Swiss monks have wrong recruitment approach

Switzerland’s Capuchin monks are getting desperate for vocations, so they recently placed a quarter-page ad in a premier business magazine looking for new recruits. According to The Independent:

The ad appeared in the “banking and insurance” section of Saturday’s edition of Alpha. It calls on young Catholic “bankers, journalists, teachers, theologians, tradesmen, lawyers and communication experts aged between 22 and 35” to consider joining the order.

There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to this demographic, but the approach speaks to what’s wrong in the first place: treating religious life as a “job.”

“We are chronically over-aged,” Willi Anderau, the spokesman for the Swiss Capuchins, said. “There are hardly any people joining the order these days, we are suffering from what might be described as a personnel shortage – so a job-vacancy advert is quite logical.”

Logical, perhaps, but ineffective. I’d go so far as to say it will have the opposite effect. Do you want a 24-7 job where perks are low and pay is non-existent? Me neither.

Religious life is growing in communities that understand a vocation is a not a profession, but a personal call from God to a specific way of life. Why don’t the Swiss Capuchins visit some of the communities where vocations are growing and see how it’s done? There are a number of them — some right here in the U.S. Now that would be logical.

Zoe Romanowsky

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Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Godspy.com. Zo

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