Can widowed or divorced people enter religious life?

A widowed person can, of course, enter religious life, all else being equal (i.e. that there are no other impediments present, such as having responsibility for the rearing of children). Just as a widowed person is free to marry, so he or she is free to commit to religious life.

A divorced person is not free to enter religious life. See Code of Canon Law, Can. 721, 3.  A divorced person is still married in the eyes of the Church unless he or she has received an annulment, in which case the person is free to remarry or enter religious life.

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