It is a fact of life: we don’t stay “young” forever. If we are blessed enough to live a long life, we will inevitably find ourselves having less energy, unable to do the things we once could, and needing more help. For many of us, this is accompanied by more free time with family and friends, a time that we can rightly call our “golden years.”
But what about for friars who are so defined by our work and have chosen not to build families of our own? What happens to these men who grow old and infirm without a wife, children, or grandchildren by their side?
This was a major question I had in my discernment, one that almost prevented me from entering. Would I be lonely? I wondered.
Visiting one of our retirement houses this week, I was reminded of that old fear and how I overcame it. I was reminded of the great treasure that these men are to our order.
If you or someone you know is considering religious life and is worried about this issue, I pray that my experience may help. I cannot think of a more meaningful thing to do with one’s life, and I know that while I may never have the comfort of a wife and kids, I will always have this life to live and the brothers by my side to live it with me.