From the Guadalupe Province Vocation Promotion Team
At the end of a decade of steady entrances to religious communities, the NRVC has released its 2020 Study of Recent Vocations to Religious Life. This study comes 11 years after the first study completed in 2009. This latest research provides information on those men and women who entered religious life from 2013 – 2018. The NRVC states that “they are mindful no study can point to just one reason why a person responds to God’s call to enter a community.” There is a mystery in the call and an unpredictability in the response. The grace of perseverance is the essence of religious life with both our oldest and newest members serving as influential role models of courage, compassion and competence. In this week’s edition and in the upcoming weeks we will share some of the findings of the study.
Religious life in the U.S. today
Over 700 diverse religious institutes exist in the United States. They vary in spirituality, charism, and mission as well as size, composition, and presence of new members. The diversity of sisters, brothers, and priests is one of the hallmarks of religious life today.
On average, roughly 200 people a year take final vows, and around 400 to 500 begin the process of formation.
Many newer members see community life as what is distinctive and most attractive about religious life. What incoming members seek in community life is praying together, celebrating holidays and feasts together, living with other members and sharing meals together.
Additionally, living at or near a ministry site and living simply, in solidarity with the poor and marginalized is ranked “somewhat” to “very” important. The younger a respondent is, the more likely he or she is to prefer to live in a larger community, especially one with at least eight members. This is consistent with findings from the 2009 study of newer members.
Newer members prefer living with members of different cultures (four in five) and newer members themselves reflect the racial and ethnic changes in the United States toward more people who claim an identity outside of European white culture. Catholics, along with the rest of the country, are increasingly Hispanic.
Next week: Intergenerational living, prayer and spirituality, and education.
The Missionary Sisters as an international religious institute have always been culturally diverse with Sisters hailing from many countries of origin.
~ submitted by the Guadalupe Province Communications team