Hi, John —
Thanks for the question and sorry
it took awhile to get back to you.
To my knowledge, until
you take vows with any religious
order you are under no obligation.
I think there are two types of vows,
one being solemn or life-long.
Within the Benedictine order, and
other Catholic religious orders,
if you are a candidate,
you are just testing the waters to
see if you can make a life-long commitment
as a Catholic religious.
It's a period of discernment for
you and for the order you will be
joining. There is a key family element
involved here. That said if, over time, you discern that this is not your vocational calling you should not equate this discernment with any feelings with sinning in any way. Rather just continue to pray, live the sacramental life, and ask the Lord to show you what your vocation is.
Catholic religious take three vows:
- chastity, and
If you are only a candidate, you
are under none of these obligations, though you should have the willingness
and capability to take these vows
to the best of your ability, if you
indeed feel called to the religious
I would highly suggest you talk to
the vocation's director or abbot
at the religious order for which
you are considering joining.
be able to best advise you.
Hope this helps,