2020 Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life

NRVC overview: 2020 Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life

Full study available in English and Spanish

By Sister Deborah M. Borneman SS.C.M.

NRVC Overview

It is fitting that the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) published the 2020 Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, a feast that celebrates the abundant hope in God’s call. Religious life reflects the endless story of call and response amid changing demographics. 

The 2020 study serves as a follow up to the NRVC's landmark 2009 Study on Recent Vocations and includes both comparisons and new research. The survey sent to major superiors and newer entrants was designed to identify what attracted new members to religious life and to their particular religious institute or society; what they found helpful in their discernment process; what their attitudes and preferences are regarding community life, prayer, and ministry; and what sustains and challenges them in religious life.
 
The major findings of the 2020 Study can be distilled to the following key points: 

  • ENDLESS CALL: Women and men continue to respond to the call to religious life
  • APPEAL: They are drawn by prayer, spirituality, charism, community life, and mission   
  • ATTRIBUTES: Culturally diverse; embrace intercultural, intergenerational living
  • LIFESTYLE: Committed to living simply and in solidarity with the poor
  • OUTLOOK: Filled with abundant hope for religious life amid changing demographics  

We hope you will read the entire report, which affirms that religious life is a valid and vital vocation. Each of us can confidently invite and support women and men to consider the unique vocation to consecrated life. 

The NRVC extends its gratitude to the major superiors and newer entrants who participated in the research, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). We also express our thanks for the support of the GHR Foundation and the expertise and exceptional efforts of CARA, the NRVC Board, NRVC Member Area Coordinators, TrueQuest Communications, and NRVC National Office staff. We also thank our collaborators for their contributions in formulating the survey questions and for providing images of new members. 

The incentive to promote vocations is the belief that the charism of religious life remains attractive and necessary, which this study clearly demonstrates is the case. We know that inquirers and discerners, led by the Spirit, are seeking to learn about vocation discernment. Let us encourage them and recognize all who have answered God’s call, as Mary did, with a resounding yes! The grace of perseverance is not a cliché, our oldest and newest members are influential role models of fidelity, courage, and audacious hope. 

May you live in that hope,

Sister Deborah M. Borneman, SS.C.M.
NRVC Director of Mission Integration

Links

Full Study English | En Español

Executive Overview and Major Findings

Infographic English & Spanish

Brochure

Press release

Institute media contacts and photos for use

Role of Leadership handout



2020 Study executive overview and major findings

By Mary L. Gautier, Ph.D. and Sr. Thu T. Do, L.H.C., Ph.D.

2020 Study (English) download | En Español

Executive Summary download

Executive summary

This report presents findings from a study of recent vocations to religious life in the United States that was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) for the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC). The study is based on surveys of religious institutes as well as surveys and focus groups with recent vocations to religious life. The study was designed to replicate and extend similar research conducted by NRVC and CARA in 2009, so as to identify and understand the characteristics, attitudes, and experiences of the men and women who have entered religious life in recent years.

The study is based on three major research components:

  • A single-informant survey of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life
  • A survey of those who entered religious life within the last 15 years and remain members
  • Focus groups with those who entered religious life within the last 15 years and remain

For the first phase of the study, CARA surveyed religious institutes and societies of apostolic life. Using mailing lists provided by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), CARA sent a questionnaire to each major superior with a cover letter from Sister Deborah Marie Borneman, SS.C.M., NRVC Director of Mission Integration, and a return envelope addressed to CARA. The cover letter and survey included instructions to respond only for the governance unit (e.g., congregation or province) for which the superior was responsible and, for international institutes or societies, to respond only for members who entered and are based in the United States.

CARA also sent questionnaires and cover letters to superiors of monasteries of contemplative nuns (who do not belong to either LCWR or CMSWR) as well as to superiors of new or emerging communities of consecrated life using mailing lists that CARA compiled for previous research. The list of emerging communities included some that are public associations of the faithful that are in the process of seeking canonical status as a religious institute or society of apostolic life.

Throughout the report, the term “religious institute” is used for religious institutes, societies of apostolic life, and public associations of the faithful that are seeking canonical status as a religious institute or society of apostolic life.

CARA mailed surveys to a total of 755 governance units in spring 2019 and then conducted extensive follow-up by e-mail, telephone, and fax throughout spring and summer 2019 to achieve a high response rate.  Three religious superiors reported that the study did not apply to them because they are not part of a U.S. institute and all of their formation takes place outside the United States. Another 19 religious superiors declined to participate but did not give a reason. Altogether, CARA received completed responses from 503 religious institutes for a response rate of 67 percent. A close examination of the lists and the non-respondents revealed that some of the congregations and provinces on the original lists had merged or were in the process of merging with others during the course of the research. A few other entities on the lists are neither provinces nor congregations, but regions or houses that do not have formation/incorporation in the United States and should not have been included in the survey. Still others, particularly among the contemplative monasteries and the emerging communities, had apparently ceased to exist. 

CARA estimates that the total number of governance units (i.e., congregations, provinces, monasteries) in the United States is approximately 750. The 503 units that responded account for 42,586 men and women religious, or well over 70 percent of all women and men religious in the United States. Many of the governance units that did not respond appear to be either small, mostly contemplative, communities that may not have had anyone in initial formation for some time, or those who are still in the process of becoming institutes of consecrated life.

This initial survey was designed to gather statistics about the membership in the institute, including the numbers in initial formation or incorporation; basic information about vocation promotion and formation in the institute; and basic data about the institute’s ministry, community life, and community prayer. 

The second phase of the research consisted of a survey of “new members,” that is, current candidates/postulants, novices, and those in temporary vows or commitment as well as those who had professed final vows or commitment within the last 15 years. In spring and summer 2019, the questionnaire was sent to 3,318 identified new members and those in formation (emailed to 2,804 and mailed to 514 who had no email address, with a return envelope addressed to CARA). Both mailings included a cover letter from Sister Deborah Marie Borneman, SS.C.M. A total of 55 email addresses were returned as undeliverable. Another 35 invitees responded via email that they were not willing to participate and another 50 responded via email that the study did not apply to them since they had entered religious life before 2003 (mostly transfers from another religious institute within the last 15 years). Approximately 100 completed surveys were unusable because the participants reported entering religious life before 2003. When all these are removed from the sample, CARA received a total of 1,933 usable responses from new members and those in formation for a response rate of at least 63 percent.  

The survey of new members was designed to identify what attracted these candidates and new members to religious life and to their particular religious institute or society; what they found helpful in their discernment process; what their attitudes and preferences are regarding community life, prayer, and ministry; and what sustains and challenges them in religious life. The survey also asked about their background characteristics as well as their experiences before entering religious life.  In addition, the survey included a question asking the respondent if he or she would be willing to participate in a focus group. 

The final phase of the research, which included focus groups with new members, was conducted during fall 2019.  CARA conducted 13 focus groups with new members in Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and St. Louis.  These sites were selected because of the relatively large concentration of new members in each of these areas. Participants were selected from among the survey respondents who indicated that they would be willing to participate in a focus group and included women and men, ordained and non-ordained, contemplative and active, and professed members as well as those in formation.

The focus groups explored issues similar to those examined in the survey. Specifically, they were designed to gather insights from newer members about what attracts, sustains, and challenges them in religious life.  The discussions were also directed toward understanding the attitudes and experiences of new members and especially toward identifying “best practices” for vocation and formation ministry that would assist men and women in discerning and responding to a call to religious life.  


Major findings

Part I: Findings from the survey of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life

Religious life today

•  The study identified at least 2,471 men and women in initial formation and about 1,000 more who had professed perpetual vows within the previous 15 years.  The actual number of new members is likely even higher, given that at least a third of U.S. religious institutes did not respond to the survey and/or did not provide information about members who had professed final vows since 2003.  The findings from the surveys, and especially those from the focus groups with new members, confirm that there are still significant numbers of men and women who are responding to a call to religious life and are hopeful about its future.

•  Since 2003, over 80 percent of responding religious institutes has had at least one serious discerner and nearly 90 percent continue to accept new members and promote religious vocations.

•  The expected demographic shift in total numbers of religious continues, due to the unusually large number of entrants in the first half of the last century. The study reports 11,780 men (a 15 percent decrease from 2009) and 30,806 women (a 36 percent decrease from a decade ago).

•  The total number of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life (i.e., congregations, provinces, monasteries) in the United States is approximately 750. Fifty percent have less than 50 members.

•  Indicating that new membership has remained fairly steady, the number of men and women in initial formation is not significantly different from that reported in the 2009 study. Superiors report a total of 1,085 women in initial formation (a decline of 10 percent from 2009) and 1,386 men in initial formation (a decline of less than 1 percent from 2009).

•  Sixty percent of responding institutes have at least one person in initial formation. Having someone in formation and having more than one or two in formation is more common in institutes of men than in institutes of women. For those who entered and then departed from religious life since 2003, the most common time to do so was during candidacy/ postulancy, which is part of the discernment and formation process and consistent with 2009 departure rates.

•  Eighty-seven percent of men and women in perpetual vows are over age 60, a statistic that is unchanged since 2009, which suggests that the influx of newer members has helped to offset the drastic decline that was anticipated as the unusually high number of members who entered during the first half of the last century age out.

•  Almost half of those in initial formation are under age 30, an increase from the 43 percent who were under age 30 in 2009. Nearly three-fourths of those in initial formation are part of the Millennial Generation (born in the 1980s or 1990s) and another 6 percent, born in 2000 or later, could be considered part of the emerging next generation of young adults.

•  Those in initial formation are more diverse, ethnically and racially, than those in perpetual vows, as was the case in 2009. However, those in perpetual vows have increased in diversity by 7 percentage points since 2009.

•  Sixty-seven percent of U.S. religious institutes claim that the majority of their perpetually professed members are located in the Northeast and Midwest. 

Vocation promotion and discernment programs

•  Seventy-seven percent of responding religious institutes report that they have one or more vocation directors or a vocation team, down from 88 percent in 2009. Ninety-four percent of vocation directors/teams meet with leadership at least annually.

•  The average annual budget for the vocation director/team (excluding salaries) is $34,039. However, half of responding institutes report an annual budget of $14,600 or less for their vocation director/team and some 4 percent of institutes declare that there is no budget for the vocation director/team.

•  Institutes of men are more likely than institutes of women to indicate that vocations is a topic on all or most of the institute’s leadership meetings (41 percent compared to 23 percent).

•  Religious institutes are sponsoring fewer discernment programs than they did a decade ago, but “Come and See” experiences continue to be the most common program, offered by 60 percent of responding institutes.

•  The most common vocation promotion approach among responding institutes (78 percent) is vocation information on the institute’s website or a distinct website for vocations. Vocation promotion and discernment programs are most typically targeted toward young adults and college-age students.

Interaction with others in formation

•  Two in three responding institutes report that their candidates/postulants interact with candidates/postulants from other units of their institute, society, or federation and just over three-fifths have them interacting with candidates/postulants from other institutes or societies. This increase in cross and intercongregational initial formation represents a change in formation practices in the past century.

•  Almost three in five indicate that their novices interact in an Intercommunity Novitiate with novices from other units of their institute, society, or federation and more than half send their novices to an Intercommunity Novitiate with novices from other institutes or societies.

•  Nearly 40 percent of respondents indicate that their institute offers a formation experience for U.S. members in initial formation that takes place outside the United States. Men’s institutes are more likely than women’s institutes to offer such a program.

Community life and prayer

•  Among the various factors related to healthy and holy community life, institute leaders in 2019, similar to those in 2009, rated communal prayer and shared experiences with other community members most highly. More than eight in ten rate praying with other members and celebrating holidays/feast days together as “very” important.

•  Personal private prayer characterizes the regular prayer life of a majority of active members in almost all responding institutes (95 percent), followed closely by daily Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours, reported by nearly nine in ten responding institutes.

Concerns of superiors for new members

•  Major superiors are most concerned about strengthening peer support among new members. They also express concern about the gap in age among institute members and the healthcare and cultural challenges older members pose for younger members.

•  Major superiors raise many concerns about the effectiveness of their formation process and the catechesis of their new members. Some express concern that new members may not have the level of commitment necessary to persevere in religious life or the necessary support to sustain them in their vocation.

•  Community life is another serious concern for major superiors. They hope that the new members will see the value of living in a community even if they must do so across communities and cultures.

Support from major superiors for new members

•  Superiors recognize that the best way to nurture a vocation is to ensure that it is strengthened by a solid formation experience. Many hold regular meetings with the formation director and individually with those in formation. Many also provide a mentor for those in formation.

•  Another way that religious institutes support their newer members is through deliberate engagement of the wider religious community in the accompaniment and formation process. This helps newer members, especially those who may be the sole new member in their unit, to establish the support of peers in formation. This inclusion in the wider community also helps newer members to feel that they have a voice and a place in the community.

•  Prayer and spiritual direction are a vital part of formation in religious life. These tools are also essential to the support of newer members in their vocation.

•  Perhaps one of the most important ways that religious institutes support newer members in their vocation is through listening and dialogue along the journey. Many superiors mentioned this as a way they support their newer members.


Part II: Findings from the survey
and focus groups of new members

Characteristics of new members

•  Respondents to the survey of new members are nearly equally divided by gender; 51 percent are women and 49 percent are men. Close to half are in their 30s, compared to just over a quarter who were in this age range in 2009. About 30 percent are ages 19-29, compared to just 16 percent who were in this range in 2009. Seven in ten had considered religious life by the time they were 21. The average age of entrance is 28 for men and 29 for women. This is a little younger than the average age of entrance in 2009, which was 30 for men and 32 for women.

•  Compared to finally professed members, those in initial formation are more likely to come from diverse cultural backgrounds: 11 percent are Hispanic/Latino(a), 13 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander, 3 percent are African American/African/black, and 3 percent are of mixed race or ethnicity.  About 70 percent are Caucasian/European American/Anglo/white, compared to about 87 percent of perpetually professed members.

•  One-quarter of those in initial formation were born outside the United States and a third have at least one parent who was born outside the United States. Among those who were born in the United States, six in ten grew up in the Northeast or the Midwest regions. Three in four speak English as their first language and four in ten speak at least two languages fluently.

•  About nine in ten were raised Catholic and most (73 percent) attended a Catholic school for at least part of their education.  About half attended parish-based religious education and 10 percent were homeschooled for at least part of their education. Almost half (49 percent) earned a bachelor’s degree, 17 percent a Master’s, and 4 percent a doctoral degree before they entered their religious institute.  

•  At least eight in ten were employed before they entered, usually in a full-time position. Slightly more than half were engaged in ministry, about a quarter on a full-time basis, one-sixth on a part-time basis, and about three-fifths on a volunteer basis. Many were also involved in various parish ministries and/or other volunteer work.

•  Among the male respondents, 80 percent are or expect to become priests and 20 percent are or expect to become brothers.

Attraction to religious life
and to a particular religious institute

•  New members are drawn to religious life primarily by a sense of call and a desire for prayer and spiritual growth.  Most respondents report that they were attracted “very much” by a desire for a deeper relationship with God (86 percent), a sense of call to religious life (79 percent), and a desire for prayer and spiritual growth (77 percent).  To only a slightly lesser degree, most new members also say they were attracted to religious life by a desire to be of service and a desire to be part of a community. Women are more likely than men to say they were attracted by a sense of call, a desire for prayer and spiritual growth, and by a desire for a deeper relationship with God. Men are more likely than women to say they were attracted by a desire to be of service and by a desire to be part of a community.

•  Newer members were attracted to their particular religious institute by its spirituality, charism, prayer life, mission, and community life of the institute. Although the ministries of the institute are also important to most new members, they are less important than spirituality, prayer, community, and lifestyle.  Millennial respondents are more likely than older generations to be “very much” attracted by the example of the members and the community life of the institute. They are least likely to be “very much” attracted by the life and works of the founder/ess.

•  Newer members in religious life first became acquainted with their religious institutes in many different ways. The most common experience was in an institution, such as a school, where the members served (37 percent).  Men are more likely than women to report that they first encountered their religious institute in a school or other institution where the members served.  Women are more likely than men to indicate that they learned about their institute through a presentation at a school/parish/youth ministry event.

•  Some younger members did not know anyone in religious life before they sensed a call to religious life. Many found out or learned more about their institute online. Men and women are equally likely to have had religious life formally presented, either in class or in campus ministry, as an option for them to consider while they were in college (nearly four in ten). Millennials are also much more likely than older generations to have an experience such as this while they were in college. Direct experience with the institute and its members, through “Come and See” experiences, discernment retreats, and other opportunities to spend time with members are especially important for this age group.

•  When asked how much various factors influenced their decision to enter their religious institute, respondents were most likely to name the charism and community life of their institute as the factors that influenced them “very much.” Women are more likely than men to be “very much” influenced by prayer life or prayer styles, community life, the way the vows are lived in the institute, and the living of the Gospel values. Men are more influenced by the future of the institute, its geographic location, and its ministries.

Encouragement and support
in discernment and in religious life

•  During their initial discernment, most new members report that they received a great deal of encouragement from institute members, their vocation director or team, and their spiritual director. Most also report high levels of encouragement from those to whom and with whom they minister.  Although many new members did not experience a great deal of encouragement from parents, siblings, and other family members when they were first considering a vocation to religious life, 70 percent report that support from their family increased after they entered religious life.  

•  Compared to older new members, younger new members are more likely to report that they were encouraged by institute members, their vocation director or team, parents, family members, and diocesan priests when they were first considering religious life.  They are also more likely to report receiving encouragement from diocesan priests in their life and ministry now.  

•  Seven in ten report that friends outside the institute and people in the parish were also a significant source of support. Men were more likely than women to report receiving “very much” encouragement from their parents and grandparents.

Prayer and spirituality

•  Many new members identify personal private prayer as one of the aspects of religious life that is most important to them and that most sustains them now. When asked about the importance of various types of communal prayer, respondents are most likely to name daily Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours as the prayer types that are most important to them. New members in 2019 are more likely than those in 2009 to report that Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament/Eucharistic Adoration is “very” important to them (66 percent compared to 50 percent in 2009).

•  Millennial Generation respondents are much more likely than other respondents—especially those from the Vatican II Generation—to say that daily Eucharist, Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Adoration, and other devotional prayers are “very” important to them.  Compared to younger respondents, older respondents place greater importance on faith-sharing and, to a lesser degree, on prayer using an app/online resources and ecumenical interfaith prayer, such as Taizé.

Community life and ministry setting preferences

•  As in 2009, praying together, living together, and sharing meals with other members are particularly important aspects of community life to most newer members of religious institutes. Women are more likely than men to rate doing things together with other members as “very” important to them, which includes praying with other members, socializing/sharing leisure time together, and celebrating holidays/feast days together. Women are also more likely than men to report that ongoing formation and lifelong education are “very” important to them.

•  Repeating a pattern of enthusiasm indicated throughout the study, Millennial Generation respondents, in particular, are more likely than older respondents to report that living, ministering, sharing meals, and socializing with other members are “very” important to them.

•  When asked about various living arrangements, most new members prefer to live in a large (eight or more) or medium-sized (four to seven) community, living with members of different ages at or near their ministry site. Younger respondents express even stronger preferences for living with members of their institute in large community settings and for living with other members close to them in age.  
Evaluation of Religious Institutes

•  New members give their religious institutes the highest ratings on their care and support of the elderly members and are positive overall about the quality of life in their religious institute. The younger a respondent is, the more likely that he or she rates the following aspects as “excellent”: the efforts to promote vocations, the initial formation/incorporation programs, and lifelong educational opportunities.

•  Overall, women tend to be more positive than men in their evaluation of various aspects of life in their religious institutes. The largest gap (more than 30 percent) in an “excellent” rating between women and men is in their assessment of communal prayer and fidelity to the church within their institutes.

Concerns for their future in religious life

•  When asked to share their thoughts about what most concerns them about their future in religious life, newer members expressed concerns similar to those shared by institute leaders in the first part of this report, such as the gap in age between the senior members and the new members and worries about the future of the institute as the communities age and decrease in size. More than one in ten comments from newer members, however, expressed a lack of concern about their future in religious life and more than a quarter expressed a concern related to personal fidelity to their commitment to religious life.

•  The most commonly expressed concern that newer members express about their future in religious life is a very personal concern—that they will have the faithfulness to persevere in this life they have chosen. At least a quarter of respondents shared this concern, although a substantial number worded this sentiment more as a desire than a concern.

•  Newer members are also concerned about the changing demographics of aging members and fewer vocations to replace them. They also worry about the necessity to restructure the institute and the effect of restructuring on younger members. 

•  Closely related to concerns about smaller congregations, many newer members also express concerns about finding balance in their lives. They worry about overwork and burnout. Some also express concerns about stresses related to being called into positions of leadership for which they do not feel adequately prepared. 

•  Many newer members express concerns related to being able to live an authentic community life. As newer members, they sometimes struggle with challenges related to living in community. Others are concerned with the challenges of intergenerational living. While some institutes struggle with concerns of aging membership and institutes decreasing in size, others are concerned about growth in their institute and the ability to maintain a strong sense of community. Loneliness is another concern expressed by newer members, which is related to their concern for authentic community life. 

•  A number of newer members express concerns related to adapting to rapid changes in society. Some are concerned about their own ability to adapt, while others are more concerned about the ability of their institute and its members to adapt to social and cultural changes.

Hopes for the future

•  Although cognizant of the challenges and concerns expressed by major superiors in the first part of this report, newer members are more optimistic than the superiors in their hopes for the future, perhaps because they recognize their own agency in creating a future for their institute. Focus group participants share the same awareness of the challenges and optimism about the future of religious life.

•   Newer members realize that they have entered religious institutes that are, for the most part, characterized by smaller congregations and an aging membership. They are realistic about this reality while at the same time optimistic about the future and their role as members of these institutes. They express hope for renewal of religious life in general and of their religious institute in particular. Newer members realize that more deliberate efforts at networking and collaboration can help them and their institutes to extend their ministry.

•  Newer members recognize that the recent past has been turbulent and difficult for religious institutes. They sense that many institutes have been struggling just to survive in light of smaller numbers and increased workload shared among an increasingly aged membership. Their hope for the next ten years is for an increase in clarity of mission and identity as renewed institutes reemerge from consolidation and restructuring.

•  Newer members eagerly anticipate the evolution of religious life in the next ten years. They look forward to increased collaboration across generations. They also recognize the increased cultural diversity of the Catholic Church in the United States and they look forward to ensuring that religious life reflects that diversity.

•  Newer members recognize the need for additional formation in leadership so that they are prepared to assume leadership in their institutes and in the Church. They are eager to move beyond diminishment and to expand the mission of their institute into new avenues for ministry.  At the same time, some newer members feel drawn to return to the roots of their institute and to restore a sense of its original charism.

•  Newer members desire members of all ages to be committed to living the charism more vibrantly with a greater effort to live in solidarity with the poor and marginalized. Unlike previous generations to religious life, they recognize stewardship involves divesting of empty buildings, underutilized property, and sponsored institutions to live more simply utilizing human and material resources to benefit the neediest.

2020 Study (English) download | 2020 Study (Spanish) download



Infographic: 2020 Study on Recent Vocations | English and Spanish



Brochure: Religious Life Today

16-page resource highlighting 2020 study results



Handout: Fifty Fun Facts

By Sister Deborah M. Borneman SS.C.M.

Fifty Fun FactsDownload 

Share these fun facts as elevator signs, dining-room-table tents, in newsletters, faith-formation classes, school and bulletin announcements, social-media posts, card inserts, and on meeting agendas to increase awareness of vocations to religious life. 



2020 Study: Role of Leadership handout



Press Release: 2020 Study on U.S. Catholic Religious Vocations reveals steady entrance since 2003

FOR RELEASE MARCH 25, 2020

NATIONAL RELIGIOUS VOCATION CONFERENCE
NRVC.NET


 

Contact:

Patrice Tuohy
phone: 312-356-9900
 e-mail: pjtuohy@nrvc.net


2020 Study on U.S. Catholic Religious Vocations reveals steady entrance since 2003


New entrants are ethnically diverse, embrace intercultural and intergenerational living, desire prayer, communal living, and solidarity with the poor, and express abundant hope

Study surveyed 3,500 sisters, nuns, brothers, and priests who entered religious life since 2003

 

Chicago, March 25, 2020—Young women and men continue to enter religious life at a steady rate and approximately 200 per year make final vows.
 

The 2020 Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life was conducted by the Center for  Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), a Georgetown University-based research center, on behalf of the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC), a professional association of religious vocation directors, based in Chicago.

The study, a follow-up to the NRVC’s landmark 2009 Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life, captures trends and new data about those who have entered religious life from 2003-2018.  It was made possible by a grant from the GHR Foundation.

Sister of Saints Cyril and Methodius Deborah Borneman, NRVC director for mission integration, is encouraged by the study findings. “Though fully aware of the challenges they face, new entrants are hopeful because they recognize their own role in creating a future,” she said. “The church and the wider Catholic community may confidently support the choice to enter religious life and continue to invite women and men to consider this unique vocation.”

Diversity remains the hallmark of new entrants

The total number of new members is likely higher than the 3,500 surveyed, as some religious institutes did not participate. The study’s findings, which did not include diocesan priests, show continued diversity in ethnicity and experiences among new members in the past decade:
 

  • 13 percent are Hispanic; 10 percent Asian or Pacific Islander;
    6 percent African/African American, and 1 percent diverse ethnicities
  • 7 percent speak Spanish as a first language; 5 percent, Vietnamese; 12 percent, one of at least 50 languages
  • 24 percent were born outside the U.S. (coming from 68 countries)
  • 71 percent enter with a bachelor’s degree and 81 percent held jobs before entrance
  • 73 percent attended Catholic schools for at least part of their education
  • 85 percent considered religious life before age 25; 28 is the average age at entrance
     

Continuing sense of call

Nearly identical to the 2009 Study, new members are drawn to religious life by a desire for prayer, spiritual growth, deeper relationship with God. They also describe feeling a “sense of call,” and a desire to be of service and part of a community. Personal private prayer, daily Eucharist, scriptural/spiritual reading, and other daily prayer practices and devotions are rated important by more than 80 percent of newer members.

Beyond the spirituality of their religious institute, the most significant draw for new members to a particular institute is: charism (spirit), mission, prayer life, community life, and the example of members. Among respondents of diverse ethnicities, the founder, ministries, cultural diversity, and sense of welcome of the institute are very important.

Invitation and welcome

The majority of recent entrants were invited by someone—a parish priest, member of a religious community, a teacher, a friend—to consider religious life and discern a vocation. They learned about their religious institute in diverse ways, including attending a school run by the institute, an internet search, a friend or relative in the institute, or print and online resources.

Among the religious institutes surveyed:

  • 88 percent accept new members (60 percent have at least one new entrant)
  • 75 percent have a vocation director/vocation team
  • 60 percent sponsor “Come and See” experiences (74 percent of new entrants participate in these opportunities to experience community life)

Realistic and hope-filled

New members acknowledge the challenges of the changing demographics within their institutes; yet they remain optimistic. As one new member put it, “These are exciting times to be a religious! My greatest hope is that we respond to the needs of God’s people by thinking outside the box of what has been to what could be.” Another stated, “I hope we continue to invite others to join us and dream of new ways to minister to the poor and marginalized.”

Download 2020 Study on Recent Vocations.
En Español


News coverage

US vocation conference study finds diversity growing, dedication to Gospel values strong, by Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report


The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) was founded in 1988 as a professional organization of men and women committed to vocation awareness, invitation, and discernment to consecrated life as brothers, sisters, and priests. The NRVC serves its nearly 1,000 members by providing continuing education, resources, and services for professional growth.

 

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is a national, nonprofit, Georgetown University-affiliated research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church.

 

GHR Foundation applies entrepreneurial creativity and universal Catholic values in the areas of health, education, and global development. Started in 1965 by Opus founders Gerald A. and Henrietta Rauenhorst, the Foundation seeks transformational change, and partners with the world’s experts to achieve impact.



Sampling of newer entrants to religious life: Men

Study download | En Español
Study infographic | En Españnol
Study brochure

Photos and contact information for a sampling of newer entrants (more to come). Photo credit: Courtesy of [Religious Institute].

Media professionals, contact pjtuohy@nrvc.net for hi res images and video footage.

 

Men religious

Marist Brothers

Brother Luis Ramos, F.M.S.
Contact: luisrfms7@gmail.com
Profile in VISION Vocation Guide
Profile in Today's Marist Brother
Website of Marist Brothers

 

Conventual Franciscans

Postulant Wayne Mulei
Posting about his vocation
Website of Conventual Franciscans
Contact list for Conventual Franciscans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salesians of Don Bosco

Francis Nguyen
Profile of Francis Nguyen on Salesians.org
Website for the Salesians of Don Bosco
Contact: Father Chinh Nguyen, S.D.B. chinniesdb@gmail.com

 

Brothers of the Sacred Heart

Website for Brothers of the Sacred Heart
Contact : pomontero@yahoo.com
Website of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart

 

Claretian Missionaries

Contact:  Father Byron Macias, C.M.F. called@myclaret.org
Website of the Claretian Missionaries
Father Javier Reyes, C.M.F. with a candidate considering religious life.

 

Congregation of Holy Cross

Contact: Father John DeRiso, C.S.C.
Website of the Congregation of Holy Cross
Website of the Holy Cross Brothers

Top photo: Father Tim Mouton, C.S.C.
Middle photo: Father Pat Reidy, C.S.C. giving a blessing to Father Jim King, C.S.C.
Bottom photo: The community celebrates Mass.

 

 

 

 

Congregation of St. Basil

Contact: Father Paul English, penglish@basilian.org
Website of the Basilian Fathers, Congregation of St. Basil

 

 

Brothers of the Christian Schools, De La Salle Christian Brothers

Top photo: Brother Mark Engelmeyer, F.S.C.
Profile by BrothersVocation.org

Bottom photo: Brother Rafael Rodriguez
Video by Brothers of the Christian Schools

Website for Brothers of the Christian Schools
Contact: Brother Chris Patiño, F.S.C. brochrisfsc@gmail.com

 

 

Franciscan Friars, Conventual

Website of the Franciscan Friars, Conventual
Contact: Friar John Bamman, O.F.M. Conv. franvoc@aol.com
 

 

 

Augustinian Friars

Website of the Augustinian Friars
Contact Friar Richie Mercado, O.S.F. richiemosa@gmail.com

 

 

Benedictine Monks, Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN

Contact: Brother Zachary Wilberding, O.S.B. vocations@saintmeinrad.edu
Website of Benedictine Monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops
images and short quotes of religious men and women

 



Sampling of newer entrants to religious life: Women

Study download | En Español
Study infographic | En Españnol
Study brochure

Photos and contact information for a sampling of newer entrants (more to come). Photo credit: Courtesy of [Religious Institute].

Media professionals, contact pjtuohy@nrvc.net for hi res images and video footage.

Women religious

Dominican Sisters, Adrian, MI

Center, Sister Katherine Frazier, O.P. at vows ceremony

Sr. Katherine Frazier OP

 

Details and contact:

Sister Katherine Frazier, O.P.
Profile in "Meet Dominicans"
Director of Mission Integration, Regina Dominican High School
Made first profession August 2018
From Fort Wayne, Indiana
KFrazier@adriandominicans.org

Sister Marilín Llanes, O.P. right 

Additional photos available 

Details and contact:

Sister Marilín Llanes, O.P. 
Profile in "Meet Dominicans"
School Psychologist, Joliet, Illinois, School District
Made final vows August 2019
From La Habana, Cuba; grew up in Miami, FL area
MLlanes@adriandominicans.org

 

Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, O.P. 

Video and Additional photos available 

Details and contact:

Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, O.P. 
Profile of Sister Xiomara in "Meet Dominican"
Profile of Sister Xiomara in VISION
Hospital Chaplain, Loyola University Medical Center
Made final vows December 2017
From Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
XMendez-Hernandez@adriandominicans.org

 

Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

Novice Elizabeth Wavra (center) is preparing for religious life and is the youngest member of the Clyde, Missouri community of the  Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

Sister Maria Victoria Cutaia, O.S.B. 

Details and contact:

Kelley Baldwin, Director of Communications
660.944.2221 (office)
660.562.7433 (cell)
kelley@bspa.us
www.benedictinesisters.org
Facebook and Twitter
Sister Maria Victoria profile in VISION

 

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Details and contact:

Dee Holleran
Manager, Public Relations and Communications
Dominican Sisters of Peace
(614) 416-1046
Video montage of these sisters available

 

Sister Ana Gonzalez, O.P., left, made First Profession in 2018, and is shown here during that ceremony with Prioress Pat Twohill.

Details and contact:

Sister Ana Gonzalez, O.P.
Coordinator of International Admissions
at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT.
H: (203) 691-6007
C: (475) 224-0519
agonzalez@OPpeace.org;
agonzalez1@albertus.edu

 

Sister Annie Killian, O.P.

Details and contact:

Sister Annie Killian, O.P.
Associate Professor of English at Ohio Dominican University
Entered the Dominican Sisters of Peace as a candidate in July 2019
Received her Ph.D. from Yale
H: (615) 476-1970
akillian@OPpeace.org

Sister Bea Tiboldi, O.P., right

Details and contact:

Sister Bea Tiboldi, O.P. 
Vocation Outreach Minister
Lives in the Congregation’s House of Welcome, Columbus, OH
Made her final vows in April, 2019
W: (614) 416-1056
C: (614) 400-1255
btiboldi@OPpeace.org

 

Sister Ellen Coates, O.P., left

Details and contact:

 Sister Ellen Coates, O.P.
Entered the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in the fall of 2019.
C: (919) 605-3420
ecoates@OPpeace.org

Sister Margaret Uche, O.P., left, is shown here during her initial vows ceremony in 2018 with Prioress Sister Pat Twohill, O.P.

Details and contact:

Sister Margaret Uche, O.P.
Professed her Initial Vows in 2018.
She is currently ministering in health care in New Orleans, LA.
H: (832) 276-2831
C: (832) 276-2831
muche@OPpeace.org

Sister Vuong Vu, O.P. is shown here as she is welcomed to the Novitiate in 2018 by Prioress Sister Pat Twohill, O.P.

Details and contact:

Sister Phuong Vu, O.P.
Currently in the second year of her novitiate
Ministering as a guidance assistant at St. Mary’s Dominican High School
H: (972) 281-7317
W: (504) 865-9401
pvu@OPpeace.org;
phuong_tv@yahoo.com

 

Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

Sister Michele Pettit, F.S.P.A.

Details and contact:

Contact  Jane Comeau, communications director jcomeau@fspa.org

Sister Michele Pettit, F.S.P.A.
Novice
Living and ministering at FSPA novitiate in Chicago 
Native of Edina, Missouri
Joined FSPA in 2017.
Holds a doctorate in health education from Southern Illinois University
Master’s degree in public health from the University of Illinois
Bachelor’s degree in health science from Truman State University 

 

Sister Laura Nettles, F.S.P.A.

Details and contact:

Sister Laura Nettles, F.S.P.A. 
professed final vows with FSPA in 2013.
urrently serves as an assistant professor in religious studies at Viterbo University
Holds M.A. from both St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, New York
and the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Illinois.
Earned a B.A. in music education from the University of Wyoming
Show me a sign video: Sister Laura, “How do I navigate the changing role of daughter?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPy7KGwzDrc

 

Sister Sarah Hennessey, F.S.P.A.

Details and contact:

Sister Sarah Hennessey, F.S.P.A.
Professed final vows in 2011
Ministers as a spiritual director at Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse, WI
Sister Sarah Hennessey Videos: Called: Sister Sarah discerns the religious habit
Show me a sign: Sister Sarah, “What if my family isn’t Catholic?”

 

Sister Meg Earsley, F.S.P.A.

Details and contact:

Sister Meg Earsley, F.S.P.A.
Entered novitiate in 2019
Resides in Chicago as she enters more fully into the FSPA novitiate program
Lived as an FSPA associate in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and ministered at St. Rose Convent in the liturgy office
Earned a diploma in interior design from the Waukesha Area Technical College,
Prior to entrance, served as a software director of training and support and as director of engagement services at Pethealth Inc., a company focused on assisting animal welfare organizations with their software needs.

 

Sister Laurie Sullivan, F.S.P.A.

Details and contact:

Sister Laurie Sullivan, F.S.P.A.
Entered FSPA in 2011
Made her first profession in 2014
Lives and ministers in La Crosse, Wisconsin
Serves as a finance assistant for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse. Prior to joining FSPA, attended Lake Superior State College in Sault Ste. Marie Was an active member in St. Joseph Parish, Perkins, Michigan
Holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration

 

IHM Sisters of Scranton, PA

Contact:

Fran Fasolka, IHM
Director of Communications
IHM Congregation
2300 Adams Avenue
Scranton, PA 18509
fasolka@sistersofihm.org
570-346-5404

 

Sister Liz McGill, I.H.M. (center)

Details:

Sister Liz McGill, I.H.M. 
Profile of Sister Liz on IHM website

 

Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto (Ontario, Canada)


Details and contact:

Lisa Tabachnick
Director of Communications
Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto
101 Thorncliffe Park Drive
Toronto, ON M4H 1M2
T: 416-467-2630 | W: www.csj-to.ca | E: ltabachnick@csj-to.ca

 

Sister Kristine Fernandes, C.S.J.

Details and contact:

Sister Kristine Fernandes, C.S.J. 
Ministers with Fontbonne Ministries
Kristine first met the Sisters at a Faith Connections (Fontbonne Ministries) event Professed her vows on May 1, 2019
Master’s degree in Commerce from Mumbai University
Studying theology at Regis College, Toronto.
Worked on the business operrations side of the media industry
Long-time volunteerwith the differently-abled, people

 

Dominican Sisters Sinsinawa, WI

Sister Christin Tomy, O.P.

Details and contact:

Sinsinawa, WI
christintomy@gmail.com
cell phone: 319-432-3095
Temporary professed
Currently ministers as Care for Creation Coordinator
Lives in community with four other sisters
Native of Iowa, and I spent time in Latin America prior to entering the community
video on greenhouse from spring 2019

 

 

Sister Quincy Howard, O.P.

Sister Quincy Howard, O.P.
Temporary professed entered in 2014
Ministers in Washington, DC.
Advocates for Catholic Social Justice
Volunteers at the Father McKenna Center
Part of the Nuns & Nones initiative in Washington, DC. 
Lives in community with a diverse group of religious and laypeope
Recent article in Global Sisters Report

Sister Nicole Reich, O.P.

Details and contact:

Sr. Nicole Reich O.P., BCC
2011 Jefferson St. 
Madison, WI 53711
563-564-0839
nreich@sinsinawa.org (preferred way of contact)

Third year of temporary profession
Board certified chaplain ministering as a Spiritual Care Coordinator for Heartland Hospice in Madison, WI.
Lives in community with two Sinsinawans and one of our sisters from Vietnam
Sing with parishes Sunday choir and sacred music schola. 

 

Sister Kathy Flynn, O.P.

Details and contact:

Sister Kathy Flynn, O.P.
Kathyflynn8@gmail.com
563-210-1710
Attends Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training through Aurora Health System
Ministers as Spiritual and Emotional Care Intern at Sojourner Family Peace Center/Sojourner Truth House, Milwaukee.
Accepted into an extended internship CPE program through Aurora Health System.

 

Sisters of Providence, St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 

Contact:

Amy Miranda
Publication Manager/Marketing Associate
Mission Advancement
Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods
812-535-2812
www.SistersofProvidence.org
amiranda@spsmw.org

 

Sister Corbin Hannah, S.P.

Details and contact:

Email: channah@spsmw.org
Phone: 317-607-9203
Sister Corbin Hannah, S.P. entered the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, in 2009 at age 25. Today she ministers with homeless young adults at Safe Place Services day shelter in Louisville, Kentucky. Sister Corbin is currently in her final year of formation, called tertian year, preparing to make her final vows as a Sister of Providence in the summer of 2020.
​Video footage available for all except Sister Corbin Hannah

 

Sister Emily TeKolste, S.P.

 

Details and contact:

Email: etekolste@spsmw.org
Phone: 317-833-3760
Sister Emily TeKolste, S.P., entered the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, in 2016 at age 28. Sister Emily professed her first vows as a Sister of Providence in June 2019. Sister Emily currently ministers as a community organizer with NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, D.C., where she lives in community with two other Sisters of Providence. 
Video footage available and candid shots

 

Sister Jessica Vitente, S.P.

Details and contact:

Email: jvitente@spsmw.org
Phone: 909-282-7522
Sister Jessica Vitente, S.P., entered in the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, in 2018 at age 34. Originally from Ponoma, California, Sister Jessica is currently a canonical novice with the Sisters of Providence. She is participating in an intercommunity novitiate program with more than 20 communities of women and men religious from all over the world.
Video footage available and additional candids

 

 

Sister (and Dr.) Arrianne Whittaker, S.P.

 

Details and contact:

Sister Arrianne Whittaker, S.P.,
Temporarily professed; entered in 2012
Graduated from medical school in May 2019
Currently ministers as a resident doctor at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis.
Email: awhittaker@spsmw.org
Phone: 262-853-3130

 

Additional photos available for the following women’s communities

Patrice Tuohy
pjtuohy@nrvc.net
312-356-9900

Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon

Benedictine Sisters, Beech Grove, IN

Carmelite Sisters, Baltimore, MD

Religious of the Assumption

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth

Felician Sisters of North America

 

U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops
images and short quotes of religious men and women

Giving Voice (sisters under age 40)

Details and contact:

Sophie Vodvarka
sophie@giving-voice.org

 



GHR Foundation awards NRVC grant for follow-up vocation study

New Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life to be published in Spring 2020

Update

The NRVC National Office is currently working with CARA in reviewing a draft of the 2020 Study on Recent Vocations. Scheduled release is Spring 2020.

GHR Foundation awards NRVC grant for 2020 vocation study

The National Religious Vocation Conference announced November 8, 2018 that, thanks to a generous grant from the GHR Foundation, it will conduct a follow-up study to its groundbreaking 2009 Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life, which set the benchmark for tracking vocation trends in the 21st century.

The primary objective of this new study, to be published in early 2020, is to provide an accurate picture of the current realities of religious life, outline updated best practices in inviting men and women to religious life, and project the potential impact of today’s trends on the future of religious life and on Catholic social services and ministries managed, directed, and sponsored by religious institutes.

With support and input from sociologists and collaborating organizations, NRVC is confident that the 2020 study will expand the body of knowledge on religious life, not only for the sake of consistent social science but for the purpose of providing NRVC members and all those who promote vocations with clarity on the demographics and characteristics of newer entrants to religious life, what attracts and sustains membership in religious life, and changing and emerging trends.

NRVC is grateful for the support of the GHR Foundation and the expertise of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), which will conduct the study on NRVC’s behalf. The study research is expected to begin in early 2019 with the final report to be published on February 2, 2020, World Day for Consecrated Life. The NRVC board and staff strongly encourage all NRVC members to participate.

The goals of the 2020 study are:

• To gather data on newer members from 2003 to 2018 on what attracts and sustains membership in religious life in comparison to newer entrants from 1994-2009 in the 2009 NRVC/CARA study.

• To outline the challenges and opportunities for vocation ministers and religious leadership in inviting the next generation to religious life.

• To identify the trends and best practices for the Church in promoting vocations to religious life in the United States as identified by this study.

• To energize the baptismal call of all members of the Catholic Church to choose a life path that enables them to live holy and joyful lives by integrating the best practices of vocational discernment that will be highlighted in the study.

Like the 2009 study, the 2020 study will provide data-backed information about religious life, dispel myths and misconceptions, and offer a roadmap for religious institutes and the wider church on how to successfully invite young people to consider religious life, assist parishes and schools in promoting religious vocations, and enable religious institutes to continue to welcome new members and plan for the future. For more information, email Sr. Deborah Borneman, SS.C.M. at debbiesscm@nrvc.net.



Survey of Newer Members, Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life

Focus groups gathering in August

The mission of National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) is to serve as a catalyst for vocation discernment and the full flourishing of religious life for the ongoing transformation of the world. With the support of the GHR Foundation and the expertise of the Center for the Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), we are asking for your assistance to engage in research about recent trends in newer vocations to religious life.  

Why we need this survey

We already recognize the consistent uptick in perpetual professions from a variety of religious institutes. With your support, NRVC is confident this study will expand the body of knowledge on religious life, not only for the sake of consistent social science but for the purpose of providing clarity on the changing trends of the demographics and characteristics of newer entrants to religious life.

Every religious superior and newer members who entered between 2003 - 2018 were sent a survey to complete in the spring of 2019.

The survey focuses on the characteristics of your institute or society, the lifestyle of your members, and the characteristics of your vocation and formation programs, including the number of those who have entered and professed and/or left within the past fifteen years.

What to do if you have misplaced your survey

Please contact Sister Thu T. Do, LHC, CARA Research Associate via email at ttd9@georgetown.edu or phone at 202.687.1290.  She will issue you a new survey right away with the coding needed to keep your survey confidential.

The links below are for review only. Please do NOT send these surveys to CARA. 

Survey of Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life

Survey of New Members entering in 2003 - 2018 

Spanish Translation of the New Members Survey



NRVC collaborators show support for 2020 study

Representatives gathered at a convening in Buffalo prior to the start of the NRVC Convocation

Representatives of nine national organizations recently gave input on the forthcoming NRVC study of new vocations. Left to right are: Sister Annmarie Sanders, I.H.M. with LCWR; Sister Mary Bendyna, O.P. with CMSWR; Sister Elizabeth Ann Guerrero, M.C.D.P. with Mexican American Catholic College; Sister Ellen Dauwer, S.C. with Religious Formation Conference; Sister Maxine Kollasch, I.H.M. with A Nun's Life Ministry; Sister Deborah Borneman, SS.C.M. with NRVC; Stephanie Hall with Communicators for Women Religious; Sister Jessie Beck, P.B.V.M. with Giving Voice; Father Thomas Gaunt, S.J. with CARA; Father John Pavlik, O.F.M. Cap. with CMSM; Brother Bill Boslett, O.S.F. with Religious Brothers Conference; and Sister Maria Hughes, A.S.C., facilitator. 

NRVC hosts national convening to prepare for study

Several collaborating national organizations were invited to provide professional insights and recommend questions for the new NRVC/CARA Study of Recent Trends in Newer Vocations to Religious Life.  Representatives gathered at a convening in Buffalo prior to the start of the NRVC Convocation. The gathering was facilitated by Sr. Maria Hughes, ASC. At this convening, participants showed support for NRVC's forthcoming study of newer members. 

These national organizations included representatives from:

A Nun's Life Ministry

Association of Latin American Missionary Sisters/Asociación de Hermanas Latinas Misioneras en America (AHLMA)

Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate

Communicators for Women Religious

I felt that it was a significant acknowledgement of the value of our roles as communicators that we were invited to have a seat at the table for these valuable discussions. We know the importance of communications in promoting the Gospel work of Catholic Sisters, religious life and in attracting vocations. Congrats to NRVC for its recognition of that. A lot has changed on the communications and technology front since the last survey was done. It is critically important that the communications function and its implications on religious life not be overlooked.

Many thanks to NRVC, CARA and the GHR Foundation for advancing this important piece of research that will surely benefit us all as we move into the future. I am grateful to have been part of this process and honored to have represented CWR and our members.

Stephanie Hall, CWR Board member

Read the article from the Communicators for Women Religious in their  January newsletter that shows support for the study.

Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious

Giving Voice

“It’s important to have update to date information about the people who are joining religious life today. The needs of our world are complex and ever-growing. New members are coming with increasingly diverse backgrounds and experiences to meet these needs. I believe this is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s crucial for communities to seek out and welcome this diversity as gift. It’s equally important for discerners and potential new members to know where their gifts and experiences are needed and will be welcomed. I strongly encourage all new members to complete the survey and to ask your community leadership to do the same.’

Sr. Jessi Beck, PBVM, Giving Voice Core Team

Read the article in their March 2019 newsletter here.

Leadership Conference for Women Religious

Mexican American Catholic College

“It was an honor to represent MACC at the Convening and Convocation. The mission of the Mexican American Catholic College is to empower and educate leaders for service in a culturally diverse church and society. Thus, it is an opportune moment for MACC to take part in this Convening and assist NRVC in this study which will identify the changes and indicators of
religious life in the 21 st century. We are called to recognize the sign of our times and respond in ways that help us navigate the contours of this changing reality.

It is important to include the voices of diversity, a range of experiences, and cultures. I believe these will strengthen competencies and assist institutions in developing long-term plans to address the needs of their existing and new members. I hope the results of the study helps religious institutes who are intentionally responding to the opportunities and challenges of growing cultural and generational diversity in their communities.”

Sr. Elizabeth Ann Guerrero, MCDP, Faculty, Mexican American Catholic College

Read the article from the Mexican American Cultural Center in their  newsletter that shows support for the study.

Religious Brothers Conference

The Religious Brothers Conference was grateful to be part of the national convening in November.  The Religious Brothers Conference has as one of its goals “to promote the Vocation of the Religious Brother.”

Being part of the conversation with other national organizations was a wonderful opportunity to promote the Vocation of Religious Brothers and to contribute to the study of Religious Life in the United States.

The Religious Brothers Conference hopes that this CARA survey will be helpful to all as we move into the future together.

Brother Bill Boslet, OSF, Executive Secretary, Religious Brothers Conference

Religious Formation Conference

We are pleased to support this new research effort by the National Religious Vocation Conference in conjunction with CARA.

RFC Facebook post 2.27.2019

Read the article on the website of the Religious Formation Conference encouraging leaders and newer members to complete the survery.


Every religious superior will be sent a two page questionairre in February. Newer members who entered between 2003 - 2018 will be sent a survey in April. 

 

 



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