Thursday, November 16, 2006

First vows of Sr Jacinta and Sr Miriam CFR

I found this video very moving. The joy on their faces is incredible. I think we really need to do a whole lot more to promote female vocations to religious life. One of England's many eccentricities is that we have more male vocations to priesthood or religious life than women joining religious orders. I had the great privilege of being taught at school by a religious sister (who even wore a habit!) and who first inspired me to consider a vocation to Priesthood. Now, however, it is increasingly rare to find religious sisters in schools, and I think this will have a major impact on the Church in this country. I see signs of hope in the foundation of new Communities, such as that of Our Lady of Walsingham but I think we as Catholics need to do much more.

Admittedly, some of the religious orders actively discourage vocations, and others consist mainly of elderly sisters, which is discouraging for younger women. I would love to have a religious sister come in with me when I speak about vocations in schools, but I haven't yet found one who would be willing to do so.

Nonetheless, I believe that the failure to foster female vocations is a failure not just on the part of some religious orders, but on the part of the Church as a whole. I do know a number of women who are seriously discerning a vocation to religious life, but who are often discouraged by people's reactions. When I told people that I was discerning a vocation to priesthood, the reaction was generally positive. One of my friends who is considering a vocation as a religious, told me that the reaction from her friends, even those who are committed Catholics, was generally quite negative. I think we have lost to a great extent an understanding of the beauty and importance of the vocation of religious women. We often pray for and preach about vocations to priesthood, but seem to see female vocations as some kind of "optional extra". If we don't have priests, we don't have Mass, but if we don't have Sisters, that's not really a problem...

We need to wake up to the critical role of women religious and start talking and praying about it - now!


Fr. Peter said...

I think it all started when they took off their habbits. If they looked like nuns then more people would know what they do. Right now the question is always asked, what do they do?

catholicandgop said...

My school is run by a liberal order of sisters that don't wear habits. Usually I just take a guess at who the sisters are, and you can usually tell because they're older ladies who wear a cross but you never really know for sure - actually there is a priest on campus too and for the first 3 years I was here I didn't know he was a priest, it wasn't until I went to a ceremony and he was wearing a collar that I found out he was a priest.

I don't wish to be mean to the sisters, because they are such nice ladies, but their order seems to be populated with older ladies, and I don't think they are attracting any younger women to being a sister. I suppose they think by supporting unorthodox beliefs (ex. women priests) and by not wearing a habit that they are being open to the future and liberal, but it doesn't seem to be doing much for recruitment. :\

I know I'm not called to be a sister, but from what I've seen here there isn't anything that they seem to be doing that anyone who isn't a religious couldn't do.

From time to time elsewhere I see sisters in habits, and its such a wonderful thing to see. Its like seeing priest with a collar, something about it in the every day mix of life sort of reminds you to take a moment and think of God. It something I think people like to see because it means something.

I guess I'm just babbling on now.

Carolina Cannonball said...

I always enjoy "wedding" videos. They joy on those ladies faces radiated from within.

Yes, I agree with all... the loss of the habit.

Augustinus said...

These Sisters (and the Fathers and Brothers) of Francisacn Renewal are wonderful. The joy on their faces is palpable.

I was speaking to a couple of Dominican sisters recently - full habit, teaching order, steady stream of good vocations. Without being polemical, one of them said that one reason why they have never lost out on vocations is because in the 60s and 70s they "continued to follow our charism and did not seek external changes" - unlike some other orders. Speaks volumes. The joy on these sisters' faces, too, radiated the love of Christ - rather than the worry of taking big decisions like which ear-rings to put into their pierced ears, or which designer outfit to wear, or what style their hair should be this week.

I'm convinced that there is a slow change towards the new springtime which Pope John Paul II spoke of - we just need to be patient but take hope in the positive changes we do see in the new vocations which come from our young people.

Orthfully Catholic said...

Amen! There is much beauty coming from Vatican II which is what the Fathers intended.

Anonymous said...

I just returned from a vocations retreat with the Sisters of Life in New York. There were about twenty-five inquirers there. What a beautiful order. It's no surprise that orders such as the Sisters of Life, the Nashville Dominicans, the Franciscans of the Renewal, the Dominican Daughters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, etc. . . are thriving. What do they all have in common? Love of Christ, fidelity to the magisterium and love of the Holy Father, the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin at the heart of their spirituality, a proper understanding of the role of religious life in the Church, and an understanding of religious consecration as spousal union with Christ. . . and it is no surprise that many of the women joining these orders belong to the "JPII generation."

Orthfully Catholic said...

Amen! God bless.