Catholic Religious Orders and Communities

Vocations for Men and Women

This list of Catholic religious orders and religious communities includes traditional and Catholic monastic orders, but also secular institutes and societies of apostolic life. (We have titled it simply "Catholic Religious Orders and Communities" because "Religious Orders" or "Religious Communities" are the most common names used.) This list of religious orders and communities is nowhere near exhaustive. We would like to extend this list to include all communities notable for faithfulness to the magisterium of the Catholic Church and to the charism of their founders. Additions to the list are welcome.

Previously we had a short list of vibrant Catholic religious communities. In the event that it is helpful, we leave it linked from this page.

Books on Religious Orders and Religious Life

Catholic Religious Orders for Women

Catholic Religious Orders for Men

Late or Older Vocations (Some religious communities that accept older men or women--though many communities in fact sometimes make exceptions to a general policy of not accepting older applicants, the communities listed here either have a more general policy of readiness to accept older vocations, or do so more frequently than others.)

Late Vocations for Women

Late Vocations for Men

Traditional Latin Mass Catholic Religious Orders and Communities

Priesthood (Mostly diocesan websites)

Late Vocations to the Priesthood

Links to other directories of Roman Catholic religious orders and communities

Books on Religious Orders and Religious Life

Catholic Religious Orders and Communities for Women

Catholic Religious Orders and Communities for Men

Late Vocations for Women

Late Vocations for Men

Sites on the Priesthood

Directories of Roman Catholic religious orders and communities

  1. 52 and called to priesthood. Need help.978 423 4433

    1. I am aware that mature men have joined the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Dioceses welcome late vocations in many places. Just be careful they do not show animosity towards tradition and is respectful of the Magesterium. By attending a few Masses in their Churches you can observe if they are holy and respectful or if they are the 'do it yourself' performance. No sermons from 'walk about', Holy Communion on the tongue, no women with their nail polish, big smiles etc. - better no women on the altar at all. Avoid the altar girls,,,,priests are happier in the traditional orders....

      1. comment does not read very well....Holy Communion definitely on the tongue. Not given out willy nilly like cookies in the hand....

  2. I am greatly surprised that you do not have many Missionary Communities listed.
    I would appreciate our community:
    Medical Missionaries of Mary
    listed here as well as others.
    Thank you, Sister Madeleine

  3. You might want to add Consecrated Virgins to your list for Women's Vocations. The Rite of Consecration for Women Living in the World is in the Roman Pontifical and this oldest form of consecrated life was restored in May, 1970.

  4. Gravatar

    Akhogba. Magdalene. Annemary.


    I have this strong CALL in me, that God is calling me but i don,t know which congregation to join. But, i am still praying.

  5. The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles should be listed under the Traditional Latin Mass, Female, section. You will see on their web site they have the Extraordinary Form.

  6. I started discerning when I was 50 and had returned to Roman Catholicism after leaving it for Protestantism 25 yrs prior. Vocation director were pretty much diocesan based in thinking, so first thought I couldn't- looked into being a deacon, then sought religious communities. Never knew there any that allowed older men. I am 52 now, and will travel the Globe to offer my life. Bless you all in your search. Thank God for this site. May Christ bless it in every way.

    1. Gravatar

      dennis stephens


      how goes the search

    2. Gravatar

      David Ebrahim


      Try the Augustinians in Vilanova

  7. Iam appreciate with the community of Catholic religions. Iam proud to say thanks

  8. Gravatar

    Colette Duchnowski


    I am almost 54 and looking for a cloistered or contemplative order in the spirit of St. Francis and Sts. Clare and Colette. So many orders have a cut off age and I think that is really not fair. So many older people who have a late life calling are left out of fulfilling what God may have in store for us.

    1. Gravatar

      Ross Joseph Michael


      Collette look up the Brothers Friar Minor,relativly new,they have active sisters and contemplative one's,read the comments of the Father founder on late vocations and older people's entry,really a breath of fresh air .Good luck! Ross

  9. We are receptive to the idea of men (with or without a history of substance abuse) coming here to serve the Lord and their Christian brothers who are hurting. If you have anyone who is interested in religious life or missionary work but isn't Catholic yet, they could come here for the Leadership development phase and complete an Associates Degree, RCIA, etc. during the twenty-four months.

    They would have an opportunity to experience life in an inter-denominational Small Christian Community that has Communal Prayer three times everyday and attends Church services at least six times a week. We pray the Liturgy of the Hours in the Morning and Evening here in this Community. They also would complete the Celebrate Recovery step study which is for all types of hurts, habits and hang-ups (not just substance abuse).

    Please place this ministry on your prayer list everywhere and spread the word about it to anyone who might need the program to fight alcohol and drug abuse.

    Website -

  10. My story is like Greg's, but I am 59. Is there ANYBODY who would accept me? I am in discernment, attend daily Mass, and pray the Divine Office daily...but cannot find anyone willing to accept a man my age. Abraham was 99 when he answered God's call to enter the covenant.

    1. Phil--Have you tried the Trappists of Our Lady of Gesthesmane? Look at their Chronicles.
      The four men currently in temporary vows are surely over 50!
      God bless you!

  11. Gravatar

    Ekweoba michael


    There should be a special provision for those who answered the call of their vocation late.

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    john jerome


    it is good to serve the lord, in a special way like these , may the lord who see in secret reward our religious. Amen

  13. I am 52 years old, writing from Poland. I completed Latin, Greek and English philologies (MA). For many years I have been working as a teacher. I am healthy both physically and mentally. I am looking for a seminary or an active congregation which would like to accept me to study in order to become a priest.

    1. Albert,
      Has anyone responded to your message yet? I know of a couple of options that you might want to try.
      But I don't know what your looking for.

      1. No, nobody has answered my messages.
        I'd like to serve God in an active congregation (or contemplative-active) or to enter a diocesan seminary.

  14. I am 52 living in Toronto with a deep sense of God calling me to the priesthood. Is there hope for me?

  15. Looking for communities in the UK who accept older vocations I am 57 in Sept.Wanting to join as a religious brother

  16. hey brothers, I understandstand your frustration at the cut of ages and agree that it is unfair. It is ageist and discriminatory really and closes the door on grace reflecting an over emphasis on the young to the detriment of the church as a whole. I am 34 yrs of age living in Australia and have been wrestling with a vocation for a long time, I have had many set backs and have been turned away by many groups. I have tried starting studying on my own but have pulled out on 7 occasions, for various reasons but I do not regard myself has stupid as I am quite capable. That said, I feel like the biggest fool and most hopeless of all. Nevertheless I cannot shake the fire within. I really dont know what to do anymore. Priesthood seems like an unattainable dream now. Prayer is all I seem to have.

    Anyways, All the best to you all.

    1. Glen don't give up. If you have a vocation to the priesthood, God will open the door at the right time. Remember things happen in His time. Keep praying and never give up. Join a lay order or become an oblate. Live your live as if you are under priestly vows, such as chastity and mild poverty. Get a spiritual adviser and show obedience to him. It will give you a good shot at practicing humility. Above all keep praying. I am 54 and trying to find a convent. I know your pain. Thanks to God I am going to visit one this next week who is open to my age. I will keep you in my prayers.

      1. Can you give me suggestions about orders that would consider a woman (widow for 4 years) who is in excellent health and can participate actively in the life of a community?

  17. Gravatar

    Okwenna chrysogonus


    I just finished from a minor seminary and I want to further but the congregation I aspire belonging to does not operate in my country(coventual franciscan friairs,OFM. conv)I just dont know what to do,meanwhile I am a nigerian.I need help....

    1. Hope you found a link to OFM Conv. Surely you can connect with their main house. I think they have their English language Provincial Superior in Chicago. Also of course a house in Rome. God Bless your search. Quite a number of young men have joined recently here in Australia. One priest leaving our local parish to continue his Bio Ethics studies elsewhere was a doctor of medicine before becoming a Franciscan. There is always a way....

  18. I am looking for older men,irrespective of age to lead a life of prayer. At present i am following Psalm 118 viz : ' I will praise you seven times a day and I shall get up at night to praise you'.if anyone feel called to follow such a life please let me know.
    May God bless you

    1. I am intrigued by your message, which you posted over a year ago. How far did you get in your project? I find it intriguing (being myself an older man). Thanks. Lucas

  19. Thanks Colette , I am currently doing all those things you've mentioned and most of all striving for complete purity and innocence of life and that elusive humility. Thanks for your encouragement and its my hope and prayer that things go well for you.

  20. Hi Glenn! I am visiting the order I aspire to join. I have come for a week- long visit. By the end of the week I plan on asking to become an affiliate. After six months I would become a postulant. There is hope so do not give up. I pray that you find an accepting order and that God leads you there. Remember, all things are possible with God.

    1. Thats great Colette! really glad things are working out for you and hopefully you go on with it. Things are looking better for me too, I am looking at becoming a monk and will be having an interview in december. So yeah things a good. All the best, let me know how ya go , Cheerio.

    2. hi colette, I hope your visit went really well and you are able to go on. Thanks again for your kind encouragement :)

      1. Hi Glen,

        I did enjoy my visit. Unfortunately, because of my weight issues and current student loan debt, I am unable to continue on with that order. I felt right at home there too. Oh well, God has plans for me and I need to keep seeking them out.

    3. Gravatar

      Leonard anthony


      Did you join the order you visited? Keep me updated. You success we surely be a good motivation to me. Leonard, Nigeria

  21. Why don't you have listed the Sisters of the Order of Saint Anne ?

  22. how does someone get called to a religious it by the persons desire or by any orher means, may be divinely?

  23. wot no marist brothers or fathers....hey hey

  24. I would just like to ask anyone out there to pray for me. I am 18 years old, and feel a strong call in my life. I cannot tell where, or when. I am a freshman in college and cannot decide whether or not I should continue my education, when I feel such a strong call to religious life. Granted, I do not know where He is calling me, and if it is 100 percent supposed to be religious life, but I just do not know. If anyone out there has some kind of advice for me, or just to simply pray for me, I would greatly appreciate it.
    God Bless
    Thank you

    1. Hi Karli,

      I would go and talk to orders you are interested in. Go for a visit as your time and finances allow. I would stay in school, because some orders want you to be educated. Just be careful of student loans. Most orders want you debt free. Do a lot of praying and talk with your parish priest. They are a wealth of information. God bless you as you continue your discernment.

  25. Please add The Piarist Fathers to your list of male religious communities. Founded in 1617, we were the last religious order of men admitted under solemn canonical vows. Our members profess a fourth religious vow to educate youth, especially the poor. Our web site is:

  26. accepts late vocations.

  27. I would like to second about adding Missionary orders as well as encouraging discerners to check out their diocesan vocation office. Added to the missionary list is: Pallottine Missionary Sisters, Florissant, Missouri

  28. Our pastor... born in 1936 (?) in Germany. Took one year to travel when he was 21. Came to Texas to visit, and fell in love with it so he stayed. Fell in love with a lady and was married for 39 years, had 8 children. Became a deacon. Wife passed away in 1996. Entered the seminary at the age of 60, ordained in 2001 at age 64. Celebrated his 10th anniversary in 2011 and still going strong at age 75.

  29. i encouraged young men to join the monastrey,the life is too rewarding and full of God`s graces.

  30. Gravatar

    ogbu onyekachi longinus.


    I pray that the good Lord we serve and worship will help your endevours to come true,if priesthood is your call or desire God will surely favour in the faith with you in ChristJesus,all the best friends.

  31. For older men interested in the priesthood, I think I know of least it is worth checking out.

    theatine Fathers, Denver, Co.

  32. Anyone know of religious orders for women who accept older women? Please e-mail me. thanks

    1. contact novice mistress with the Order of Preachers of the Cross, they accept older vocations and are new

  33. Hi. A very wonderful and very wise nun once said to me that you would rather 'try' a religious/ Priestly vocation however unsure the call, than ignore it and get into situations that would make a religious vocation impossible to follow. Why? Because if God is NOT calling you to a religious life, you can always leave it.
    Having said that, i think we need more people to respond to God's call in this day. The world has forgotten God and totally gone astray. I am a huge advocate of religious communities that wear the habit constantly because it is one powerful way of reminding people that God does exist......and might i add, i am also pro-Traditional Latin Mass. truly is centered on Christ and not the congregation.
    Many blessings to all discerning. Our Heavenly Mother will gladly intercede for you if you ask Her.

  34. another congregation is the congregation of the incarnate word, wouldn't know if they still accept applications at this time. but you can contact their religious house in Philippines: St. Joseph Freinademetz Novitiate House Ann St., Baseview Homes,
    4217 Lipa City, Batangas, Philippine or contact novice master:

    hope this helps...

  35. I am an active 64 year old woman and wonder if there are any Canadian Catholic communities I can explore..

  36. A call to holiness may or may not mean living as priest or nun. Young people need to see people in every walk of life
    - attending daily Mass
    - praying publicly the Rosary (perhaps outside of an abortion clinic, or while standing in line at Walmart or grocery store or pharmacy)
    - carrying the Rosary while walking in the park, speaking about the homily while at dinner in a restaurant; have a weekly bible discussion or discussion of the current week's Mass readings & Psalms at Starbuck's, Denny's, IHOP or favorite restaurant; or just simply pray before and after eating your meal)

    We are all called to preach the good news, that is our first duty and responsibility whether we are priests, religious or laity. If there is not an option to enter a convent or the seminary due to age, perhaps it is possible to work at a seminary, convent, parish or diocese office assisting others to discern their calling or perhaps we are being called to serve the Lord by volunteering at the pregnancy clinic, be a translator at the courthouse or just bring about change in the office (pray the Rosary during lunch hour or go to Mass before heading into work or before heading home for the day or go pray in the chapel instead of going to happy hour and inviting others to pray with you or invite people to attend Mass on Sundays? Since this is the Year of Faith, how about a day of fasting, prayer and reflection before Confession and Mass?

    Many missions are in need of assistance Spiritual directors for men and women are needed, deacons are needed, vocation directors need assistance, parishes and convents need assistance. There are some small religious orders for men and women that do not have the financial resources to advertise so it is important to be creative and diligent in the search. Contact your local Catholic newspaper, check into every order, contact every diocese within 1000 miles of you and ask about every order for men and women. The Knights of Columbus has good references for both men and women. Call every KofC chapter within the same 1000 mile radius and they will probably have some additional information.
    St Paul went out and preached, he did not have an official title. Just because the door to one seminary or convent is closed does not mean it is over. Remember:
    Pray without ceasing.
    Perhaps more prayer is needed.
    It took decades for some Saints and Doctors of the Church to get their answers. Remember patience for God, self and others is the first step to giving and receiving love.

  37. thank you all for your comments
    please pray foor me as i am discerning which way to go:parish priest,religious community(which one) or remain a lay single.
    i am 32 from ivory coast living in london.

  38. I am seeking just a trial run I guess. I want to live apart from the rest of the world flr awhile and listen for the voice of god.

  39. I want to be a priest. I come from papua new guinea. I have been meditating upon thos for five yeas now.

  40. Gravatar

    nathan williams


    I feel for all those who have a late vocation, or have finally summed up the courage to pursue a vocation aged 50 +. It is a great shame that many orders admit only bright young things. And ignore the wisdom of years. Take heart, do not give up. Think about a hermit lifestyle, say the office, find a ministry such as visiting house bound people. Consider starting a new order. For like minded aged Catholics who are essentially living a religeous life. It is my vision to do this in England. Post a comment if this appeals. God bless Nathan.

  41. St. Hilary's memorial day -- Jan. 13, 2014


    Dear Heaven-Seekers,

    I have unsuccessfully searched the web for a comprehensive list of "Catholic Brotherhoods" -- by that I mean any orders, congregations, institutes or communities that are exclusively for brothers (i.e., men who do plan on becoming ordained priests).

    I have been told there are such "brothers only" groups. However, it has been hard for me to locate them in the many online lists of Catholic religious orders I have checked.

    The names on the lists I have seen do not clearly indicate if a particular group is solely for brothers or if the group is meant for both priests and brothers.

    If any one can provide me with a website name (and possibly a URL address) that has a good list of Catholic groups dedicated solely to Brothers, I would be most grateful.

    May Christ's Love & Peace Reign in 2014,

    Adrian Lukas
    Springfield, Virginia, USA

  42. I am a close friend of a very small traditional community of teaching brothers in existence since 1808. They are quiet, humble and hard working. They accept vocations in the age range from 20-40. Regular observance of Liturgy of the Hours. 7820 Bolsa Ave., Midway City, Ca 92655.

  43. The "Franciscan Brothers Minor" in Fort Wayne Indiana follow St. Francis teaching that there is no upper age limit for a religious vocation.

    Web site:

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