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Why do religious communities have age limits?

Pamela asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

This is not a question- it is more a comment.

Why do various communities have age limits? I am 45 and am having a hard time finding a community that would accept me. I am physically and mentally healthy. So that is not an issue. I keep getting told I am too old. GOD DOESN'T THINK SO. He is after all the one who is calling me.

With the complaint that the Church does not have enough priests, brothers, or sisters today, perhaps these communities should do away with their age limit and trust the Holy Spirit to send who He will.

I am frustrated I have spent the last 3 years writing various places only to get told no. I do not want to give up. HELP....

Dear Pamela,

There are various prudential reasons that lead most religious orders to have age-limits, and it is not just a question of health. By being faithful to their charisms and what the Church approved for them, these religious orders are not going against God, they are following him. Now, this is not of much consolation to you, because you really feel the vocation and you are the one received the negatives.

Continue looking, but also broaden your search and think of other possibilities. There may be the possibility of consecration in a lay context with one of the new movements, or you may want to check out the vocation of a consecrated virgin at the service of your diocese (you’ll find some information on this vocation at www.ordovirginum.org).

God bless.

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