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Q & A with Father Anthony

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What are some impediments to becoming a nun?

Monique asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

What are some impediments to becoming a nun? I know that serious physical or mental problems can be impediments, but what else could be an impediment? Previous sins, a criminal record from the past, recovering from an addiction, etc.; would these things be considered impediments?


Dear Monique,

Bear in mind that there are some general impediments that apply to all religious orders (a validly married person cannot become a nun while her husband is still living, for example), and there are others that apply to individual orders and generally have to do with the particular apostolate that they do and other considerations (age limits in some orders, for example).

The points you mention in your note and others are all possible impediments, and in most cases acceptance or not into a religious order will depend upon the circumstances and gravity of the faults, the time elapsed since they were overcome, and the nature and work of each particular order. So, the way to go is to be open with the vocation director of the group you are interested in.

Remember that God's forgiveness is always there for us to go to. Even if past faults turn out to be an impediment for a vocation, it doesn't mean that God has nothing for us to do. His mercy is the greatest reality in our lives. No matter what our past, we can always tackle the future with his grace and forgiveness, and turn our life into a hymn of praise to God's mercy. Each of us as Christians has to be the living proof of the power of God's grace to raise up our fallen nature, instilling in us a new spirit, making us live not for ourselves but for him who suffered and died for us, wherever he wants us.

God bless,

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