"Mature vocations" for men in an Order?
#1
Weird question of the day, but last night after watching Terence Malick's powerful depiction of a Catholic man determined to live out his faith to the end, "A Hidden Life"-- and over Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant--my wife asked me not for the first time: "so, after I die, will you become a priest?" She knows my bent, after three decades-plus and watching me revert. (She called me a "religious dilettante" when I first broached a move back to "Rome" a few years ago. But then right away she asked the same question then.)

Both of us have always been straightforward about death and survival without each other, being now empty-nesters and ponderers...

I told her that I believed that religious Orders (for she correctly intuited that'd be my preference, not as a diocesan clerical aspirant) might accept men up to 45 or maybe 50. I'm now near the upper range of that latter decennial age bracket. But I wondered if a Brother or monk or friar (I am in formation as a Secular Franciscan) might be an option for my "golden years" if this came to pass as a situation I would not want to ever hasten, but would want to consider if it did come to pass....

I'd prefer a TLM community, which I imagine may reduce my theoretical posthumous choices to near zero. Still, forgiving or indulging the odd conversation we had, do any of you have advice as to possibilities, if any? Given curial crackdowns on the few TLM associations plus "mature vocation" limits now the norm, the medievalist in me wonders (if I could free myself of debt in a widower's happy future), what about the practice of retiring to a religious community, such as men and women both once practiced? Can any of you weigh in on this admittedly off-beat query?
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#2
It's not out of the question.

I know a priest ordained for a TLM group who tried various religious order back in the 1950s and 1960s, but left because of the mess after the council. He never married and then eventually found Tradition.

He was turned down from several groups, but eventually went at age 54 into the seminary and was ordained at age 60.

It's not impossible, but most orders must give exceptions to their rules for this and such things will only be given after a significant probation with good priests to test to see if there are real signs of a vocation and not simply the pious sentiments of a good man.

As regards a religious vocation, not an ecclesiastical, that would be much more easily done, but again, some serious discernment would be needed.
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#3
Why not become a Benedictine oblate now, or a Lay Carmelite, or a Lay Dominican, or something else of that sort, both for the benefits now and to lay the groundwork for something in the future?

Wouldn't it be a more plausible transition, if you already have a community with which you are engaged and whose spiritual life you practice according to your current state?
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#4
(12-26-2019, 11:15 PM)Cyriacus Wrote: Why not become a Benedictine oblate now, or a Lay Carmelite, or a Lay Dominican, or something else of that sort, both for the benefits now and to lay the groundwork for something in the future?

Wouldn't it be a more plausible transition, if you already have a community with which you are engaged and whose spiritual life you practice according to your current state?

Oblation and Third Order membership is not really intended as a stepping-stone to a second- or first-order membership, nor to the priesthood.

These are meant to have their own rules, probabatory periods, and meant to have one be settled in a state in life before entering. At least Traditionally that was the case, especially because they usually imposed a rule of life on the married which both had to agree to follow.

If the OP is interested in a better rule of life towards perfection, such an inquiry might be fruitful, but not as a stepping stone to another vocation, but rather as a kind of vocation in itself.
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#5
(12-26-2019, 11:15 PM)Cyriacus Wrote: Why not become a Benedictine oblate now, or a Lay Carmelite, or a Lay Dominican, or something else of that sort, both for the benefits now and to lay the groundwork for something in the future?

Wouldn't it be a more plausible transition, if you already have a community with which you are engaged and whose spiritual life you practice according to your current state?

He pointed out that he is in formation as a Secular Franciscan, but that wasn't his question.
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#6
During this Ignatian retreat father told the story about a man who had lost his wife after some children and many years of marriage. With the children, then adults and some even ordained, he decided to prepare himself for his death, so he joined the SSPX Argentinian seminary as a brother.
Turns out that he's preparing himself for 30 or so years, and some of his grandsons are now priests.
Beautiful story, yet I don't know it's probability outside traditional circles.

There's also the story of S. Francis Borgia, but since we no longer live in the glorious days of the Counter-Reformation...
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#7
(12-27-2019, 02:16 PM)Ioannes_L Wrote: During this Ignatian retreat father told the story about a man who had lost his wife after some children and many years of marriage. With the children, then adults and some even ordained, he decided to prepare himself for his death, so he joined the SSPX Argentinian seminary as a brother.
Great to hear! As to earlier respondents, the Franciscans do not accept "mature" vocations to their First Order congregations after 45; I looked up the websites of more traditional communities and found what I expected: upper age range of no more than 30 for ICK, 35 for Canons Regular of St John Cantius, FSSP and Clear Creek Benedictines in Oklahoma. I could not "discern," as an aside, from the U.S. SSPX their age range, but I'd have assumed it's similar, so this possible exception is encouraging. The only group I have ever heard of that does not discourage are among nascent Franciscan Friars in Fort Wayne, but I am unsure if they are still stable given the papal crackdown on their "cousin" Friars of the Immaculate. Does not look as if Orders are keen, and I know many dioceses, despite shortages, do not encourage "mature" male applicants. I record these data for anyone who may surf in from the web and stumble on this, as websites I consulted on this question appear to have "died out" or have a lot of discarded URLs, not a good sign.

(As for women, it looks as if a few Carmelite or Benedictine convents are open to the possibility but I find it discouraging that male communities do not appear to want to extend that venerable practice of accepting men "of a certain age." Insurance risks, maybe?)
The deeds you do may be the only sermon some people may hear today (Francis of Assisi); Win an argument, lose a soul (Fulton Sheen)
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#8
There's also the case of one of the Oblate Sisters of the SSPX whose grandson is an SSPX priest (and was her superior for a time) and who also has some other grandchildren with vocations. She was widowed and then decided to join the Oblates.

I recall the story also of Fr Vincente Melillo who was ordained in 1966 at age 83 by the Bishop of Piracicaba. That bishop happened to be his own son, Msgr Angier Melillo.

Fr Vincente was an active man who was highly involved in various charitible works (including an orphanage, retirement home, the St Vincent de Paul Society) and was widowed. He complained to his archbishop (not his son who was bishop of a neighboring diocese), that there was no resident priest at their local parish, and the Cardinal Archbishop, perhaps in a bit of frustration, said he had no priests to send and asked Vincente if he wanted to be that priests. He said yes, and thus, after obtaining the necessary dispensations, he was ordained to the priesthood in a somewhat rushed manner and then lived another 3 years, taking care of the parish, receiving Last Rites from his son, and dying just before having to say the New Mass on the Feast of St Thérèse, 3 October, 1969.
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#9
(12-27-2019, 05:05 PM)Fionnchu Wrote:
(12-27-2019, 02:16 PM)Ioannes_L Wrote: During this Ignatian retreat father told the story about a man who had lost his wife after some children and many years of marriage. With the children, then adults and some even ordained, he decided to prepare himself for his death, so he joined the SSPX Argentinian seminary as a brother.
Great to hear! As to earlier respondents, the Franciscans do not accept "mature" vocations to their First Order congregations after 45; I looked up the websites of more traditional communities and found what I expected: upper age range of no more than 30 for ICK, 35 for Canons Regular of St John Cantius, FSSP and Clear Creek Benedictines in Oklahoma. I could not "discern," as an aside, from the U.S. SSPX their age range, but I'd have assumed it's similar, so this possible exception is encouraging. The only group I have ever heard of that does not discourage are among nascent Franciscan Friars in Fort Wayne, but I am unsure if they are still stable given the papal crackdown on their "cousin" Friars of the Immaculate. Does not look as if Orders are keen, and I know many dioceses, despite shortages, do not encourage "mature" male applicants. I record these data for anyone who may surf in from the web and stumble on this, as websites I consulted on this question appear to have "died out" or have a lot of discarded URLs, not a good sign.

(As for women, it looks as if a few Carmelite or Benedictine convents are open to the possibility but I find it discouraging that male communities do not appear to want to extend that venerable practice of accepting men "of a certain age." Insurance risks, maybe?)

The SSPX age is 35 to enter the seminary, but exceptions have been made, and not infrequently. I know of at least a half-dozen exceptions including the case I mentioned earlier. 

As far as the Brothers, I don't think there is an upper range, but if there is, exceptions are granted. I also know of several men who were in the 40s and 50s who entered the SSPX Brothers.
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