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Young and even middle-aged people who enter a religious community often have fewer peers these days. The age gap can have challenges but not as many as most think.
A young sister reveals how the age-old vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience give shape and meaning to her life.
Charism is the inspirational purpose that starts communities and keeps them going. It is community mission and spirit. It gives communities distinctive personalities and imbues their daily practice with meaning.
Few people outside of religious communities see what life is like inside, compelling documentary filmmakers to explore this rich subject. Here are some must-sees.
A new fund—aimed at tackling the problem of educational debt—is helping 10 young women to pursue their dream of becoming Catholic sisters.
Sometimes people think religious life is mostly about giving things up. But there is much to be gained when your true vocation is to be a sister, brother, or priest.
Not all religious communities accept candidates over the age of 40, but some do. Here are answers to questions that mature candidates often have.
Being boy-crazy as a teenager actually helped this Franciscan sister experience the call to Catholic sisterhood.
Sometimes when religious see a need that fits their charism and speaks to their passions, it can lead to meaningful—albeit unconventional—work.
One young Catholic learns that it takes more than a few viewings of Sister Act and The Trouble with Angels to gain a healthy understanding of what it means to be a religious sister, brother, or priest.
The Daughters of Charity and De La Salle Christian Brothers bring hope and opportunity to a new generation through their commitment to education for all.
How good are you at setting limits and sticking to them or balancing quiet time with an active social life? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself if you are seriously considering religious life.
As religious communities become more culturally diverse, newer members share their thoughts on what individuals and communities can do to guide the process.
What is daily life like inside the church, office, and home of a religious order priest?
A religious sister witnesses first-hand that the "call of the gospel remains large" in her community and throughout the country.
Religious life is a lot different today than it used to be, and there’s much more transformation in store. But change isn’t the only constant—so is commitment to community and charism.
I've met and worked with hundreds of generous, Spirit-filled priests, brothers, and sisters. Many of them have a happiness that comes from the inside, from dedicating their lives to something with lasting meaning.
Our values assist us in making responsible choices, including how to use and not misuse the sexual energy that makes us the vital people we are.
From ancient desert monasticism to contemporary forms of religious life, a small band of Christian men and women in every generation choose to consecrate their lives to God with unique vows of love and service that give radical witness to the gospel.
Saying your solemn "Yes!" in monastic vows means being welcomed into a community of believers who commit themselves to rooting for you and encouraging you all along your way.
Chastity is more than a list of don'ts. It's a way of harnessing our sexual energy for good, whatever our state of life: single, married, ordained, or vowed.
At the time I wrote this poem, I had been a social worker in Newark, New Jersey for many years, working with families whose stories could keep you up at night. Then in the 1980s, in addition to poverty and addiction, these same families confronted a new struggle: HIV and AIDS.
Why did I choose a life and continue to choose a life that includes celibate chastity? Because of the deep sense of happiness I’ve found in this way of living.
It’s good to get the support of your family when you choose a church vocation, but it doesn’t always happen—at least not at first.
Three skills are absolutely essential to community life: Look to the future. Persevere in the present. Tell the truth.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, religious orders aren't filled with crooning priests, flying nuns, and crotchety church ladies ready to rap your knuckles.
I don't know why but I'm fulfilled in this life, and that alone is Mystery to me.
. . . and the facts from the 2009 NRVC/CARA Study that dispel them.
It may seem that religious life has a language all its own. Here’s a guide to understanding some of the terms you might hear in discerning a vocation with a religious community.
. . . And honest answers to your questions about priests, sisters, brothers, vows, sexuality, community life, and more.
While some communities are willing and able to welcome candidates beyond the age of 40, others can’t. What are the reasons for age-limits and what choices for vowed life do older discerners have?
Becoming a sister, brother, or priest doesn’t have to mean giving up your professional path. Not only that, a religious vocation can reshape your career in surprising ways.
A community of Trappist monks in California have a unique relationship with a monastery that is an ocean of water—and time—away.
A young man discovered his vocation by immersing himself in the pillars of Franciscan spirituality—starting with a sense of place in a beloved city.
In addition to traditional vowed membership, people who feel called to consecrated life have other opportunities.
A small group of Dominican nuns hope that the monastery they built in mountains of Western Canada will become the voice of Jesus to anyone who stops to listen.
Those vowed to celibacy can be true to their call, even when it gets, well, complicated.
Older and younger members of religious communities living together has its challenges, but the benefits are much greater.
Questions, decisions, and dreams fill young adulthood. Many of us have developed a social conscience and are looking for ways to live it out in the fullness of our lives.
In a long-established ritual, three men from different walks of life enter a monastery to live for a year among the monks and see if it is right for them and for the community.
Someone once said that community is like shaking a jar of rough stones until they become smooth and beautiful. It’s easy to say “I love everyone” when you live alone. In community, you have a chance to prove it.
A conversion experience led me to God. My promise of chastity as a religious sister, in turn, leads me to foster life and love in others
Carmelite spirituality enables God-seekers to discover new heights and depths in their own hearts and in the God who calls and loves them.
The promises of poverty, celibacy, and obedience are less about giving things up than about living a full and free life.
Practicing the vows of poverty and obedience—not perfectly but faithfully over time—keeps this brother from losing his way.
A look at the spaces religious communities have renovated and adapted for modern worship and prayer.
VISION 2010 featured a photo story on the spaces religious communities have renovated or built for worship and prayer (click to view the original story in either the online or digital edition version). Due to space constraints we could not feature in print all of the submissions we received. Here are some additional photos of the truly spectacular worship spaces religious communities enjoy.
In her first years as a Franciscan, Sister Gayle discovered that community is not only a lively and joyful way to live but also the means to many spiritual ends
I learned very early in my discernment process that just because you are a nun doesn’t mean that you are never going to fall in love.
Celibate chastity is not well understood in most societies. Everyone who has ever chosen life within a Catholic religious community has taken a vow of celibate chastity. So what exactly is it?
“For my parents, being happy meant getting married, having good jobs, and a nice house,” she says. “I think my mother thought that the longer I waited, the more chance Mr. Right might come along!”
A 300-mile journey in the spirit of Saint Francis became a pilgrimage of trust—in God, one another, and the people encountered along the way.
Knowing and working with a number of men and women in religious communities, I have found that they enrich our world with five qualities that clearly demonstrate why we need them.
Younger members of religious communities talk about living out their call in multigenerational settings.