Vocations to the Religious Life

Those joining a religious order will be following in the footsteps of men and women who have dedicated their life to following Christ in a life shaped by their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, whilst guided by the charisms of their particular religious order.

The range of religious communities is substantial and beyond the scope of this site to cover. Those considering a vocation to a religious order will not only turn to God in prayer to grant them guidance on whether to pursue this vocation, but also for which order they should belong to. Because of the significance of the charism in the life of each particular order, it would normally be advisable that someone considering joining an order should approach a community so that a member of it can provide assistance during the process of discernment. Should a decision be arrived at to begin formal study and discernment that could lead to vows then formation is typically conducted under the guidance of that religious order.


The diocese is blessed to have a number of religious communities present within it. Their service to the diocese in prayer and active involvement in the community is an invaluable source of life and grace which is of great benefit to the diocese. A listing of religious communities in the diocese is given in the 'Religious Orders and Communities' section found under the 'Information' tab. This includes details of how to contact the order should one wish to have further information about vocations with them. There are of course many other religious orders in the church that do not have a presence within this diocese but are found in other ones within the UK. An approach to one of these communities will enable an enquirer to get further guidance on vocations with them. Sr Susan Richert PBVM, the Bishop's Vicar for Religious, may also be able to give assistance in contacting religious orders to those who are interested in vocations to the religious life (religious@nrcdt.org.uk).

When considering reading material about the religious life, often a good source is material recommended by the order that you may be considering joining, particularly items about the founder as that will give an indication of the charism that will motivate them. Other books related to the vocation to the religious life that may be helpful to read are:

Religious Vocation: An Unnecessary Mystery, by Fr Richard Butler OP, originally published 1960, reprinted by Tan Books & Publishers in 2005; ISBN 0895558238

In Good Company: The Fast Track from the Corporate World to Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, by Fr James Martin SJ, originally published in 2000, reprinted by Sheed & Ward in 2010; ISBN 1580512364