EWTN Catholic Q&A
A widower becoming a religious
Question from Jacques on 10-13-2013:

Let's say an older gentleman's wife dies, leaving him with his five children, of whom the youngest is 9. He always felt that if he were single again, he would choose to become a consecrated religious instead of remarrying. Would a religious order accept him, or does this man have an obligation to care for the children, as there are no other relatives to care for them? Or should he wait until his youngest is old enough to care for himself?

Answer by Catholic Answers on 10-15-2013:


The man has an obligation to care for his children until they are able to be self-sufficient. (There is no set age for when a child is "old enough" to be self-sufficient; a special-needs child, for example, might never be entirely independent.) Once his children are independent, a widower is free to discern a vocation to the religious life.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers