Can I have a job if I join a religious community?

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When you join a religious order, you make a life commitment to become part of a community. That means that the mission and life of the community become your primary way of living for and with God. What you actually do (your job, or ministry, or career) is “filtered” through this life commitment, just as when you marry, your significant decisions (and even insignificant ones!) are considered with your spouse and in light of your relationship.

So when thinking about what you might do as a religious priest, sister, nun, or brother, you must take into consideration not only your own gifts, talents, and passion but also what is good for your community. You need input from other members of the community to get a sense of the common good and how a job possibility or career path might further the community’s mission. In doing this kind of discernment (both personal and communal) you are also tending to what is good for you, too.

That’s the long way of saying that if you are looking into an active community, then yes, you can have a job or career. If you are looking into a contemplative community, then your primary ministry is going to be prayer.

Reprinted with permission from ©TrueQuest Communications.

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