->'''Father Ted Crilly''': That would be quite common you know. The favourite son would become a doctor and then the idiot brother would be sent off to the priesthood.
->'''Father Dougal Maguire''': Your brother's a doctor, isn't he?
->'''Father Ted''': Yes he is.
-->-- '''Series/FatherTed'''

A trope often found in a StandardRoyalCourt: When someone in power (e.g. the monarch) wants a person (e.g. an heir, a spouse, or a favorite) removed from public sight but are unwilling to kill them (e.g. because of RoyalBlood, or because they actually just want to protect them), they will make them [[TakingTheVeil take the vows at a remote monastery/nunnery]]. This way, the newly-made monk/nun will be [[InItForLife permanently]] restricted in movement and any voluntary or assisted attempt to return to secular life will be considered a sacrilege. Also, celibacy means they won't have children.

In a less permanent variation, convents of nuns are also a popular choice for wealthy families to place their daughters in until they marry: they'll have a strict upbringing, education, and more or less guaranteed virginity. Bonus points for not needing to provide the kid with class-relevant and expensive dresses while she is kept there.[[note]]An example of a guest resident of a convent is Ximena in ''Film/ElCid''.[[/note]] Such women might be forced to [[TakingTheVeil Take The Veil]], usually if they had a substantial inheritance coming and the family wanted to keep control of it.

As the RealLife section shows this was very much TruthInTelevision for European (and especially Greek/Eastern Roman) royalty during the MiddleAges, where deposed or abdicated rulers and other undesirable claimants were often permitted to retire to a monastery (willingly or less so) as an alternative to killing them.

SubTrope of TheExile, ReassignedToAntarctica, and KickedUpstairs (in the sense that the failed courtier of earthly monarchs is now serving the [[{{God}} Lord of Heaven]]). Related to ManInTheIronMask. Not GetTheeToANunnery, where it appears that someone is threatening a woman with this but it is actually a DoubleEntendre.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Exploited in ''Anime/RomeoXJuliet'', where [[spoiler:Romeo's mother Lady Portia Montague]] ''willingly'' locks herself into a convent [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere to dis-associate herself]] from her husband [[spoiler:after he wipes out the whole Capulet clan]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/BorgiaPowerAndIncest'' does the safekeeping variation to Lucrezia. She's fetched back for her marriage: "''Miss Lucrezia, I left a little girl here and in her place I find a beautiful young woman...''"

* ''Film/SisterAct'' is a version with a modern theme. After witnessing a murder committed by her mobster ex-boyfriend, Dolores is sent to a convent where she poses as a nun as part of a witness protection program.

* In the ''Literature/ArciaChronicles'', Charles Tagere wanted to do this to his hunchback son Alexander but died before Alexander came of age. Charles' heir then overruled his father's decision and made Alexander a general. Also, this trope always [[GoneHorriblyWrong goes horribly wrong]] with women who are sent to become nuns of the Cialinan Order: the Order is, in fact, an AncientConspiracy of power-hungry witches.
* This happens to Amena, Count D'Elmont's first "love" in ''Love in Excess''.
* Happens to one of the corrupt Arendish somethings in one of the Literature/{{Belgariad}}/Malloreon/whatever prequel novels.
* ''Literature/TheElenium'':
** This was the punishment of Arissa, the ''very'' wanton sister of the previous king. She was sent to a convent because she couldn't be executed, and made life miserable for everyone there. This ended up backfiring on the main characters. The convent was lightly defended and the nuns were massacred when Arissa's accomplices sprung her.
** A minor character (a Pelosian noble) ships his son off to a monastery (with the threat of [[TakingTheVeil forcing him to take vows and turning the inheritance over to a cousin]]) after the son tries bullying a party of Church Knights. He also announces that he'll be sending his wife to a convent, since it was her spoiling of her only child that produced a son who would try to bully Church Knights.
* The Highborn in ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'' sends those who are too obviously Shanir (i.e. weird) to the Priest's College and out of the way.
* Angelina Dorma is sent to a nunnery in the end of ''Literature/TheShadowOfTheLion''.
* Eventually happens to Maria Clara on ''Literature/NoliMeTangere''.
* A rather long subplot in ''Literature/TheForestOfHandsAndTeeth'' focuses on the protagonist joining the Sisterhood because she has no other options in her outrageously strict society, although she desperately does not want this. Subverted because, like everything else in the novel, it goes horribly awry.
* In the original Hans Christian Andersen version of ''Literature/TheLittleMermaid'', the prince falls in love with a young woman from the local nunnery who finds him shortly after the mermaid pulls him from the water. Resigned to never being with her, the prince considers marrying the mermaid, when it is revealed the young woman was never a nun, but a princess being educated there. (And in some versions, she was his arranged fiancée as well.) They marry and live happily ever after. The mermaid...[[BittersweetEnding not so much]].
* In ''Literature/{{Sharpe}}'s Honour'', la Marquesa de Casares el Grande gets confined in a convent so she can't contradict the faked evidence that's supposed to convict Sharpe for murder.
* This is common as both a threat and an actual practice in the ''Literature/{{Videssos}}'' books. Not surprising as the Empire of Videssos is the Byzantine Empire with magic. People who just need to be out of the public eye can get exiled to a monastery in the capital, but the people who need to be ReassignedToAntarctica get sent to a monastery in Prista, on the border with the Pardrayan steppes.
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', The Night's Watch is frequently used for this purpose. While it's a military order, its [[ReassignedToAntarctica location on the edge of civilization in the frozen North]] and the vows of chastity and non-inheritance its brothers take mean that anyone sent there is rendered fairly harmless. Two examples stand out:
** [[TheUnfavourite Sam Tarly]], in particular, was ordered by his father to join the Watch so that his much younger brother could become the heir in his stead. The possibility of his joining religious or scholarly orders was raised, but brusquely dismissed by the [[ARealManIsAKiller extremely militant father]].
** Aemon Targaryen does this twice over, first by joining the Maesters who give up all claim to their family name (at the time, he was far down the line of succession), then being assigned to the Night's Watch. However after his father's death he was offered the opportunity to leave the Maesters, the High Septon offering to absolve him... but he turned it down so his younger brother Aegon could become King. Aemon then joined the Night's Watch so he couldn't be used to oppose his brother.
* This is how [[spoiler: Fernanda Buendia del Carpio]] deals with [[spoiler: her daughter Meme]] in ''Literature/OneHundredYearsOfSolitude'', after [[spoiler: she has Meme's secret boyfriend Mauricio gunned down when he was sneaking into their home.]]
* Variation in Creator/SidneySheldon's ''The Other Side of Midnight'', in that it's the result of a coincidence: [[spoiler: Catherine, fleeing her would-be murderers, is rescued by nuns but is now amnesiac]]. It turns out that this particular order of nuns is supported by [[spoiler: Constantin, who knows her but lets her be -- so the world will think she ''was'' murdered and he can get revenge on the would-be culprits for his own reasons]].
* The [[RegentForLife corrupt regents]] in the ''[[Literature/{{Deryni}} Heirs of Saint Camber]]'' trilogy do their best to push Javan into taking vows so they can name the younger and more malleable Rhys Michael as Alroy's heir. It doesn't work, [[spoiler:so they murder him a year into his reign so that Rhys Michael ends up on the throne anyway]].

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/DegrassiTheNextGeneration'' two-parter "Accidents Will Happen," Manny (a Filipino-Canadian) is terrified of telling her parents about her pregnancy, because she doesn't want to end up like her cousin back in the Philippines who got sent to a convent.
* In ''Series/PushingDaisies'', Aunt Lily sends Olive to a nunnery to protect the secret she accidentally blabbed, although that lasts for a very short time. And Aunt Lily knew about the nunnery because she was sent there herself as a youth to [[MySecretPregnancy hide a pregnancy]].
* The ''Series/{{Cadfael}}'' series uses this at least once or twice. In one episode, "The Devil's Novice," the main suspect in a murder is sent to live in Brother Cadfael's monastery, because the clergy are not subject to secular law.
* In ''Series/TheNanny'' episode, "The Kibbutz", Maxwell considers sending Maggie to a Swiss convent over the winter break to stop her from spending the entire break making out with her boyfriend.
* In ''Series/{{Salamander}}'', former cop Carl Cassimon resigns from the force after killing a man in a bungled operation. He is also suffering guilt over an affair with his best friend's wife. He elects to lock ''himself'' away in a monastery to work out his guilt (he doesn't actually take any monastic vows). Although this is, admittedly, in UsefulNotes/{{Belgium}}. Where monks brew (and drink) seriously good beer, and the monastery is equipped with other aids to spiritual contemplation such as a snooker table and Internet-capable computers.
* In ''Series/TheTudors'' this is put forward as an option for Queen Catherine of Aragon, as it was in real life. Obviously, she doesn't take it.
* ''Series/{{Attila}}'': After Honoria conspires to usurp her brother Valentinian as ruler of Rome, he sends her away to a puritanical Christian convent in the Eastern Roman Empire. She tries to get out of there by promising Attila half the Roman Empire as dowry if he marries her, which is just the [[PretextForWar pretext]] that he had been waiting for.

* Mentioned in Shakespeare's ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'': When Hero has been [[spoiler:falsely]] denounced as unfaithful, the priest's Plan B is to quietly ship her off to a nunnery where she can live out the rest of her days in anonymity.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series, Asari with the Ardat-Yakshi genetic defect are given a choice between isolation in a monastery or execution. The Ardat-Yakshi are effectively [[HornyDevils succubi]] and their condition causes them to [[OutWithABang kill people by mating with them]]; the rationale is that because the effects are addictive, they cannot be trusted to naturally abstain from sex/murder if allowed amongst the general populace. We meet three full-fledged Ardat-Yakshi during the course of the game (codex entries suggest that there is actually a "spectrum"). The first one fled when presented with the option of going to the monastery and has become an opportunistic, sociopathic SerialKiller and a walking argument for their seclusion. The other two agreed to the monastic seclusion are perfectly normal, moral people. There are references to some of the Ardat-Yakshi imprisoned alongside them being allowed supervised reintegration into asari society because they proved during their isolation that they have both the desire and the willpower to do so.
* This can happen in ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings''. [[PutOnABus It's treated just]] [[BusCrash like death in the first game.]] This trope makes a return in the second game's '"Sons of Abraham"' expansion - however, this time the characters remain in your court and may serve as advisers and chaplains, while disinheriting inconvenient dynastic members from the line of succession. [[SuccessionCrisis Doesn't stop factions from trying to install them into power, though.]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'': Princess Ovelia spent her childhood being brought up in a monastery before the [[SuccessionCrisis plot]] started. [[spoiler:Or at least, that's the "official" story. The truth is, the real princess died at a very young age, so the royal family picked an orphan around the same age to pass off as the princess.]]
* In the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' series:
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', Alistair, a bastard son of [[spoiler:King Maric]], was sent away to a monastery at age 10 for safekeeping. He trained for the TheOrder of [[ChurchMilitant Templars]], but joined the Grey Wardens before taking the vows.
** Sebastian, third prince of Starkhaven in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', was given to the priesthood in his late teens for being a complete [[TheHedonist embarrassment]] to his family. Unusually for this trope, he grew to like his new state and matured rapidly into one of the most reasonable party members.

* In ''{{Webcomic/Blindsprings}}'', the AltText of [[http://www.blindsprings.com/comic/blindsprings-page-two-hundred-and-forty-five this comic]] describes Princess Tamaura as having lived in one prior to being made priestess in place of her sister Aliana, something that earned Aliana's ire. It's also been strongly implied that Tammy is actually a HeroicBastard who was born out of wedlock, suggesting this was another reason she was sent away.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Subversion: [[UsefulNotes/LEtatCestMoi Louis VII]] was sent to a monastery for safekeeping until the intended heir died, and he had to brought back.
* Was popular in Russia during multiple coups, mostly as a way to dispose queens.
* A common way for a Byzantine emperor who could see the end coming to depart [[EyeScream with his eyes intact]] [[note]]All Byzantine emperors must be "physically unblemished", so a common way to take a throne claimant permanently out of the running is to mutilate his face. Nose-slitting was the preferred method until Justinian II (nickname: Rhinotmetos, "the slit-nosed") managed to reclaim the throne ''sans nez''. To get around the technical requirements, he wore a prosthetic nose made of solid gold. At which point, a more ''debilitating'' method, eye-gouging, was employed.[[/note]] was to abdicate and join a monastery, knowing that the monastery is where he would end up anyway.
* The [[UsefulNotes/LEtatCestMoi Carolingian Pepin the Short]], upon seizing the throne of the Frankish Empire, promptly sent his Merovingian predecessor Childeric III and his son Theuderic to a monastery, to get rid of any potential rival claimants. The fact that the supposedly less-civilized Franks used this expedient--rather than the aforementioned Byzantine (and supposedly more Christian) eye-removal--to get rid of rivals to the throne has not been lost on historians, although exile to monasteries was a common treatment for political enemies under the Byzantines as well said enemies tended to die of undisclosed causes a short while later.
* Henry Benedict Stuart, the younger brother of "Bonnie Prince Charlie" (who would have been the heir to the Jacobite claim on the throne of Britain and Ireland, as Charlie had no legitimate children) monasticised himself as an official declaration that he [[KnowWhenToFoldEm knew when to fold em]]. Henry went on to become an extremely high-ranking and influential Vatican official, and to this day remains one of - if not the longest serving Cardinal in the history of the Catholic Church.
* In a slight variation, Richard I of England forced his illegitimate half-brother Geoffrey [[note]] Not to be confused with his other, legitimate, and by this stage dead brother also called Geoffrey. [[/note]] to become Archbishop of York in order to remove him as a potential rival. He then appointed a number of Geoffrey's personal enemies to important posts in the Diocese of York, thus making it impossible for the Archbishop to get anything done without having a major fight on his hands. Chroniclers at the time were divided as to whether this was a calculated political move or just Richard being a spiteful jerk (although a bastard, Geoffrey was the only one of Henry II's sons to be present at his death bed, and remained loyal to him while Richard sided with Philip II of France).
* There are multiple subversions from Japanese history (most notably in the years 1086 to 1185) where emperors abdicated to join a (Buddhist) monastery. This was a political machination generally intended to keep power for ''themselves'', acting behind the scenes. At the time, the emperor was required to participate in so many rituals of state and religion that he literally has no time to do anything else except eat and sleep--abdication was the option if the emperor actually wants to get some concrete political work done.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongkut#Monastic_Life_and_Thammayut_sect King Mongkut of Thailand.]] This is an unusual example in two ways. First, he was a monk ''before'' being king, not after. Second, he'd actually joined the monastery of his own free will - it was, and is, a tradition in Thailand that young men should spend a few months living as monks before taking up their careers. However, while he was in his "temporary" stay at the monastery, his father died and, though he was rightful heir, the nobility put a puppet king on the throne instead. Mongkut spent the next three decades living as a monk before the other king died and he finally ascended to the throne.
* An intentional case: Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor abdicated and retired to a monastery, leaving half of his empire to his son Philip and the other half to his brother Ferdinand.
* A now-debunked UsefulNotes/ConspiracyTheory claimed that Russian President UsefulNotes/VladimirPutin did this to his former wife Lyudmila while they were estranged, used to explain the lack of attention to her by the Russian media. (Seeing as it's rare for ''any'' Russian First Ladies to appear in public, this was likely just a fallacy started by one of his detractors.)
* An old [[UrbanLegends urban legend]] in [[UsefulNotes/NewOrleans New Orleans, Louisiana]] goes that the attic of the Old Ursuline Convent in the French Quarter was used to store coffins containing [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampires.]] This example also takes the trope title a bit ''too'' literally, as it's also said that the convent's attic entrance and windows are sealed off with thousands of "blessed" brass screws.
* This is an actual punishment in Catholicism. A priest who has committed a particularly grave sin (e.g. desecration of the Eucharist or breaking the Seal of Confession) can be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a contemplative monastery as a condition of having his excommunication lifted and receiving absolution.
* Creator/JulieDAubigny had an affair with a young woman whose parents responded to the scandal by sending their daughter to a convent. Julie, in one of her most famous stunts, responded to this by sneaking in to see the girl, and then [[FakingTheDead putting the body of a dead nun in the girl's bed]], sneaking out, and ''[[RefugeInAudacity burning the place down]]'' to cover their tracks.