, firstname.lastname@example.org. No age limit.
• Mother of God Monastery, Watertown, SD, 605- 822-6609, email@example.com. Limit: 60.
• Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, Bristow, VA, 703-298-5337, firstname.lastname@example.org. Limit: 21 to “no cut-off age.”
• Benet Hill, Colorado Springs, CO, 719-633-0655, email@example.com. No age limit.
• St. Walburg Monastery, Covington KY, 859-331-6324, firstname.lastname@example.org. No cut off age.
• Mt. St. Benedict Monastery, Crookston, MN, 218-281-3441, email@example.com. Over 50 in some circumstances.
• St. Bede Monastery, Eau Claire, WI, 714-834-3176, firstname.lastname@example.org. Limit: 50 but will make exceptions.
• Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth, 908-352-4278 ext. 274, SrMariette@aol.com. No cut-off age.
• Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 412-931-2844 ext. 118, email@example.com. Limit: 60 on a case-by-case basis.
• St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL, 309-283-2300, firstname.lastname@example.org. Opens their Benedictine Experience Weekends to single women, 18-50 years old.
• The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth consider older candidates: email@example.com; www.nazarethcsfn.org, as do the Daughters of the Heart of Mary.
4. Other options for consecrated life which may not involve age restrictions include associate programs, secular third orders, secular institutes, and other new communities of consecrated life. Read the current VISION listings for communities, institutes, and associations in the directory section.
For discerners with disabilities
Benedictine Sisters of Jesus Crucified
Founded in France in 1930, the Roman Catholic Order of Benedictines of Jesus Crucified is one of the few religious orders that widely accepts women with physical disabilities. The order maintains a U.S. presence in the Connecticut Monastery of the Glorious Cross, a fully accessible facility that is currently home to 21 sisters. Sister Mary Zita, O.S.B., vocation director, says the community is able to accept women who are blind, have heart conditions, diabetes, orthopedic conditions, post-polio conditions, and spinal bifida. They do not accept women with mental or neurological disorders.
"Our proper charism within the Benedictine family,” the community says, “is to embody a joyful participation in the Paschal Mystery of Christ. Ours is a daily ‘Passover’ lived out in the contemplation of Jesus Crucified and in the radiance of his resurrection. We embody the Paschal Mystery in a monastic life that brings together sisters in good health and sisters in fragile health or with a physical handicap."
Franciscan Missionaries of Jesus Crucified
The Franciscan Missionaries of Jesus Crucified is a secular institute for women and men founded in 1987 in Albany, New York and was approved as an association of the faithful in 1992. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity, especially for persons with disabilities, to live a life of total consecration and the pursuit of holiness in the apostolate of service to the church and to those who suffer in any way.
The Victorious Missionaries provide a spiritual network for persons with a disability or chronic illness. The organization, the largest of its kind in the U.S., began in 1964 and is headquartered at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois.
The group says: "We are a visionary people called to a way of life that sees beyond the suffering and struggles of life to the victory that is born through the spirit of love. People with disabilities have gifts, too—gifts that can and should be shared with the universal church and the world!"