religious vocations

The Mindless Iconoclasm of Our Age

Galla Placida, the regent for her young son, the emperor Theodosius III, was shocked when Saint Augustine died in 430 on August 28, three months into the siege of his city Hippo by the Vandals. He may have died of malnutrition, if not stress, because the wheat crop had not been harvested. As destroyers go, [...]

“Oh, No! You Want to be a Nun?”

I am in the unusual position—for this century, anyway—of being the mother of a young woman who has seen four of her friends enter a convent in the past two years. Three of those women are postulants in cloistered Carmelite convents. Elizabeth has celebrated more wedding showers for brides of Christ than for brides of [...]

The Last of the Junior Seminarians

When one thinks of boarding schools, it’s easy to default to stereotype: a bunch of rich kids riding horses or playing lacrosse as they prepare for an Ivy League college and life as a senator or corporate executive. My experience a few decades ago (okay, a little over three) was vastly different, yet one I [...]

This Religious Order Knows How to Grow Vocations

Some years ago our pastor retired and our parish was given over to the care of the Vocationist Fathers, also known as the Society of Divine Vocations. I’d thought I’d heard of most major (and minor) religious societies, congregations and orders, but this was a new one—to me at least. Turns out that the Society [...]

More Ways to End the Vocations Crisis

My recent article on the self-inflicted crisis of vocations to the Catholic priesthood engendered a lot of discussion, from which I conclude that my suspicion is correct. Many Catholics are content with strategies of suicide, because they do not really want the Church to prevail in her war against a world deranged. Since in our [...]

How to Kill Vocations in Your Diocese

Cardinal Raymond Burke has recently laid some of the blame for the precipitous decline in priestly vocations upon the feminization of the liturgy. His assertion prompts two questions.

The Family, A Seedbed of Vocations

The Catholic Church in the United States is enduring a protracted vocation crisis. Numbers of priests dwindle even as the Catholic population increases. Many clergy as well as lay apostolates such as the SERRA Club and parish vocations committees have done much to stem the tide in an effort to encourage young men to discern [...]

Sacrificing Religious Life: A Reply to Critics

In my December 31, 2013 Crisis article, Sacrificing Religious Life on the Altar of Egalitarianism, I argued that the decimation of American religious orders is partly self-inflicted.  Vocations directors, counselors, and authors make two mistakes: 1) they treat life in the world and the religious life as if they were equally effective means to growth [...]

Sacrificing Religious Life on the Altar of Egalitarianism

Young Catholics are spurning religious life.  According to the Official Catholic Directory, there were only 1,853 seminarians studying for American religious orders in 2011.  That’s less than half the number of religious seminarians that were studying in 1980 (4,674), and less than one tenth the number that were studying in 1965 (22,230), according to Kenneth [...]

The Priesthood and the Choice

I heard an excellent homily last week, delivered by a young priest who spoke with passion and energy. It was clearly his own take on how the Gospel reading for this daily Mass spoke to him. He crafted it to offer lessons to us. It was beautiful, but that wasn’t what struck me. What moved [...]

Catholic Fears of the Dreaded Religious Calling

The other day I walked into our bathroom to encounter a small stack of towels, folded on the floor—the same stack my wife had earlier asked our eighth grade son to put away. She hadn’t told him to put the towels on the shelf rather than the floor. Hence the stack on the floor. This [...]

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