Saturday, May 31, 2008

The religious life

For a while now, I've been toying with the question of whether I might be called to the religious life. I'm nowhere near the same stage of self-understanding on that score as I am with regard to the priesthood (where I'm convinced myself and am working to convince others and the Church at large). I go back and forth on it quite a bit. My involvement as an *Associate of Holy Cross began on the premise that I wanted to test such a vocation, and assumed that I would either conclude I was so called, or else wish to be a friend of the religious life.

These are the communities I'm investigating.

Christian Communities
*Oratory of the Good Shepherd
*Brotherhood of Saint Gregory (which one interlocutor dismissed as "religious life lite for slutty gay men." "Where do I sign up?" was my retort.)

Religious Orders
*Holy Cross Monastery (Order of the Holy Cross - West Park, NY)
*Julian House Monastery (Order of Julian of Norwich - Waukesha, WI) (But their Rule scares the shit out of me.)
*St Gregory's Abbey (Order of St Benedict - Three Rivers, MI)
*Society of St John the Evangelist (Boston, MA)
*St Joseph's Priory (Order of St Augustine - Springfield, NS)


Andrew said...

The Oratory of the Good Shepherd would be good, especially if you were to become a priest. I used to be a Companion of it, but came to the conclusion that life as a fully professed layman would be too difficult.

Why does the rule of this Julian community scare the shit out of you? I shall check them out; have never heard of them (I'm in England). Nor had I heard of the BSG until I read your posts on SoF.

Andrew said...

Ah, having looked at their website, now I see. Contemplative, eh? SCARY, I agree. A bit like

here in England.

Geoff said...

It was just the tone and some of the nuances of the Rule that freaked me out. Things like: any gift received by a member of the community is to be enjoyed by everyone before being handed over to the individual's private use (which I realize is very classically Benedictine). And there were great stretches about how to avoid the presence of anyone to whom one is sexually attracted. It was all just a little...intense.

Davis said...

It's far from an easy decision. But the community at Three Rivers is a good one. Such a life can be extraordinary lonely and the demands of obedience and living in community are not to be dismissed lightly.

The tendency - I speak from experience - to view the monastic life though a romantic lens - is something you must guard against.

Tay Moss said...

Geoff, it's not uncommon for wannabe-monks to do a kind of Grand Tour of monastic communities to get a sense of where one fits. Also, I certainly know people that felt a strong call to monastic life long before they were old enough to join up. Robert Sevensky, OHC, has amusing stories about praying with a Breviary as a child. Everybody thought he was nuts, I'm sure. -t

Patrick Cook said...

The first Anglican friar I met was from the Brotherhood of St. Gregory. And, yes, he was gay. If I joined an order it would probably be the BSG, although I might join the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) if it ever gets approved by the House of Bishops. There's an Old Catholic Jesuit Order, btw. Since they're in full Communion it might be worth looking at.