I am NRVC

I am NRVC: Sister Bridget Waldorf, S.S.N.D.

Sister Bridget Waldorf, S.S.N.D. is a member of the vocation team for the School Sisters of Notre Dame. In addition she is an NRVC member area coordinator for the Southwest member area, along with Brother Mark Motz, S.M.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I am beginning my fourth year as an official vocation minister, but, as we all know, vocation ministry is happening in all places and stages of religious life!

Tell us about your vocation team.

We currently have five members on our vocation team, two part-time and three  full-time.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Membership in NRVC has been foundational for me—the resources , the training, the camaraderie, the input and networking at convocation—it’s all been very helpful.

What idea(s) have you used in vocation ministry that you have been excited about?

We did a hashtag campaign for World Day for Consecrated Life, simply asking sisters from all over our international congregation to post pictures on social media with #consecratedlife in their respective languages. It was easy, energized our sisters, and increased our social media presence, at least for that day!

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

You don’t have to do this by yourself; we (other vocation ministers) are ready to assist, encourage, and share ideas when you ask.

What do you find most rewarding ?

Watching our sisters collaborate in providing opportunities to share our story with discerners and meeting the enthusiastic, prayerful, and courageous women discerning a call to religious life.

Would you like to close with a fun fact about yourself?

I can play three songs on the harmonica!

Reach Sister Bridget at bwaldorf@ssnd.org.



Published on: 2020-06-01


I am NRVC: Sister Nancy Uhl, S.N.D.deN.

Sister Nancy Uhl, S.N.D.deN. has been the co-coordinator of the West Coast member area of NRVC since summer 2019, two years into her official vocation ministry journey.

How do the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur divide roles in vocation ministry?

I am the only full-time person in the ministry and am responsible for coordinating  outreach throughout the United States. Currently, we have five  hubs: California, Arizona, Ohio and neighboring states, Mid-Atlantic region, and Northeast region. Sisters interested in vocation work meet regularly as a hub to plan and promote vocation work. 

Hub sisters take part in vocation events in their region enlisting help from other sisters and allies (students, associates, teachers, etc.) Nationally sisters volunteer to help staff a booth at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, held annually in Anaheim, California. 

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

NRVC has been invaluable, beginning with new vocation minister training and other trainings at Summer and Fall Institutes. The professional development days organized by my region in the West have also proven valuable. The monthly meetings of the Western region provide support, ongoing formation, and a place to share information and plan events together. Currently, we are trying to keep each other informed of vocation events in our region and possibly share booths, resources, and costs at some of them.  

What programs, ideas, or approaches have you used that evoke enthusiasm?

I am encouraging members to reconnect with our schools. We have very few sisters left who work in our schools due to retirement. But we are trying to be more connected again through volunteering and working with campus ministers. One region has an “adopt a sister” program between a high school and a retirement facility for sisters, giving students and sisters a chance to develop relationships. At another school, sisters are involved in a club that incorporates prayer and service. It is through personal relationships that women will enter our congregation.

Do you have a fun fact to share?

An unusual fact about me is that I am a widow and a mom (and a grandma). My daughter calls me Sister Mom. She has been my number one champion in my pursuit of religious life.

What do you find inspiring in religious life today?

When I talk about life as a consecrated religious, I discuss the three “H’s”: holy, healthy, and happy. I talk about the joy of sharing this life with a community of like-minded (and funny!) women. I talk about the satisfaction of living a life of purpose and meaning. We can live our lives focused on God, ministry, and mission because we are celibate, we live simply, and we live as a community. I tell people I love my life because that is the truth. I would never compare one vocation (single, married, religious) against another because all vocations are calls from God and are good. But I can honestly say I love my life today as a sister, just as I loved my life as a wife. God is so very good.



I am NRVC: Father Tom Whelan, O.S.A.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Twenty years ago I attended the Orientation Program in Atchinson, Kansas with three new vocation directors from the Augustinians.  

Are you part of a vocation team? 

I am a full-time vocation director covering Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and Northern California. I have an associate who takes care of vocations in Los Angeles and San Diego. For 20 years, I've been writing the province newsletter, which is sent to every inquirer to tell what the Augustinians are doing today.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful? 

Everything I learned about being a vocation director I have learned from NRVC workshops and publications. I have taken every workshop by Father Ray Carey, as well as many others, including this fall's "The Art of Accompaniment and Discernment." Workshops are great for learning; they are refreshing and helpful for motivation.

I've also attended every convocation since I have been a vocation director. In addition, I'm involved in the West Coast member area, especially the northern area. It is very helpful that we often we use Skype for meetings.

What programs, ideas, or approaches have you used in vocation ministry lately that you have been excited about?

I am not a very excitable person, but I like our discernment weekends, including the fact that I don't have to put them together. Those in formation coordinate it. All I have to do is invite men who are discerning. I interview them first before they come to the discernment weekend. 

Would you like share any fun facts about yourself?

I have been studying Spanish for about 18 years. I love music; I am a piano player who doesn't practice anymore. And I volunteer weekly at a Saint Anthony's Dining Room, which serves free meals to 2,000-3,000 people daily in San Francisco. 

Contact Father Tom Whelan, O.S.A. at vocations@calaugustine.org.



I am NRVC: Sister Jenny Zimmerman, S.N.D.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Informally, I have helped with vocation talks and young adult events since I entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 2004. Formally I have ministered as an assistant vocation director for the past three years and was appointed July 1 to my new ministry as national director of vocations and young adult outreach.

I'm also one of the member area coordinators for the Lake Erie/Ohio River area.

How has your community set up its vocation ministry?

Four of us are on the vocation team for the Sisters of Notre Dame in the United States. I work with three assistant vocation directors. We all have responsibilities for the regions where we reside, and we work closely together on our national program.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

I have appreciated the various professional training programs and workshops. In addition to the education received, I find the networking with other vocation directors to be invaluable.

What vocation ministry projects or ideas are you excited about?

My community here in the United States is launching a new spiritual mentoring program for young adults that I am very excited about. In vocation ministry we meet so many young adults who are simply looking for someone to talk to, someone willing to listen to them without judgment. We are working with our sisters, associates, and others on ways to reach out to the young adults they encounter on a daily basis to provide support and encouragement. There is such a need for this type of mutual relationship in our church and in our world—the vocations team is thrilled to be working together on this idea!

What do you find most rewarding—and most challenging—in vocation work?

For me the greatest gift in my ministry is definitely the relationships I have been blessed to have with young adults all over the United States. I am humbled by their willingness to share their joys and challenges with me. God placed people in my life who walked with me while I was discerning religious life, and I love that my ministry allows me to do the same for others.  

I am most challenged by the misconceptions about this ministry, that the work of vocation directors is about "recruitment" or that my community is in a "competition" with other religious communities on the number of new members. Vocation ministers today, like countless that I have met through NRVC, strive to serve whoever is in front of them, with the one goal of helping that young adult discover through prayer and conversation the amazing life that God has in store for them!

Would you like to share a fun fact about yourself?

People are often surprised to learn that my undergraduate degree is in exercise science. I was working as a certified athletic trainer when God started opening my heart to a call to the Sisters of Notre Dame. It’s been said that I might have a small addiction to sports . . . and I won’t disagree. God can reach us any time and any place! 



I am NRVC: Sister Michael Francine Duncan, S.S.M.O.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry? 

I have been with NRVC since 2006 but involved in vocation ministry since 2000. Currently I'm the vocation director for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

Do you work with a team?

The S.S.M.O. community has a Vocation Committee that faithfully meets monthly. As vocation director I plan, schedule, and coordinate events within the community, and committee members assist wherever and whenever they can. 

Our committee of 11 sisters prays each morning for vocations at our Mass. We attend diocesan events as our time allows to promote vocations, and we promote vocation ideas to the community.  

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Being part of NRVC is essential to our vocation work. The resources of NRVC are incredibly valuable; the classes are superb. I love meeting with vocation directors from other communities, and it's great to compare stories. It helps me know how connected we are in our mutual experiences.

What idea have you used lately that you're excited about?

We have three younger sisters who have taken over the Twitter account. They've given it a more vital and fun feel. The community's idea is that the younger sisters have to have a lot of input as they will inherit the ministry.

Any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

My advice is get to the NRVC classes as soon as possible. They really give people a road map to vocation work. 

What do you find most rewarding  in vocation work?

It is really all rewarding and the work of God. I love best working with other communities and feeling support from them. Go Pacific Northwest!

Would you like to share a "fun fact" about yourself?

I attended Woodstock in 1969!



I am NRVC: Sister Stephanie Spandl, S.S.N.D.

What kind of ministry did you do prior to vocations?

My ministry over the past 25 years has primarily been accompanying refugees and immigrants by providing mental health and cultural adjustment services and educating other social workers about how to work effectively with this population. I’m now completing my third year in vocation ministry.

Tell us about your vocation team.

I am part of a vocation team of five for the United States and Canada. We have a director and four other ministers who meet as a team via video conference monthly and in-person three or four times a year. Although one of us may take the lead in a particular region, we mix and match our duties depending on availability and our specific gifts.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you? 

Being a member of NRVC has been a great gift! I really can’t imagine coming into this ministry without being a part of NRVC. The orientation, ethics, and behavioral assessment trainings were essential for learning how to get started in this ministry, and the ongoing input via the biennial convocation and HORIZON are very helpful.  

What I value most are the ongoing relationships and networkingthe ideas, the collaborative efforts, the mutual support, and of course the fun we have when together! 

What ideas have you used in vocation ministry lately that have been exciting?

One of things I’m most excited about is our collaboration with the Youth in Theology and Ministry Program (YTM) out of St. John’s University in Minnesota.  YTM is so committed to creating a culture of vocation and nurturing the leadership and faith development of young people. They partner creatively with religious communities, and I’m looking forward to spending a week with them this summer and having some of the youth visit our motherhouse in Mankato for their presentations. 

I’m also excited and intrigued by the possibilities of online outreach and interactions. We have now offered one Advent and one Lent online interactive retreat for women. The retreats provided reflection materials and paired retreatants with sisters for weekly one-to-one spiritual companionship by phone, Skype, or in-person. It has allowed us to reach a greater variety of women than we would otherwise, both generationally and geographically. Also it has become another way for us to involve our sisters and use their gifts.  

Would you like to share a "fun fact" about yourself?

I still take opportunities that present themselves to enjoy a bit of dancing! This summer I celebrate my silver jubilee; it is the highlight of my year! I love making music and dancing. I sing and play the guitar, mostly in church. Years ago, when studying in Spain, I studied Flamenco dance and later performed for two years in Minnesota with the Dolina Polish Folk Dancers before entering the S.S.N.D.s.



I am NRVC: Sister Mary O'Donovan, O.Carm.

Sister Mary O'Donovan, O.Carm.

Sister Mary O’Donovan, O.Carm. is a vocation director for the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged & Infirm and co-coordinator of the Hudson Valley member area of NRVC. She has a masters in social work and is a psychotherapist by profession.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Almost four years.

Tell us about your vocation team.

In my community I am the vocation director for our communities throughout the United States and Ireland. I am a member of a formation team consisting of a postulant director, novice director, and two members of the leadership team of our congregation.

Has it been helpful to belong to NRVC?

Being a member of NRVC has been very beneficial. As a co-coordinator of the Hudson Valley member area, I had the privilege of working closely with NRVC in helping organize the recent convocation in Buffalo, New York. They are a great team, full of fun, enthusiasm, and  energy—true advocates for religious vocations. I have been able to network with many members to share their wisdom and insight.

What ideas have you used lately that excite you?

We use social media, Instagram, and Facebook accounts to promote our community. We have a Vocation Steering Committee, consisting of sisters from various communities throughout the United States and Ireland. We meet regularly to discuss vocation events and more in each diocese. Discerners have an opportunity to attend an annual discernment retreat at our motherhouse in Germantown, New York. We have SALT volunteer program (Serving the Aged Lovingly Today) twice a year for young adults, ages 18-40. I love interacting with young adults and experiencing their faith and joy as they discern God’s will for them.

Tell us a fun fact or two about yourself.

I come from County Tipperary, Ireland and play the tin whistle. In vocation work, you have to have a keen sense of humor, which I have. I love walking, hiking, nature, photography and journal writing.

Please name one thing that inspires you as a sister.

I am inspired by God’s faithfulness and the joy of being in relationship with Him. His ability to work in me to do amazing things never ceases to surprise me.



I am NRVC: Sister Colleen Brady, O.S.F.

For almost five years Sister Colleen Brady, O.S.F. has been a vocation minister for her community, the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, New York, and she serves as an NRVC member area coordinator for the Deep South member area.

Are you part of a vocation team? If so, how does your community divide up roles within vocation ministry?

No, but I do work closely with our formation director and congregational leadership.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

Yes, it's been absolutely helpful! Belonging to NRVC has benefited me from the first convocation (which was informative and supportive) on to the orientation program with its practical sample forms, policies, and comprehensive information on vocation ministry.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

I am the mother of three grown children—two sons, one of whom resides in China, and a daughter—and five grandchildren, the oldest of whom will be graduating from high school this June.

What do you find challenging and what do you find rewarding in vocation work?

It is a very challenging time in our church with many young people having no religious affiliation and little home faith formation. They are not even aware of the possibility of religious life.  

I find it very rewarding to walk with women in discernment. It can be challenging at times, but it is a privilege to be able to listen deeply and to help the women listen to God’s loving call in their lives.



I am NRVC: Sister Regina Hlavac, D.C.

Sister Regina Hlavac, D.C. is a vocation director for the Daughters of Charity and co-coordinator of the Mid-Atlantic member area of NRVC. 

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry? 

I am a “recycled” vocation director, so I have been involved in the ministry for about nine years total.

Tell us about your vocation team.

In my community, I am one of three vocation directors for the entire United States. I am responsible for approximately 14 states in the mid-Atlantic area and in states to the north and south, along with Montreal.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Absolutely! I really enjoy the people of NRVC. They are awesome! I also like the programs, the articles in the newsletter, the classes that are offered, the meetings, the convention and just the great fun we have when we are together. The support is wonderful, especially from Sister Debbie.

What ideas have you used lately that excite you? 

We use a lot of social media in our ministry to be in touch with our discerners. However, I am really partial to direct contact and interaction with the women. Face-to-face works the best for me. We also conduct Zoom discerner meetings once a month, focusing on a general topic decided ahead of time. It gives discerners and us a chance to share for the hour. Of course, the basic “Come and See” retreats and “Search and Serve” have been fun times as well.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I  was the only “girl” baseball player who played on the “all boys” Little League baseball team when I was in elementary school. I love sports to this day.

My hobbies are playing the guitar and gardening; I am a “tree hugger.” I love our common home, Mother Earth, and will do much to help to protect her.

Please name one thing that inspires you as a sister.

I love when community members reach out to each other and discerners with compassion and respect. I also think having a sense of humor goes a long way. 

Reach Sister Regina at regina.hlavac@doc.org. 



I am NRVC: Mr. Gregory Darr

Gregory Darr with his wife and daughters.

Gregory Darr is a lay staff member with the Vocation Ministries Team of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. He currently serves NRVC as a member area coordinator for the Upper Midwest.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry? 

I've been a full-time member of our Vocation Ministries Team since January 2016. Vocation ministry was, however, always an important part of my earlier work as a Maryknoll regional director of mission education and promotion—a role I served in for about 15 years out of our communities in Minneapolis and Chicago.

Are you part of a vocation team?  

Our Maryknoll Vocation Ministries Team includes our director of vocations, Father Mike Snyder, M.M.; Father Joe Donovan, M.M., a Maryknoll priest in the Los Angeles area; two extraordinary administrative assistants, Linda Lynch and Norma Araujo; and three Maryknoll priests and brothers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America who are attentive to men in local churches where we serve abroad who express an interest in becoming Maryknoll missioners.

I have, through the years also served on diocesan vocation teams in Chicago, Detroit, Joliet, Milwaukee, St. Cloud, St. Louis, and St. Paul-Minneapolis.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful? 

My participation in NRVC has benefited me beyond measure.  I have, first of all, been inspired and mentored by so many extraordinary women and men from diverse religious communities.  

In addition my initial training in behavioral assessment was foundational for me in beginning this ministry. Subsequent workshops and training have further instilled not only professional competencies but also ethical sensitivities. In accompanying any person who is grappling with meaningful life questions that surround discernment, I am more comfortable removing now, metaphorically, my sandals because the narrative ground of each person's life story I encounter in discernment is indeed holy. It deserves and calls forth the best in me professionally and personally.  

What idea(s) have you used in vocation ministry lately that excite you?  

Inspired by Pope Francis and the experience of our own Maryknollers, I tend now to work more from a spiritual and personal perspective of a three-stage process of vocational awareness: "Called," "Sent," and "Transformed."  Each of these stages embodies a unique mix of spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and behavioral attributes that, in any vocation, should ideally foster a maturity of Christian vocation toward an enduring witness of love and joy.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself. 

I am married and have two wonderful high-school-age daughters. There was a point in our young life as a family when the four of us held three different nationalities. (My wife was a citizen of the Philippines. Our adoptive daughter was a Chinese national. Our birth daughter and I are U.S. born.)

Are there aspects of the ministry in which being a layperson helps? 

I feel fortunate that Maryknoll recognizes the unique perspectives that lay men and women can bring to those who are discerning lives as missionary priests, brothers, and sisters. I am, for example, a married father of two with years of experience in cross-cultural mission. I also have an academic background in counseling and human relationships. While I am not in a position to model the vocation of missionary priest, brother, or sister, I can bring professional and personal experience in accompanying those facing meaningful life questions such as, "What do I sense God calling me toward?" and  "How can I grow, thrive, and love from any commitment that will ultimately face its tests?" 

Our Maryknoll priests, brothers, and sisters will also, no doubt, serve in mission and live almost entirely among laity of different cultures and backgrounds. The voice of skilled laypeople in discerning the readiness of a person to enter formation can help in assessing a candidate's ability to thrive in their future mission among laity. In the end, I've come to realize that our best Maryknoll priests and brothers are those who, if they had experienced a different call, would have made wonderful husbands and fathers. The gifts common to these seemingly disparate vocations are those I hope to see a person unwrap in his life so he can share them generously with the world as a Maryknoller.



I am NRVC: Brother Chris Patiño, F.S.C.

Brother Chris Patiño, F.S.C. has been director of vocation ministry for the De La Salle Christian Brothers, District of San Francisco New Orleans for three years. In addition he is the West Coast member area co-coordinator for NRVC. 

How does your community divide up roles for vocation ministry?

Our current vocation team is comprised of five members (four brothers and one laywoman). Given that we are accompanying and supporting 21 ministries and 17 brothers’ communities, the four brothers on the vocation team split up the schools and communities by geography. This allows us to more directly support schools in fostering a culture of vocation, provide a brother’s presence when needed, and maintain regular communication. It also allows us to assist our brothers’ communities in local vocation ministry efforts.

The layperson on the team is responsible for youth ministry programming at the district level, and so we are able to mutually support youth and vocation ministry efforts so that there is integration of these formative efforts. The team meets monthly and is able to discuss efforts to promote a culture of vocation within all of our schools. Finally, in terms of discerners, while the director of vocation ministry is the one primarily responsible for their accompaniment, this is also done collaboratively and in a way that encourages the participation of all brothers and those engaged in vocation ministry at the local level, i.e., campus ministers, teachers, etc.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you? 

Membership in NRVC has been a great gift. The professional development resources and programs provide great support and encourage our own ongoing ministerial development. The quality programming and resources help vocation directors/teams stay engaged with wider vocation ministry efforts in the church, encourage collaboration, and provide the necessary data that helps one discern how to best respond to those discerning a religious vocation.

What approaches have you used in vocation ministry lately that you have been excited about?

 The use of technology has been very exciting. We recently embarked on a “docu-series” that involves filming the vocation stories of various brothers and sharing them via YouTube. This has been well received by many audiences and gives young people and others a glimpse into religious life as a De La Salle Christian Brother.

I also appreciate our emphasis on accompanying discerners to professionally and pastorally help them discern their call.

Lastly, being able to bring young adults together for discernment opportunities is very encouraging and I think a great gift to the church.

What’s a fun fact about you that you’d like to share?

 I am a big Los Angeles Dodgers fan!

What do you find challenging and what do you find rewarding in vocation work?

I would describe the challenge and rewarding aspect as the same: It takes time! It is very rewarding to be able to accompany someone on their vocational journey and yet it can be challenging because it means it is a long-term commitment. Sometimes this commitment will lead a person toward a vocation with us and sometimes (many times) it will help them discover their vocation is elsewhere. Yet I have often been much at peace with whatever discerners decide and grateful to have been part of their discernment.

Contact Brother Chris at brochrisfsc@dlsi.



I am NRVC: Sister Angela Gertsema, A.S.C.J.

Sister Angela Gertsema, A.S.C.J. 
Photo Courtesy of A Nun's Life Ministry

What is your role in vocation ministry?

I am the vocation director for the United States Province of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

This is my first year serving as vocation director.

Has it made a difference in your life to belong to NRVC?

NRVC has been helpful in providing resources, training, and support. It is an uplifting group that collaborates for the needs of the church. I love being a part of it!

What wisdom have you gathered so far about being involved in vocations work?

Be patient, learn from others, depend on the Holy Spirit's guidance, and BE NOT AFRAID!

What have you found most challenging and most rewarding?

The most challenging is to be totally detached and patient. The most rewarding is journeying with young people who are so inspiring and open to God's will.

Reach Sister Angela at agertsema@ascjus.org.



I am NRVC: Father Rocco Puopolo, S.X.

What roles do you play?

I'm the vocation director for the Xavierian Missionaries as well as our local community coordinator. Within NRVC, I'm the co-coordinator for the New England member area. 

How long have you been in vocation ministry? 

Seven years.

Are you part of a team?

Yes, we have two full-time vocation ministers together with two confreres who had once been involved in vocation ministry as well as a member of our sister community, the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary. We meet two or three times each year to review and plan our vocation service.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

Besides finding quality material and workshops to enhance my ministry, I have met wonderful colleagues from other communities who bring zeal, hope, and joy to this service to our communities.  

What approach have you used lately that you found exciting?

Recently the New England member area sponsored a presentation and panel discussion on themes for the upcoming synod on youth and discernment. We promoted it throughout all the New England colleges. Although only 45 people attended in person, over 700 followed the program on Facebook Live! And by the next weekend another 300 had viewed the program on Facebook.

What's a fun fact about you that you'd like to share?

I joined the Xaverian Missionaries in the hope of going to Asia where St. Francis Xavier served and where we were in our beginnings. I did not want to be a classroom teacher. That said, I ended up being missioned to Africa, and after three years of part-time teaching, I became the superintendent of schools for our diocese. But it all worked out in the end!

What do you find most challenging, and what is most rewarding?

The challenge for me is to trust the spirit of the Lord who works in so many young men and women. The One who is doing the calling is not me! The reward in vocation work is to be with so many spirit-filled persons, attentive to that call and that spirit. It is a great place to be. 



I am NRVC: Sister Christine Still, O.S.F.

What is your role in vocation ministry?

I’m the charism promoter for my community. I promote our Franciscan charism, facilitate discernment of vocation, and encourage and support all vocations for men and women: vowed, lay, and ordained.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Ten and a half years. I was in vocation ministry from 2003-2007 and then from 2011 until today.

Has belonging to NRVC been helpful?

Yes, it’s provided me with training, information, support, and relationships with others in this ministry. Vocation ministry, due to its confidential nature and the number of people entering, can feel a bit lonely, but the relationships with others in this ministry are very supportive and energizing.

Sister Christine takes her own advice about relaxing and makes a visit to Olympic National Park.

What ideas have you used lately that excite you?

We’ve been focusing on sharing our charism, especially with adults, rather than on recruiting. We’ve also adapted the Busy Person’s Retreat for use with employees, co-workers, students, parishioners, and more. We have shared the Franciscan Busy Person Retreat with another Franciscan congregation for their use as well. Additionally, eight Franciscan congregations came together to create a one-page ad for VISION Vocation Guide, and four of those same congregations collaborated on a booth at the National Catholic Youth Conference. This sharing of resources and ideas has been fruitful in many ways.

Do you have any words of wisdom for newcomers to vocation ministry?

1. Stay connected with others in this ministry. 2. Take care of yourself; say no and take a day off. 3. Don't rely only on numbers entering your congregation to measure success. If we help people find their vocation, whether or not it's to vowed or ordained life, we have succeeded.

What do you find most rewarding and most challenging?

What’s challenging is old “tapes” of diminishing membership which have not been accurate for 18 years and competition between different styles of communities, leading to misunderstanding and misinformation. However, what has been most rewarding has been building relationships with other congregations and vocation directors and learning about other charisms in order to better advise discerners.

Contact Sister Christine at cstill@osfphila.org.



I am NRVC: Sister Maryanne Tracey, S.C.

Sister Maryanne Tracey, S.C. is the director of vocation and formation for the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth. It's her second time around in this ministry, having served from 1993 to 2003, including a stint on the NRVC Board. She dove back into vocation ministry in 2014 and is a co-coordinator for the Hudson Valley member area of NRVC.

Do you work with a team?

I have a Vocation Advisory Board, which is very helpful, a part-time staff member who works with social media, and many times I have an intern as well. In addition I have very good support from leadership.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

NRVC has been extremely helpful. Their workshops and orientation programs for new members are very professional and of the highest quality. The same is true of the convocation, which is always relevant to what is happening in the world of vocations.

Most recently, I took part in the Vocation Ambassadors Program and found it exceptionally helpful to my staff and intern who attended it with me. The information, skills, professionalism, and interaction was invaluable. In addition, I always find the staff of NRVC helpful and personable. 

What have you tried lately that you have been excited about?

As a result of the Vocation Ambassadors Program we have been able to upgrade our Facebook page with a new and attractive look.

We also host a program for college women that we call “Supper and Story.” We invite college women to the motherhouse for pizza and make-your-own sundaes, and a sister tells her vocation story. It is always well-received.

Last year we published a series of podcasts internally for our sisters, and this year we hope to make them public. Lastly, we recently started a "ministry of presence" at the College of Saint Elizabeth. Students come in groups of 10-15, and we hope to have five sisters sit with them to share conversation.

What do you find most rewarding and most challenging in vocation work?

The most rewarding for me is the privilege and honor to talk about my congregation, our history, our wonderful sisters, and the ministries we have been involved in for almost 160 years. Most recently I have been able to work with young interns, and it is always a joy when they are pleasantly surprised to learn something new about sisters.

The challenge is that it takes a lot of energy and creativity. I am always trying to think of new ways to repackage our charism so it is attractive and appealing to diverse groups.



I am NRVC: Sister Marie Mackey, C.S.J.

Sister Marie Mackey's community is the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, New York, a Diocesan religious community serving primarily the Brooklyn and Rockville Centre Diocese, as well as Puerto Rico. Her roles include being co-coordinator of NRVC's Hudson Valley member area. She has also been active in the Vocation Ambassador Program sponsored by NRVC the past two summers. In addition, she is a young adult minister.

How long have you been in vocation ministry?

I have been a Congregational Vocation Director for two years, although I have been involved on a vocation committee for about 10 years.

Has it helped you to belong to NRVC?

NRVC is a blessing to me. I have met so many vocation directors and learned so much about vocation ministry from being active in the various member areas. The support and professional development that NRVC provides is outstanding!

What are some things you've learned from this ministry?

I have learned about the importance of presence. Being available to others to listen and journey with them is a unique and profound experience.

Any words of wisdom for others who do this work?

Be patient. God is doing something new in you and in religious life.

Your biggest challenge?

At times it can be isolating and overwhelming, especially if you are a one-person vocation office. Determining where to place your energy takes time. Relationships with others are crucial.

What's most rewarding?

I find so many aspects of this ministry rewarding; however, meeting such good people who are discerning where God is moving in their lives gives me great hope for the future of religious life and for the world.



I am NRVC: Brother Christopher Cheney, O.C.S.O.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Since 2013 I've been involved in vocations for my community, Our Lady of New Clairvaux Abbey in Vina, California. 

Are you part of a vocation team? 

Teamwork is essential to our vocation ministry. In addition to our Formation Committee, which has oversight of the vocation office, I also take part in a vocation promotion team with Brother Guerric Llanes, our director of social media, and with a lay friend of the monastery who has experience in communications and marketing.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you? If so, please tell how.

Being a member of NRVC has been an invaluable help! First of all attending the new vocation director workshop provided an excellent foundation; I would highly recommend it to anyone beginning vocation ministry. I continue to use the NRVC office as a resource, both for current vocations data and for questions that come up, such as student debt relief. 

What have you tried lately that you're excited about?

As a cloistered contemplative community we need help in getting our invitation out to potential candidates. We have formed an Abbey Vocation Volunteer Network (AVVN) of volunteer supporters to promote us in their local parish or other setting.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

Be patient and pray always in readiness to surrender to God’s will. Expect miracles. 



I am NRVC: Father Leandro Fossá, C.S.

Father Leandro Fossá, C.S.

What is your role in vocation ministry?

I am a Missionary of Saint Charles Borromeo, or a Scalabrinian. My focus is primarily on the United States and Canada, but I am also part of the council from my province and in charge of formation for two provinces at the moment.

My vocation team is the other vocation directors that I share ideas and formation with. One vocation director is in Haiti, another vocation director is in Colombia, another is in Guatemala, and two are in Mexico. We have developed a plan for vocation ministry together considering the cultural realities of each country. However, each of us is solo and we report straight to our provincials. 

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I have been a vocation director since October 11, 2012. 

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful? 

Yes. I have participated in NRVC meetings, and my Southern California area has been tremendously supportive, spiritually and emotionally. The space created by the NRVC meetings helps me because it is the only moment I find people who go through the same problems, circumstances, and joyful realities I go through in vocation ministry. Mark McGuthrie, a former vocation director of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit,  helped me in the beginning to settle, organize, and respect the value of  vocation ministry. I met him at NRVC meetings, and we organized events and vocation fairs together. 

What ideas have you used in vocation ministry lately that excite you?

I go back to the idea that our inspiration is Jesus Christ; young folks have to be attracted by him. We can't sell ourselves short trying to convince those who do not have a personal relationship with the Lord.

Additionally I believe in always being honest and faithful about our charism and religious community. I believe our spiritual life is our main strength, and I think we need to believe in what we do. We need to believe we represent the church. We cannot fixate on "results."

Guided by these ideas my ministry has become much less stressful. I accompany a lot of youth and young adult groups. I have stopped focusing on trying to speak about vocation and “sell” my religious congregation. Now I try to be present to young people, share when I have an opportunity, and show what God has done in my life as a religious. To “do vocation work without talking about vocations” has helped me grow in freedom and satisfaction in my vocation director journey. 

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

You are not alone. It is good to count on a group that does the same as you are doing to support your ministry. Take care of yourself because no one else will:  find moments for prayer, retreats, and leisure.

What do you find most rewarding and most challenging in vocation work?

The most rewarding aspect of vocation ministry is the contact with the young people. I find young men and women who are authentic, believe in God’s kingdom, and give me lots of hope for the future of our Catholic Church.

The biggest challenge is my religious community. The culture of vocation is not in the heart of my brothers, and what disheartens me is that young religious do not have the passion and desire to work with youth and young adults in their ministries. If we would only show the joy of belonging to a religious community, those who see us would respond.



I am NRVC: Friar Charles Johnson, O.P.

Friar Charlie Johnson, O.P. with sisters who serve in vocation ministry.  Sister Rocio, F.Sp.S. (visitor from Mexico), Sister Ana Cecilia Montalvo, F.Sp.S., and Sister Alicia Macias, M.C.M. were with Johnson on a radio show about vocations at Guadalupe Radio in San Antonio in January 2017.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I have been director of vocations for my province, the Province of Saint Martin de Porres, since May 2014.

Are you part of a vocation team or a one-person operation?

I am a one-person operation. Still, as I remind my brother friars, we are all “vocation promoters”! 

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Membership in the NRVC has been a very positive experience for me and my religious order. The sense of community and collaboration in NRVC supports me, especially the way women’s and men’s communities share wisdom and joy and offer mutual support. In addition I have benefited greatly from several NRVC workshops offered during the Summer and Fall Institutes.

What ideas have you used in vocation ministry lately that excite you?

After nearly 10 years of service in Latin America, I am convinced that religious life in the United States must provide leadership in drawing the church outward to accompany and serve the poor and marginalized, reinvigorate our society with gospel joy and confidence, and offer a Christ-like witness against the currents of despair, hatred, and violence so prevalent in our world today. That is our essence. That is our mission. Our vocation ministry must promote it.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

Always strive to ensure that vocation ministry is a pastoral endeavor to help others, especially youth and young adults, come to maturity in faith through an authentic relationship with Christ and the people they encounter. As a result, they can discover the path that God beckons them to follow in life. Be creative, joyful, and hope-filled.   

What do you find most rewarding and most challenging in vocation work?

Working with college students and young adults has presented experiences that call me to greater flexibility. It's also made me question habitual ways of thinking and acting. The challenges are real, but when we meet them, the rewards are even greater.



I am NRVC: Angie Giuffrè

What roles do you play in your community?

I'm an associate and the Sisters of Mercy vocations promotions assistant. In that role I have presented at a member area meeting of NRVC on social media. 

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

As a Mercy Associate I have been involved in vocation ministry for over 20 years, but officially I've held my current position for 10 years. For many years prior to that, I was on a vocation team made up of sisters and myself, and we helped the vocation director in various ways. 

I became quite involved with the Internet in the early '90s and started a chat room with one of the vocation ministers. Social media became a tool I used to promote religious life and the Sisters of Mercy.

Then, 10 years ago,  the leadership team essentially created a position and hired me. It was not anything I could have ever imagined happening. My children were grown and my husband has always been very supportive, so the timing was perfect for a position that involves travel.

Do you currently work as part of a team?

I am blessed to be part of a team of four consisting of our incorporation minister, two vocation ministers, and me. We are also connected to all the incorporation and vocation ministers in the Sisters of Mercy. We have great support among us.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

Being a member of NRVC has been wonderfully helpful. It is always good to share information and experiences among those in the ministry, and NRVC gives us the opportunity to hear from each other through publications, social media, member area meetings, and the convocation. NRVC offers great support and education. 

What ideas have you used lately that excite you?

We are always looking for ways to connect with young women. Lately we are taking "old" ideas, such as programs in our Mercy schools and universities, and updating and adapting them. Sometimes the old becomes new again!

Do you have any words of wisdom for people new to this ministry?

One of our foundress' statements that speaks to vocation ministry is, "You must "waste" time with people. A good beginning is of great importance."  

What do you find most challenging, and what is most rewarding?

It's always a challenge to do all that we would like to do if only time allowed. The most rewarding aspects of the ministry are getting to know so many people and getting to be part of the journey of those sensing a call to religious life. 

Contact her at mercymag@yahoo.com.



I am NRVC: Sister Mary Teresita Richards, S.N.D.

What roles do you play in vocation ministry?

I'm vocation director for the Sisters of Notre Dame, and I am also a coordinator for the NRVC Lake Erie/Ohio River member area.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Four years. 

How is your vocation team set up?

Five of us are in vocation ministry across the four SND provinces in the United States.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

It has been helpful to be able to collaborate with many different types of religious communities and to learn from their experiences. The workshops have also been very helpful and have given me the confidence and skills needed to do my ministry. 

What ideas have you used in vocation ministry lately that excite you?

Currently I am excited by the possibilities of social media as we try to connect with young adults.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

Don't get overly excited when someone expresses interest in religious life. Warmly welcome their questions and provide opportunities for them to engage with religious, but always be alert and vigilant in assessing if they have the skills and inner freedom needed to live religious life.

What do you find most rewarding in this ministry?

It is rewarding to meet so many who are attuned to the Holy Spirit's working in their life.



I am NRVC: Father Joe Nassal, C.PP.S.

Father Joe Nassal, C.PP.S. is a Missionary of the Precious Blood. He is provincial director of the Kansas City Province. For several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s he was vocation director for the community. He is also a contributor to HORIZON and has offered workshops and a retreat for the NRVC.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Vocation ministry is the call and challenge of all members of our congregation. By this measure, I have been involved in vocation ministry for more than 40 years, including before my profession and ordination.

I have been in leadership in my province for 22 years, the past six years as provincial director, so I have worked closely with our vocation team. When I was vocation director, we developed a team that included members and lay men and women who were associates with the community.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful? 

NRVC has been a source of insight, encouragement, enlightenment, challenge, and support. I find the articles in HORIZON extremely valuable in sharing creative ideas for vocation ministry that meet the signs of these times. As a member of CMSM (Conference of Major Superiors of Men) it is always helpful to meet with other provincials and religious leaders—many of whom used to be or currently are involved in vocation ministry—for support and the sharing of ideas.

What idea(s) have you used in vocation ministry lately that you have been excited about? 

The article in a recent issue of HORIZON concerning the “vocation impact of full-time volunteering” resonated with me, as the director of our volunteer program and our vocation team work in close collaboration. 

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

It is essential that vocation ministers have a good support system of friends and “truth tellers” who will keep us honest, support us in those difficult times, and challenge us in times when we might become complacent. A wise spiritual companion is also very important for the journey.



I am NRVC: Sister Celeste Mokrzycki, S.S.J.

What roles do you play in vocation ministry?

I'm co-director of vocations for the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia, and I'm co-coordinator of Delaware Valley member area.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

As soon as I entered the congregation I became involved in vocation ministry because I shared my vocation story and the joy of religious life with students in schools, friends, parishioners, and those I encountered along the way. Vocation ministry just became full-time when I became a co-director two years ago.  

What do you enjoy most about being in vocation ministry?

My best moments as a vocation director come when students, young adults, or discerners begin to recognize, claim, and live their call wherever that takes them. Seeing them blossom and seeing my own self-growth are gifts in this sacred journey of discovering God’s and our own deepest desires.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful ?

At times vocation ministry can both bless and overwhelm since so much of what we do cannot be shared with others, is unique to each person we encounter, and doesn’t always have a visible tangible “fruitfulness.”  Participation in NRVC workshops and the conferences provides me with the training and education that helps me feel a little more competent in approaching this mystery of vocation discernment.

When we meet as a Delaware Valley member area, I am inspired by the openness of my companions and their willingness to share their joys and frustrations while we continue to work together on collaborative events and enjoy each other. Additionally, it is reassuring to know that Sister Debbie Borneman and the NRVC staff are only an email away when I have a question or problem that needs additional insight and advice. 

What have been your best vocation efforts?

Michelle Lesher, S.S.J. and I are meeting with regional groups of 10-15 congregational members  to begin a dialogue about two critical issues raised in the NRVC booklet, "Vocation Culture: Reflection to Action." Those issues are establishing boundaries and clear identities as women religious and encouraging all members to be inviters. (Editor's note: Members can download this discussion booklet for free, or anyone purchase a printed copy in the store at nrvc.net.)

In our gatherings we reflect on our own call, the charism, and whether God and the world still need our witness. We talk together about the importance of being more intentional in sharing our life, opening our spaces and lives so others may become more familiar with us. We also explore what may keep us from inviting new members and how to invite in a respectful and encouraging manner. Being in such a significant conversation with our sisters has been energizing for us all!

Another exciting venture is the collaboration of all the vocation directors from our U.S. and Canada federation. We are meeting to unite our vocation ministry by working toward common messages and a common website, being one presence at major conferences, organizing some collaborative programs, sharing resources, and striving toward a unified formation process. This is energizing because becoming one is at the heart of our charism and is being made visible by our collaboration.



I am NRVC: Mr. Len Uhal, Divine Word Missionaries

What roles do you play in your ministry, and how have you been involved in NRVC?

I'm the national vocation director for the Divine Word Missionaries. In addition I'm the current co-coordinator for the Heartland member area. I've also participated in one of the past symposiums sponsored by NRVC, the Moving Forward in Hope Project, and I have written for HORIZON. I have taken part in five convocations and numerous NRVC workshops.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry? 

I started full time in 2003, so I'm into my 14th year.

What do you enjoy most about this ministry? 

The most enjoyable and most humbling part of vocation ministry is walking with an individual in his discernment. The phone calls, emails, text messages, visits to their home, hosting men at our formation houses and mission sites, listening to their personal stories, their joys and struggles, their spiritual journey and sharing my story with them and the passion I feel for the S.V.D. charism and mission … those are all the most enjoyable parts of vocation ministry!

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

My NRVC membership has been incredibly helpful, primarily by facilitating opportunities for professional development, but, more importantly, enabling me to develop relationships with colleagues in this ministry for effective collaboration, networking, support, and friendship.

What has been your best vocation effort?

Our best “vocation effort” does not belong to one program or technique, but rather a collection of many different efforts that have changed over time and an attitude that we must be proactive in vocation ministry and not sit back and wait for the phone to ring. “Shaking the bushes” or “knocking on doors” and attempting to contact every referral has proven helpful. Animating our members, establishing referral sources, attending events, and having a social media presence are all important, but having a vocation team that works together for a common goal is incredibly important.



I am NRVC: Sister Christopher Marie Wagner, O.S.F.

What roles do you play in vocation ministry?

I'm located in Aston, Pennsylvania and I'm one of two vocation promoters for Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. Also I'm currently co-coordinator of the NRVC Delaware Valley member area.

How long have you been in vocation work?

Three years.

What's your favorite part of the ministry?

I enjoy meeting young women and men who are curious about religious life and are considering it as a possibility for their life.

Has belonging to NRVC been helpful?

Yes, being an active member of NRVC has been a great support since I began this ministry. The members in my area have been so encouraging and helpful as we share our experiences at our meetings, in phone conversations, and by working together on group-sponsored events and in peer supervision. Their enthusiasm and energy are contagious and carry me through the challenging times. Also the NRVC Convocations in 2014 and 2016 have opened up a wealth of resources that address issues in vocation ministry.

What has been your best vocation effort so far?

My best vocation effort has been working with our community vocation committee, a group of dedicated sisters who live on both the East and the West Coast. The work we have created for our congregation fits into our chapter directives of 2014, and our efforts are bearing fruit in a growing awareness of the need for individual ownership of the vocation endeavor.

Contact Sister Chris at cwagner@osfphila.org or 610-558-6789.



I am NRVC: Father Tom McCarthy, O.S.A.

What roles do you have in vocation ministry?

I'm one of three vocation directors for my congregation, the Order of St. Augustine. I also just became a member of the NRVC editorial board.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Eight years.

What do you enjoy most about this ministry?

I really enjoy sharing with discerners what I love: my Augustinian life. As I speak about our life as Augustinians it makes me reflect on the gift it has been and is to me and so many others. It is an absolute joy walking with young (and not so young) men as they anxiously search for God's will in their lives. Their excitement is contagious!

 Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

Yes. I've found the workshops I've attended, especially as a new vocation director, to be very helpful and encouraging. I also really enjoy reading about timely topics and the experiences of other members in the NRVC publications. 

What has been your best vocation outreach effort?

The Vocation Culture Project that my community started four years ago. Each year we produce a poster with pictures and other information about our men in formation. We hand it out in every one of our parishes and schools. We produce large versions for bulletin boards and such, but the unique part is that we hand out 30,000 small home-sized posters for everyone to take home to display and use as a prayer tool. We ask people to pray for the men on the poster, themselves, and all young people they know who are still discerning their vocational call.  We ask for prayers that all might be faithful.

What are your most important internal efforts for vocations?

A key to our vocational ministry is asking all our communities and individual friars to pray, invite, and encourage. We also ask our communities to open wide the doors of our friaries to welcome people in and experience our Augustinian religious life.

Reach Father Tom at frtomosa@stritahs.com.



I am NRVC: Sister Mary Yun, O.P.

What roles do you play in vocation ministry?

I'm the vocation director for my community, the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. In addition I'm one of the coordinators for the West Coast member area.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

After I made my perpetual profession in August 2015 I became the vocation director. Before that I was on our vocation team for two years, mainly helping at discernment weekends and making flyers for events.

What do you enjoy most about this ministry?

I greatly enjoy accompanying young women on their sacred journey to deepen their sense of self and find out how they are called. I am always amazed at the work of the Holy Spirit leading the process. It is a privilege to be part of their journey.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Yes, I met some wonderful vocation directors when I took summer classes in 2014. I am still in touch with many of them. In fact a small group of us created a Peer Supervision Group, and we have been meeting for almost two years. Being a member helps me to be updated in this ministry and keeps me active. I like belonging to a professional organization where I can get the support I need.

What have been some of your best vocation efforts?

One thing going well for me is meeting online (on Zoom) with groups of discerners once a month. I also meet with them individually, but the Zoom meetings let them share their stories with fellow discerners and compare notes. It provides additional support for those who may feel they are making this journey alone. Meeting online is convenient as it fits most people’s schedules, and we do not need to travel.

In terms of internal vocation efforts, many sisters in my community are curious about how I spend my days. To help them be part of the ministry, I send them a monthly e-newsletter. Last March Sister Deborah Borneman, SS.C.M. did an in-service for my community about contemporary vocation ministry. I also visit our local houses to talk about how best to support discerners and promote vocations. One sister commented that it is “empowering” to be included in the ministry!

Contact Sister Mary at mary@msjdominicans.org.



I am NRVC: Sister Connie Bach, P.H.J.C.

What roles do you play in your ministry?

I’m vocation director for the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ as well as co-director of our PHJC volunteer program. I also serve as co-coordinator of NRVC’s Midwest member area and as a board member for the Chicago Area Vocation Association.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I've been involved with our vocation ministry team a time or two in the past and returned again in late 2014.

What do you enjoy most about vocation ministry?

I enjoy meeting people, sharing the mission of the gospel, enlivening our community's charism and values, inviting people to consider a life of service, and helping them reflect on God's call in their lives. I also thrive on collaborating with other vocation ministers, sharing the joys and challenges of our lives, working together for the same purpose.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Yes, I have wonderful mentors and strong relationships with the men and women in NRVC. In a short time they have taught me a great deal about vocation ministry, about journeying with another, and about collaboration. The professional development workshops have especially benefited my own development as a vowed religious and as a vocation minister. The spiritual growth and integration that has taken root and blossomed in me through my NRVC membership has been a tremendous gift!

What has been your best vocation effort?

Being authentic with those whom I meet. When I can be my truest self and welcome another in her God-given uniqueness, I am doing the best job I can in inviting another to a life of service. People know when you are genuine. They know what really matters to you and what you hold dear. When I share my time, gifts, and talents, the Spirit does the rest of the work.

Internally our vocation team has worked very hard the last couple of years to look at our life together and ask how to make it more authentic and attractive, naming who we are and who it is we are inviting. We've answered tough questions and looked each other in the eye asking about the future of vocation promotion and invitation. We've provided a great deal of education for our sisters. And we've worked internationally with our sisters in eight other countries, some of whom no longer invite and others who are thriving.

Reach Sister Connie at connie.ss@att.net.



I am NRVC: Father Charles Frederico, S.J.

What does your ministry encompass?

I'm provincial assistant for vocation ministry for the Jesuits of the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces. My territory stretches from Maine to Georgia.  

How long have you been in vocation ministry?

I served as coordinator for the Baltimore region for three years after my ordination in 2006. Then I was appointed director. This is the end of my seventh year as director, with more to come.

What do you enjoy most?

The best part of this job is walking with the men and helping them to hear what it is Jesus might be calling them to as vocation. What a gift and a privilege. I also very much appreciate traveling around and helping our communities and apostolates to discern how to best promote the Jesuit vocation.  

Has belonging to NRVC helped you?

The programs offered by NRVC have served me extremely well in learning how to do the job, learning how to take care of myself and meeting others in the ministry. NRVC's professional development, social engagement, and prayerfulness all make the job of inviting young men to our religious life easier and more grace-filled.

What has been your best project?

My most fruitful and fun vocation event was in September 2015 when the Holy Father came to Philadelphia. Our Jesuit school St. Joseph's Prep hosted 425 kids for 47 Jesuit high schools in the U.S. and Canada. We had four nights to focus on the Holy Father's key themes of joy, mercy, and encounter. These young people were so inspired by the pope's presence, the camaraderie of their peers, the common faith they shared, and the call that each has felt deep in their hearts. They felt the fire of the Lord in their hearts and deepened their faith and commitment.

What's your approach to this ministry?

So much of our work as vocation directors is "bridge building." We help our own folks see and understand vocation in the cultural context of today; we help young men see who we are as religious priests and brothers in community; we help people see who the church is in a world disconnected from it; and we help the church to keep Christ at the core of people's lives.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

In my spare time, as a trained Culinary Institute of America chef, I use food to bring people to the table. I try to help folks see the connection between breaking bread at a meal and knowing Christ through the Eucharist. In  September 2015 I did a Cooking Channel TV show called "Holy & Hungry" on this theme (episode CCHOL-102H).



I am NRVC: Sister Jane Mary Gawlik, C.S.S.F.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

For most of my life as a Felician sister. At first I was the local vocation contact in my ministry assignments. In 2007 I was asked to join the vocation office team in the Archdiocese of San Antonio as the associate vocation director. I was a member of the NRVC and also the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors. At the same time I've been on the new membership team for my community and have worked in this area up until the present.

What do you enjoy most in vocation ministry?

There are so many aspects to enjoy about vocation ministry. I love meeting new people and sharing my life as a religious woman. I enjoy the challenges of creating programs in the archdiocese and with my community that invite young people to serve in the church. I have also discovered that collaborating with religious communities here in San Antonio has been both fruitful and enriching. I have not only gotten to meet and work with people but to enjoy so many beautiful friends as a result.  

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

I love being a member of NRVC because I have met so many wonderful people at conferences. I work with a variety of communities in the San Antonio area who are members and the support and networking is really nice. I have been enriched with opportunities to join in or help with events sponsored by NRVC.

What has been your best vocation effort?

One of the best events that we have here in San Antonio is the Life Awareness Discernment Weekend. For 10 years now religious communities in the archdiocese have collaborated to put this weekend together.  We have tweaked and refined this program, and it has surfaced many men for the diocesan priesthood as well as many men and women for consecrated religious life.

Note: Sister Jane Mary Gawlik, C.S.S.F. will be completing her service for the Archdiocese of San Antonio this summer. She hopes to keep a hand in vocation ministry in her new assignment with the Felician Sisters in New Mexico.



I am NRVC: Sister Charlene Herinckx, S.S.M.O.

What is your involvement in vocation ministry?

Right now I'm in my second term as superior general of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. I'm a lifetime member of NRVC. I've been the board director, a regional chair, and I worked on the staff for several years as coordinator of programs and projects.

How long have you been involved in vocations work?

I began in 1988 when I served in the Archdiocese of Portland’s vocation office part-time and as my community’s vocation director part-time. In 1995, I left vocation ministry temporarily. In 1999 I went to Chicago to serve in the NRVC office until 2005, at which time I was elected to serve on the leadership team of my community and as our vocation director.  

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Yes, as a vocation director, NRVC has provided valuable workshops and resources as well as opportunities for networking and learning from other vocation directors. 

What has been your best vocation effort? 

While serving in the archdiocesan vocation office, we produced a poster titled “Men and Women in Formation in the Archdiocese of Portland.” It was a big surprise to many people to see how many there were, and I think it sent out a very positive message. 

Also, working with other women religious vocation directors, we sponsored monthly discernment gatherings as well as an annual retreat. It was a great opportunity for the women discerners to meet others who were also discerning, and it was a way of introducing them to the various religious communities. 

What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

I have loved meeting with men and women who were seeking to find their mission in life. I have enjoyed visiting with them and asking “hard” questions to help them respond according to reality and not just their idealized vision of religious life. Also I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting other vocation directors. Their fervor and love of their communities and their vocations has always been inspirational to me. 



I am NRVC: Sister Cathy Bertrand, S.S.N.D.

You were the NRVC excutive director for 10 years (1992-2002). What are you doing now as a lifetime member of NRVC?

Presently I am a full-time facilitator and consultant working with religious congregations of women and men, as well as with dioceses and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  

How do you currently live out your commitment to vocations?

As a woman religious who is committed to this way of life, and working with those who are as well, how can I not be attuned to supporting ongoing efforts in looking to the future–especially regarding potential new members? 

Though the sands of this ministry have shifted and changed greatly over the years, I continue to believe that religious life is a viable and valuable option in our church and world. As I work with many congregations, vocations is an area of great impact on the viability of a community.

What have you found most rewarding about vocation ministry?

Connections and relationships! First of all the potential candidates themselves, though challenging at times, are for the most part inspiring, and often I find myself in awe when people share their experience of God and their profound desire to serve God’s people. It is a serious responsibility and also a great privilege to be in relationship with those who are discerning this way of life and to support those who are supporting their exploration.

A close second to this would be the opportunities for collaboration that were part of the ongoing experience in my time with NRVC–the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD), the leadership conferences of women and men, the bishops' conference, the Religious Formation Conference, National Coalition for Church Vocations (now closed), Serra International, J.S. Paluch, international vocation conferences, and the list could go on and on. I know that presently NRVC is adding to this list.

Finally this ministry truly challenged me to attend to what was going on within me in my response to God and God’s people. I often quote what I once read in a constitution of a men’s community: “May we never speak least about what matters most.” I cannot speak from a place of integrity if I am not engaged in an ongoing effort to integrate that which matters most.



I am NRVC: Sister June Fitzgerald, O.P.

Are you involved with any regional leadership in the NRVC?

I am the co-coordinator for NRVC Region 6 (Michigan and Ohio), and I am on the planning committee for the Vocation Ambassador Program.   

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Two years.

Are you part of a vocation team?

We are a team of three in our office. Two of us are full-time vocation ministers, Sister Pat Dual, O.P. and myself, and the third is the administrative assistant for vocations, Mary Ellen George, O.P.A. (Dominican Associate of Peace). She works part-time. 

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

I could not do my ministry if I were not a member of NRVC. I received my new vocation minister training in July 2014, and it opened up the length and breadth of this ministry. 

I have continued to meet with and be supported by three fellow vocation directors who participated in the training that summer. We meet monthly as a peer support group via video conferencing. 

The regional meetings give me timely updates on current NRVC events and publications, and they provide the support of the other members. Another benefit of membership in NRVC has been our congregation's ability to participate in the National Fund for Catholic Religious Vocations.  Last year two of our candidates received grants from this program. 

What has been your best vocation effort? 

One of the projects that yielded great fruit was the creation of a Congregational Study Guide for the Year of Consecrated Life (YCL). The guide included a variety of resources, from printed articles and books to music and videos. This guide was used by the entire congregation during the YCL. The study groups (sisters and associates) were able to share on a deep level the benefits and witness of consecrated life today. 

What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

Guiding women in their journey of discernment and seeing them grow closer to God. 



I am NRVC

Sister Mindy Welding, I.H.M.

What roles do you play in vocation ministry? 

I am director of my community's Office of Vocations, and I'm also the coordinator for Region 4.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

All together, four years. I was involved in vocation ministry in the Diocese of Scranton for three years, and now I’ve been vocation director for my congregation for one year.

Are you part of a vocation team?

We do not currently have a team, but I am a true believer that each one of us is involved in creating a culture of vocations no matter who we are, where we serve, or with whom we serve. I presently meet with three others, and we form the formation team that addresses vocations, formation, associates, and ongoing formation.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

The NRVC staff and personnel have been extremely helpful in giving us a voice, listening to our needs and concerns, and providing us updates and learning experiences. I have relished the times I've been able to attend a meeting or class and interface with my colleagues in this ministry.

What has been your best vocation effort?

My office is in our IHM Center where many of our sisters reside. I truly believe that being here is part of my ministry . . . to encourage our sisters who have had a vocation for many, many years and are living it out! Dining with the sisters, praying with them, talking with them in the halls is truly good for each of us!

We had an open house in which every sister who lived here at the center participated—that was a great shot in the arm! We also have encouraged our sisters to create their own groups wherever they live and invite young women into the convent for dinner, a movie, discussion, etc. I think our key vocation effort has to be creating and building relationships wherever we are.

The other efforts through college campuses, for me, are the best and most important so that we continue to be a face for those seeking spiritual guidance and growth. Whether or not young adults come to choose religious vowed life, the goal is to create an environment for being serious followers of the gospel.

What do you find most rewarding?

Connecting with young people and sharing aspirations and dreams and questions about prayer, religious life, discernment, and life choices.

Contact Sister Mindy at 610-547-9715 or sismindy@gmail.com.



I am NRVC

Sister Anna Maria Lionetti, R.S.H.M.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Three years. I started in February 2012, after returning from Mexico.  

How is your vocation ministry organized?

I had been working with another community member for most of the past three years, but  as of September 2015, I have been in office on my own. Our RSHM Vocation Promotion Committee will be of great support in all the vocation efforts for this coming year. The provincial team has been very supportive, and know the same will be true also of our incoming leadership team.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

NRVC has been a wonderful source of support and encouragement in my ministry. I have received much in the way of formation by attending the convocations, and these moments have helped me network and be enriched by the experience of other vocation directors. NRVC truly extends itself for us, and I look forward to future gatherings.

What vocation project has been most fruitful?

Up to now we have focused on gathering women, more or less monthly, focusing on topics we consider formative regarding different aspects of the church. These encounters have given the women information, time for silent reflection, and a chance to share the fruits of their reflections. These encounters have given us the opportunity to respectfully listen to their needs and form relationships, but above all we have given women time to pause in their busy lives. We have had an average of nine women at each gathering.

What do you enjoy the most in vocation ministry?

What I most enjoy is being with the women who come to our events. They are open to listening and receiving the gifts of the Spirit during the hours they are with us. These events put me in direct contact with the needs and the generosity of women.

I also enjoy coming together in NRVC Region 2 during the year and meeting informally with vocation directors in my area. These, too, are a source of encouragement as we share experiences and hopes regarding our ministry.

I also collaborate with our RSHM Volunteer Program.  This gives me other opportunities to meet and be with service-oriented young people.

Contact Sister Anna Maria Lionetti, R.S.H.M. at amlionetti@rshmeap.org.



I am NRVC

Mr. Chris Irr

What roles do you play in vocation ministry?

I'm the director of communications for the Xaverian brothers, and I'm the co-chair for NRVC's Region 4. In my communications role, I am the first point of contact with men inquiring about vocations. I also participate in NRVC on behalf of the congregation and lobby leadership for a focus on vocations. That is, I try to help leadership keep vocations on their minds and plan accordingly.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Three years.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

It has. As a congregation we haven’t had a great focus on new vocations here in the U.S. (We have active vocation teams in Kenya and the Congo.) The NRVC Region 4 group that I have been involved with has allowed me to bring ideas to the congregational leadership. And we’ve made efforts to respond to the needs of those men who are approaching us in their discernment. Outside of the regional meetings, I had the opportunity to attend NRVC's Men Moving Forward in Hope workshop in Houston with our general superior. Through that program we’ve been able to give vocations a place in the congregation's consciousness. As we look to embrace the future with hope, we see that part of our mission is to be open to the possibility of vocations here in the U.S.

What has been your best vocation effort?

Our best vocation effort is to simply imagine and be open to the possibility of new U.S. vocations. We’ve done that on the leadership level, and for us, that is no small thing. The congregation is filled with much life. But, as we all know, it is often difficult for us as individuals and communities to focus on the good that we are in the world. And so we can shy away from inviting people into a shared mission out of some form of misguided humility or inverted perfectionism. (We are not perfect, so why would we invite someone into this situation?) There is a desire to overcome these internal barriers and open up to the possibility of new membership. This is a small step, but a positive one, and a step that is aligned with our ongoing community formation and renewal.

What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

Being contacted by men who desire to be part of something bigger than themselves—men who see what hope the Xaverian Brothers are in the world, men who want to be a part of the mission. We’ve had some of those men approach us lately; it is a great gift to the congregation.

Reach Chris at 410-646-6764 or cirr@xaverianbrothers.org.



I am NRVC

Sister Barbara Ann Smelko, S.C.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I started in this ministry in 2010 in Chicago, but after a reorganization, I'm now in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, working full time as the coordinator for vocation ministries for the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill.

How is your vocation ministry organized?

I work closely with the formation congregational council member. My community also has a New Membership Formation Network of 11 sisters who meet quarterly. At these gatherings, we receive input on vocation topics and plan vocation events, such as discernment retreats, open houses, prayer services, and outreach to the poor done with young adults.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

NRVC is truly a center for vocation awareness, education, conversation, and resources.  I’ve attended workshops and convocations, and the print and electronic resources are so helpful in my ministry. The well-written, well-researched articles in HORIZON are timely and relevant—good for re-reading and giving to others.  

Also I appreciate the financial assistance to help cover membership dues, attend a workshop, or [through the National Fund for Religious Vocations] pay down college loans of new members.

What vocation projects have been most rewarding or fruitful?

I find great meaning in Busy Persons Retreats, online retreats, and events that connect sisters and young adults in active service to the poor. Another project I like is our monthly Taize prayer for peace.

What do you enjoy the most in vocation ministry?

The opportunity to encourage young adults to add religious life to their list of viable life choices and to encourage parents to do the same for their children.

Contact Sister Barbara Ann at barbaraannsmelko42scsh@gmail.com.



I am NRVC

Sister Sue Weetenkamp, R.S.M.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

About six years. Up until this past May I was co-chair of Region 4 (the Maryland-Virginia area).

How is your vocation ministry organized? Do you work with a team? 

I work with a team of six to cover the South Central Region for the Sisters of Mercy.

Has belonging to NRVC been helpful to you?

From the convocation speakers and the opportunities to rub shoulders with others, to the personal touch Sister Debbie adds through member services, NRVC is my "go-to" for any questions about what is going on in the larger world of vocations.

What vocation project or projects have been most rewarding or fruitful?

Several years ago NRVC's Region 4 worked closely together to provide two years of "Calling all Fifth Graders." Working with others in the region and the archdiocesan school authorities was very rewarding when the day for the fifth graders finally arrived. The energy was overwhelming.

What do you enjoy the most in vocation ministry? 

Walking with an individual woman through the process of discerning of religious life.



I am NRVC

Sister Rita Cameron, P.B.V.M.

How long have you been a vocation minister?

I have been directly involved in vocation ministry for five years with my community, the Presentation Sisters of Dubuque, Iowa.

What kind of team do you work with?

I am the vocation minister, and I work with our formation minister as we walk with women discerning and entering our community.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Yes, very helpful. NRVC has many resources available; I have met many great people with wonderful ideas and experience. The speakers at NRVC-sponsored convocations have been wonderful.

Tell us about your best vocation efforts.

We have a local group of vocation directors (Dubuque Area Vocation Association) that collaborates on a Sixth Grade Vocation Day for Catholic schools in our area. Four women’s communities in our area also sponsor Dubuque’s Got Sisters (another collaborative event). Both events have been very rewarding experiences.

I enjoy meeting new people and developing relationships with people from a variety of backgrounds and ages and walking the spiritual journey with them.



I am NRVC

Sister Sarah Roy, O.S.F., Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception, West Peoria, Illinois

How long have you been in vocation ministry?

I have been involved in vocation ministry part-time since my first vows in 2005. I have been the full-time director since 2009. So, I guess part-time for four years and full-time for six years.

What kind of team do you work with?

Our vocation ministry consists of myself as vocation director, and a vocation committee of three other sisters.

Have you benefited from belonging to NRVC?

NRVC has been extremely helpful to me in my vocation ministry. When I first began, the Orientation Program was a lifeline for me. It gave me a strong foundation of what vocation ministry is all about and the tools I needed to be a good vocation minister. It gave me a support network to turn to with questions, too. NRVC has also provided me with professional development and many laughs with other vocation ministers.

What have been your most fruitful projects?

The two most fruitful projects for my vocation ministry would be my interactions with the local Newman Centers and the contacts that VISION Vocation Guide sends to me. These two avenues allow me to make contact with discerning women and invite them to visit with our community.

What do you find rewarding in this ministry?

I enjoy walking with discerning women as they answer God’s call. I enjoy seeing the joy they find in their vocation.

Contact Sister Sarah at sistersarahelizabeth@gmail.com



I am NRVC

Sister Anita Quigley, S.H.C.J.

How long have you been in vocation ministry?

Four years.

Are you part of a vocation team?

Yes, I am a member of the American Province Vocation Team. As the vocation director, I serve as the facilitator for the team, which includes Spanish speakers and a coordinator.

Has belonging to NRVC helped you in your ministry?

Absolutely! My membership in NRVC has provided invaluable resources and tools. I have felt the support and encouragement of staff and fellow vocation directors. This encouragement nurtures me and helps me to create a culture of vocations in my community.

What have been your best vocation efforts?

Two things come to mind:

1. Implementation of the NRVC program, Keys to the Future. (Purchase "Keys"  here, learn about it here.)

This program enabled us to be frank about where we are with vocations and created an enthusiasm to keep working to be more visible as women religious. Because of this program, we have now established a group of 22 sisters who connect bi-monthly to foster vocations wherever we are.

2. We offer a stress management program at Rosemont College during exam week: "Make Space, Take a Break."  This program has opened many relationships with students and the campus ministry staff.

What do you find most rewarding?

Building relationships with those interested in religious life and with my fellow vocation ministers.

Contact Sister Anita at aquigley@shcj.org



I am NRVC

Sister Janice Bemowski, r.c., vocation director for the Cenacle Sisters

Sister Janice Bemowski, r.c. is vocation director for the Religious of our Lady of the Retreat in the Cenacle (commonly known as the Cenacle Sisters). She also is a member of the finance committee for the NRVC.

 
How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I became part of the vocation effort while in temporary vows. Then in 1998—right after final vows—I became the vocation director for our North American province.


Are you part of a vocation team?  

We have a vocation minister in every community. Four of those sisters, plus myself, comprise our Province Vocation Team. The local ministers try to do outreach and connect with people locally, while my role is also to try to animate all the sisters in the province, communicate information to the sisters about vocations and young adults, and help encourage vocation ministry.

   
Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?  

I appreciate the great resources of NRVC ... people and products! All of the staff are extremely helpful and supportive. The website is a wonderful source of information and encouragement and is of very good quality. There are also many workshops and educational opportunities that would not otherwise be available to us. Foremost is the fact that through NRVC religious life is made visible, connections are made with other organizations and supporters. None of this could we do on our own.

    
What has been your best vocation effort? 

Our best internal vocation effort came from NRVC's “Keys to the Future” program.  [Purchase "Keys to the Future" at nrvc.net.] Participating in that workshop and learning the facilitation skills gave me the opportunity to share the information and process with our province membership. It was an enlivening and energizing process.
 
Our other best effort was to invite a number of young adults to our last province assembly to tell us their stories. We wanted to experience and understand the lives of some young adults so as to better understand the life context of those who might be looking at religious life.

   
What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

I find two things most rewarding: first, the ability to walk with a woman on her vocational journey, and witness to her deepening relationship with God; second, the joy of sharing stories and experiences of faith, and helping to open Cenacle lives and ministry to others.

Contact Sister Janice at vocations@cenaclesisters.org.



I am NRVC

Brother James McDonald, C.F.C.

Brother Jim is the vocation promoter for the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America. He also served as one of two regional coordinators for Region 7 from May of 2009 to May of 2013. 
 
How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I've been in vocation ministry for my community since 2000. The configuration for the ministry has changed, and since 2007, I've been the only vocation promoter for our North American province. However I do have a team consisting of two other brothers and the layman who does public relations for the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

I have made lifelong friends with many present and former members of the NRVC. I gain my strength and energy from working with these fine individuals. In fact I firmly believe that my faith life would not be the same without the friends and acquaintances from the NRVC that have nurtured me through these many years. I never cease to be amazed by the wonderful companionship I experience wherever I travel promoting vocations.

I have been privileged to attend many NRVC workshops. Any occasion I have to interact with other members is always an opportunity to learn new techniques and to benefit from the experiences of others. These are also opportunities to share best practices, what works, and what does not. All of the material that is available online is also a valuable tool in my ministry.

Both Paul Bednarczyk and Debbie Borneman are great friends, and they are always willing to respond to any questions that may come up. Frankly I cannot think of a better organization than the NRVC to help promote vocations throughout the world.

What has been your best vocation effort?

I think I am at my best when I am present to young adults in their world. I like to hope that who I am and who I represent as a Christian Brother is best represented through my actions and not by my words. When I am on campus, I believe I can be most productive when I am involved in their outreach ministries as well as their prayer life. I feel very much alive and invigorated when I am working with young adults.

We have an extensive database created from the many inquiries we get through VISION Vocation Guide. Our plan is to collate the zip codes into groups where we can offer a retreat/workshop in that area related to being a brother in today’s world. Once we are able to determine the best location to meet, then we will invite other groups of religious brothers to be present as well. In this way any inquirer will be able to interact on a face-to-face basis with consecrated religious brothers. Hopefully this will enhance their experience of religious life and of brotherhood.

In a similar vein we are in contact with our own school ministry sites to determine where our graduates are attending college. If we find a decent concentration of young men who are familiar with the brothers because they attended one of our schools, then we will go to that institution and offer a similar opportunity for retreat and/or discernment. 

If the time is right we plan to establish a branch of the Edmund Rice Society. Hopefully we can develop an opportunity for them to gather from time to time to both pray and share their experiences with the brothers. We hope to have a brother present for these gatherings to both facilitate and be a presence among them
 
What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

The most rewarding aspect of vocation ministry is undoubtedly the many folks both religious and lay as well as the young adults that I have been privileged to meet and work with over the past 15 years or so.

I am surrounded by a group of dedicated, faith-filled individuals who have kept me both focused and spiritually nourished. I love working with the friends in the various regions of the continent to plan and execute any opportunity to promote vocations. I am energized and fulfilled both spiritually and physically. To put it simply I feel blessed by the Holy Spirit.



I am NRVC

Sister Anna Marie Espinosa, I.W.B.S., vocation director and NRVC board member

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Four years.

Are you part of a team?

I am a one-person operation. However, I enjoy the service of a volunteer vocation team that assists me with Come and See events and the IWBS Vocation Discernment Retreat. Several sisters participate in vocation efforts by sharing their own vocation story or providing a reflection about an aspect of consecrated life. Many sisters also serve the vocation effort as Emmaus companions when we have visitors. Two of our retired sisters are great with environment; they set up a lovely space for our gatherings. In addition, sisters accompany me sometimes when I travel to parishes or when I visit college campuses. I am blessed with support.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

NRVC resources are terrific. I use them on a consistent basis—to assist young women with their discernment journeys; for information and updates that help keep our community invested in vocation efforts; and for my ongoing learning and spiritual wellbeing.

Our vocation team used the Moving Forward in Hope reflections and videos for reflection and assessment. We provided a presentation and process for community sharing. With NRVC resources and support of community we are able to do the following: keep our sisters informed, focus our energy on best practices, and more effectively elicit support from our sisters for our vocation efforts.

What has been your best vocation effort?

This past November our Diocesan Vocation Retreat was a great success. It was our first in several years. The collaboration among religious women and with the diocesan vocation director helped us build relationships among ourselves and facilitated our preparation process. The weekend retreat was a wonderful opportunity for 38 men and women to meet and support each other in discernment. Seven women have been in touch with us since.

Also, because there are no Catholic universities in either the Corpus Christi or the Brownsville Diocese, working with college campus ministers in other dioceses has been fruitful. The Busy Students Retreat has been an important way to build relationships with college students. Finally I have found that Come and See events are always appreciated by the young women with whom I am in contact. Sometimes we simply invite young women to join us for evening prayer and supper at our motherhouse. They love to come.

What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

I love sharing my vocation story and listening to the vocation stories of my sisters. I never tire of hearing them. Each one is different. Sharing a vocation story becomes an Emmaus walk experience. In the sharing, I find that God reawakens in me a deep gratitude for the beauty of God’s call to a life of love and service. When I hear, “How did you know you wanted to be a sister?” I know that a sacred journey has begun.



I am NRVC

Brother Tom Wendorf, S.M., Marianist vocation director

How long have you been in vocation ministry?
Four years.

Are you part of a vocation team?
Yes. We have a vocation team in the Los Angeles area and at each of our three universities (University of Dayton; St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX; and Chaminade University in Honolulu). Each team has a regional leader or coordinator. Our goal, of course, is to encourage all of our Marianist brothers, priests, and sisters to play a role in vocation ministry.

Has belonging to NRVC been helpful?
Definitely. The professional workshops have provided much practical guidance in everything from ethics to using technology and social media. The relationships, both occasional and ongoing, with other vocation ministers throughout the country have also been especially enriching and encouraging.

What has been your best outreach effort?
Our vocation discernment retreats have continued to be most helpful—they allow time for sharing information about our congregation, for prayer, and for interaction among young people who are asking some of the same questions about God’s calling in their lives. After that, the one-on-one companionship with candidates has been critical in the discernment process, and this can begin as early as the first time an inquirer contacts us through our website or through another brother, priest, or sister in one of our ministries.

Any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?
There are best practices for vocation ministry, which NRVC shares so well, but there is no one way to do vocation ministry well, so don’t over-worry about finding the “right strategies.” Experiment and seek the advice and perspective of others, within and outside your congregation. Also, I remind myself regularly that vocation ministry is a mysterious work, a matter of faith and relationship with God—we can do much to help, but much is also out of our control and beyond the need for our control.

What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?
Working with men and women who are seeking to discover God’s call in their lives—it puts me in touch with my own vocation and relationship with God, and it calls me to greater integrity in living my own life as a Marianist brother. Naturally it’s also satisfying when someone does choose the life of a Marianist brother and persevere.



I am NRVC: Sister Maria Therese Healy, O. Carm.

Vocation Director, Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm

How long have you been in vocation ministry?
I’ve been full time since 2003.

Who else is involved?
I have a contact vocation sister in each of our homes who serves as a member of our Vocation Steering Committee. I am also part of the formation team, which includes two members of leadership, the novice director, postulant director, and the temporary vow director. Everyone on the formation team is also part of the Vocation Steering Committee.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?
Yes! The NRVC and its resources continue to be a great support in all our vocation endeavors. We consistently look to NRVC for how best to move forward in our times. The NRVC-CARA study and the programs developed since then have been a touchstone in educating ourselves and forming our own best practices.

Also, the relationships built at NRVC conferences, regional meetings, committees, etc. have truly helped me maintain a global view of vocations. These relationships have  helped me build a collective wisdom that continually encourages and supports me.

What has been your best vocation effort?
Our SALT Mission Program. SALT (Serving the Aged Lovingly Today) is meant to foster relationships between young  adults, the sisters, and the elderly through daily encounters prayer, service, and recreation. Two of our current novices participated in this program.

Moving Forward in Hope: Keys to the Future program (Keys) was chosen by leadership as a mandatory community workshop to be presented in each local community in 2013-2014. This has been a very inspiring experience in unexpected ways. We have been heartened by the deep desire of our sisters to continue the journey together, with a collective deep hope that despite diminishment and a sense that it will be different, our mission will continue in the church. The Keys process has helped motivate members to take ownership of vocations. It has also helped the community identify how we need to change in order to successfully invite in a new generation.

Any words of wisdom to new vocation directors?

Four things:

  1. It is vital for the vocation director to build a good support system in and out of community.
  2. Take care of your own health and be faithful to your Sabbath time.
  3. Remember that while vocation ministry is the task of few, it is the responsibility of the whole community.
  4. Maintain a good sense of humor! This is essential to navigate your way through the many experiences unique to this ministry.

What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

The sincerity of the women whom I have had the privilege to accompany on this journey. Each one has mirrored in some way the grace within my own call and the incredible love of God, who continues to call me to be a lifegiver, a living presence of love in the world.



I am NRVC: Sister Dorothy Ann Dirkx, S.S.M.

1. How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Six years.

2. Are you part of a vocation team?

Sisters in every part of the province are involved in our vocation ministry. Their involvement amazes me every month when I publish their work in my vocation ministry newsletter.

In 2013 I created a vocation committee of laity and religious here in Wisconsin. I interviewed all of them, asking how they knew S.S.M.s, what of S.S.M. do they value, what they thought they could contribute to a vocation committee, etc. We meet three to four times annually. Members of this committee are responsible for keeping literature in parishes, soliciting opportunities for promoting religious life and priesthood, and co-partnering with me in speaking to groups, visiting high schools and grade schools. One member is launching a project whereby we are featured on hospital TVs--two- or three-second spots, keeping S.S.M. in the minds of viewers as they await doctor visits or medical procedures.

One member is our province communication specialist. She keeps us posted on Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites and assists me in website advertising that targets Catholic youth.

3. Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

The NRVC gives credence to my vocation ministry and is a vehicle whereby every member of the province receives up-to-date, pertinent information about this important ministry: every local house receives HORIZON. Maybe that is one reason so many sisters take seriously their role in promoting religious life.

Having been part of Moving Forward in Hope and then carrying the message of that seminar to the sisters throughout the province was a powerful experience: It energized the sisters in their commitment to religious life and their desire to guarantee that this way of life is an option for future generations. I believe strongly and passionately in the future of religious life, and being a member of the NRVC feeds that passion, keeps our hopes alive, and energizes us to continue our commitment to this important ministry.

The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother are a small but significant religious community, and being part of something bigger than ourselves is important to us. When the going gets rough and we need a push, having this “engine” of NRVC pushing us from behind or being in front of us pulling us forward is important.

4. What has been your best outreach effort?

That is a difficult question to answer and I am not sure I have a “best,” but I do have several that are very rewarding to me.

•   Blogging. I do a scripture blog and a religious life/discernment blog, published on www.becomingasister.org. I publish the scripture blog almost daily to keep persons coming to this website (this is our vocation website). This type of evangelizing is very energizing for me.

•   Creating personal responses to inquirers. There have been times when an inquirer will say: “I am overwhelmed with the number of responses I received and I was going to wait until I received all of them and then respond. But when I read your personalized letter, I had to respond to you immediately. I was so touched.”

•   Collaborating with campus ministry personnel (now at two colleges) in doing Busy Students’ Retreats. I am a spiritual director at heart, so this part of vocation ministry touches me deeply.

•   Creating “Come and See” programs. This is fun, as is conducting them. I have had the vocation office relocated to our province headquarters, so many of the retired sisters here are involved. The best part of some of these programs, for inquirers, is hearing the senior sisters tell their call stories.

•   I have created several PowerPoints in collaboration with others. (“A Purpose-filled Life,” “My Whole Self—Tuning into God by Tuning into Self,” “Four Basic Human Needs: Becoming One’s Best Self,” “Becoming My Best: What Inspires Me,” and “Discovering Your Purpose in Life”). I will be sharing these with parish personnel and also one of the campus ministers for feedback and suggestions. This project excites me and has many possibilities, one of which could be mini-retreats here at our headquarters for all age groups. Other possibilities are emerging in my consultation with persons in parishes and in campus ministry settings.

•   Visiting grade schools and high schools. These visits give us a chance to share our passion for religious life and answer questions the children and youth have concerning our lifestyle.

5. Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?  

Develop a strong prayer life, and engage all your members. I tell our senior sisters that the core element of vocation ministry is prayer. They do this so well, and it is to them that I attribute the success I am experiencing, as we have five women requesting to enter the postulancy. It is their prayers, nothing else. I would tell persons new to this ministry to remember that important fact.

6. What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

Witnessing a young person discover her call, be that marriage, religious life, or the single life.

Contact Sister Dorothy at ssmvoc@gmail.com.



I am NRVC: Father Vince Wirtner, C.P.P.S.

How long have you been in vocation ministry?

Father Vince Wirtner, C.P.P.S.

Four years as director for my community.  

Are you part of a vocation team?

In 2012 we combined our vocations programs, and I became director for both provinces. Currently we have three members on the vocation team: Father Timothy Armbruster, C.P.P.S., Father Matt Link, C.P.P.S., and myself. We also have lay associates and members of the community who volunteer at vocation fairs. It is a wonderful team effort.

Has belonging to NRVC been helpful?

In my nursing career prior to joining my community, I relied on continuing education to help keep my skills updated. NRVC helps me be the best vocation minister I can be by providing continuing education and support. The collaboration with other vocation ministers is also important. I really feel part of a wide network of ministers who support one another. I am not sure I could do this ministry without the support of NRVC and its members

What has been your best outreach effort?

Being where young people are is probably the best way we have attracted people to our community. Vocation fairs are wonderful. Vocation talks are great for sharing information about our community and religious life. I really believe sharing life together with teenagers and young adults is probably the best outreach we have done. This has taken place through Catholics on Call, LifeTeen, college campus ministries, and high school youth ministries. We meet the people where they are, and we share our story about religious life with them.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

Take at least one day off per week and turn off the electronic devices. I have not perfected the suppression of electronic devices yet, but I am trying. I have found that there are NO vocation "emergencies." Things can be handled tomorrow just as well. A healthy respect for our own need to be off for a day is important and vital to a healthy vocation minister.  

What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

I am blessed to have the opportunity to share in someone's life journey. For a short period of time in someone's life, I get to help them understand how God might be calling them. It amazes me every day.  

See Father Vince’s website at cpps-preciousblood.org. Contact him at vincecpps@gmail.com.



I am NRVC: Sister Maria Eleanor Caisido, C.V.I.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Three and a half years.

Are you part of team?

Yes, there are two of us. I am full time, and the associate vocation director, Sister Mary Zachary Bertrand, C.V.I., is part time. I also work in close collaboration with other vocation ministers through the archdiocesan vocations office of Galveston-Houston, Texas.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

Yes! The workshops were very helpful, especially Orientation and Behavioral Assessment. The staff members are very approachable and prompt in responding to my requests and questions, and HORIZON keeps me on top of what’s going on in the world of vocation ministry and in religious life itself. I really feel very supported in my ministry through NRVC.

Plus, I am thankful to have been part of the “Keys to the Future” and the “Women Religious Moving Forward in Hope” projects. To be a member of NRVC is a wonderful investment. Our whole congregation, not just me, has received many benefits over the years.

What have been your best vocation projects?

Within the congregation we have collaborated with leadership to establish a four-year strategic plan in vocation ministry. We’ve promoted a culture of vocations among our members through Wisdom Gatherings twice a year. In addition it has helped us to be transparent with members through regular updates (at least once a month). There has been “buy-in” from most members to actively participate in vocation ministry, not just to support it in prayer.

Among young adults we try to build relationship by being present and available where they are. For instance we are present at Newman Centers, especially the Busy Students Retreat, and at young adult events such as Theology on Tap, Café Catholica, and Bayou Awakening. We also connect through social media.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

My guiding principle since I started this ministry is a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 3:6. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth . . . she who plants and she who waters are one . . . We are God's co-workers.”

These words from Saint Paul help me put things into perspective in my ministry. God is the one in charge. My role is to collaborate with others to plant or water the seed of vocation in every person with whom I journey. At the end of a good or challenging day, God blesses my efforts even when the growth or fruits take a while to emerge. Thus, be rooted in prayer. A second commandment in vocation ministry might be, “Take very good care of yourself.”

What do you find most rewarding?

The relationships I have established, especially among young adults. I treasure the opportunity to mentor young people. I also value relationships with other women and men in this ministry, especially those at our archdiocesan vocations office whose staff is very supportive and collaborative.

Contact Sister Maria Eleanor at CVIVOCATIONS@gmail.com.



I am NRVC: Sister Vicki Lichtenauer, S.C.L.

What roles have you played in NRVC?

I am the Region 9 co-coordinator along with Sister Rita Cameron, P.B.V.M., and I’ve been a regional NRVC presenter and conference planner.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

Three years as vocation director, 10 years on our Vocation Network.

Do you work as part of a team?

I am the full-time vocation director, but we have monthly meetings as the Initial Formation Team. This team includes myself, the formation director, novice director, temporary vow director, and two wisdom figures who were once formation directors.

We also have a Vocation Network, which consists of seven sisters from around the country and two of our associates. We meet twice a year at the motherhouse and one time a year through a video conference call. (We are trying to be aware of our carbon footprint.)

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

Yes. The resources and training options are priceless. I have gleaned so much wisdom from former and current vocation directors. The NRVC presentations, handouts, networking, and resources—both hard copy and online—make this ministry a delight.

What have been your best outreach efforts?

One is our Xavier Communities, named after our founder Mother Xavier Ross. We have three intentional living opportunities whereby young women live with the sisters for varying amounts of time. We invite both women in discernment and women who want to experience simple, intentional community living. We have two homes, in Kansas City, Kansas and in Denver.

We also host spring break service groups from universities all over the country.

And finally, we host monthly dinners to nurture and support all the fabulous young adults in volunteer or social justice-related positions in the metro area. Our “People of Hope” dinners inspire us and give us a natural networking opportunity.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

You are not alone. Use the wisdom of those who have been in vocation ministry. Help empower your community to live into the mindset that, “We are all vocation ministers.”

Contact Sister Vicki at vickiL@scls.org.



I am NRVC: Sister Pat Twohill, O.P., Dominican Sister of Peace

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

This is my 12th year in vocation ministry. I am also co-coordinator for Region 1 in New England.

Are you part of a vocation team? 

I have the joy of working with two other full-time vocation ministers, Sisters Pat Dual, O.P. and June Fitzgerald, O.P.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

NRVC has been a guiding light for me since I began this ministry back in the 1980s. I look to it for professional education, support, and practical ideas. I have always found the convocations wonderfully enriching; the publications educational and worthy of study with congregational members and leaders; and the regional meetings a great way to be resourced and to foster collaboration.

Programs such as "Moving Forward in Hope" and the NRVC-CARA studies have been very beneficial. I also enjoy working closely with the other members of Region 1.

What has been your best outreach effort?

There are multiple strands to the outreach I do, and I have found they all have a place and must be used together. Come and See retreats of all varieties—from a "twilight" experience on a Friday evening, to a full weekend—are popular and helpful. Mini-live-in experiences also help serious discerners get a taste of our communal life. Providing opportunities for discerners to give direct service is rewarding for them and provides a chance to catch the spirit of the community. A robust and up-to-date Web presence also is essential. That is one of the first places discerners go when they are researching possible communities.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

I would say to a new vocation director: Immerse yourself in this ministry no matter how hard you find it at first. Any other ministry (teaching, lecturing, offering retreats in parishes, visiting the sick, the imprisoned, etc.) will be tempting and will most likely feel more satisfying than vocation promotion at first.

I have heard too many newly appointed vocation directors say, "I don't know what I am supposed to do. I don't know where to begin. They've got the wrong person!" If you are having a hard time figuring out what you are supposed to do in this new role, I would say: Find a mentor. [The NRVC workshop "Orientation for New Vocation Directors" is also a resource.]



I am NRVC: Nan Brenzel, Ed.D., Dominican Sisters of San Rafael

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

At age 11 I gave a presentation to a parent group at our parish on the importance of Catholic values being alive in the family. So perhaps I began 50 years ago! I have been a lay vocation minister with the Dominican Sisters for almost three years now. I also was a member of the NRVC board in 2013.

Are you part of a team?

I am blessed to be part of a team that consists of members of our leadership team and our formation team. Our entire congregation is committed to vocations as part of the team. My main responsibilities are coordinating and supervising aspects of the pre-entrance program by responding to inquiries, facilitating interested women in visiting members and ministries of the congregation, and engaging other members in informal interaction with interested women.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

NRVC is an outstanding source of education, resources, networking, and support to its members and others involved in vocation work. They are the “go to” leaders in providing vocation ministers with facts through their research studies on vocations and religious life. In the trainings and meetings sponsored by NRVC, I am continually impressed by the transparency, depth of communication, and fun built into events that make us better vocation ministers.

What has been your best outreach effort?

Inviting young women to events that address the critical issues of our times and are relevant to our geographic needs, participating in campus events, and extending invitations to students to pray and have conversation with the sisters at days of study, reflection, and prayer.

Do you have any words of wisdom for those who are new to this ministry?

Trust that God is always working in front of you and behind your back when it comes to promoting vocations. Invite your congregation to pray for vocations and for you.



I am NRVC: Friar Paul Schloemer, O.F.M.Conv., Province of Our Lady of Consolation

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?
Seven years, but this is my last year.

Are you part of a team?
I'm full-time, and I have a half-time assistant, Friar Andy Martinez, O.F.M. Conv., who is responsible for the Southwest.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?
NRVC is one of the most helpful organizations I've ever been a part of. Beginning with the workshops offered to train new vocation directors, NRVC provides continuing professional development, vocation resources, networking and promotion of vocations, particularly through VISION.

What has been your best outreach effort?
The best outreach effort continues to be the relationships that friars cultivate with eligible men. But more and more, our digital presence becomes important. We currently have an online presence with Vision Vocation Match, as well as our own order's website, www.Franciscans.org, and our individual province website, www.franciscansusa.org. We recently took out a Facebook ad and are still waiting to see the effectiveness of that. One very helpful thing has been to coordinate the vocation promotion of all the Conventual Franciscan provinces in North America so we work together to promote our common life.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?
Recognize that it is ultimately the Holy Spirit that moves the hearts of people to give their lives in service to the church, not our efforts. The role of the vocation director is to take advantage of every possible method to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in promoting the community charism, but as long as we're working faithfully, we shouldn't take too much pride in large numbers of vocation prospects, nor take it personally when the numbers are not so large. Be faithful to your own calling, and the rest will follow.



I am NRVC: Mr. Jack Ridout, Marist Fathers and Brothers

 

jack-ridout.jpgHow long have you been in vocation ministry?
First I was assistant director (2004), and then I became director in 2008.

Are you part of a vocation team or a one-person operation?
I'm a one-man show, with "other duties as assigned."

How has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?
It has given me unique insight as to what the job is all about, what you have to look for and ask questions about. NRVC has given me the tools to do the best job I can.

What has been your best vocation effort?
The best effort is the personal one, matching up a person with the right answer, the best "next step” for that individual. It’s good to have as many people in the congregation as possible looking at and listening to prospective members—for it is always a community effort with any candidate and not just one man's job.

 

Contact Jack at jrsmtom@yahoo.com or (415) 249-0976.



I am NRVC: Sister Donna Del Santo, S.S.J., Rochester, NY

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I’ve helped with vocation ministry  since 1996. I’ve been our  vocation director since March 2003.


Are you part of a vocation team?

I am a solo director, yet I have what we call the “Vocation Think Tank,” made up of 16 Sisters who volunteer their time in vocation ministry. We meet about every 6 weeks and together plan events.  They help launch our ideas into action, assisting with things like Busy Person Retreats, opportunities for adoration or compline, etc.

How has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you? 
NRVC has helped me become educated for this ministry and helped me network with other vocation directors. 

What has been your best outreach effort? 
Our “Weekend Service Retreat” has helped us introduce folks to ministry, community and prayer—all within a short timeframe.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry? 
Listen, listen, listen. Be available to young people. Go where they are and stay awake, literally as well as figuratively. Their schedule is not 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday!  Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, especially of seasoned vocation directors. Don’t get stuck on numbers. Be faithful to your call as a vowed religious, and live with joy!



I am NRVCm Sister Julie Myers, O.S.F., Sylvania

 

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I spent 18 years in full-time ministry as a physical therapist assistant at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio. I began to feel a strong nudge within to look at my own gifts and talents and discern how I could use them beyond that ministry. Not much later, my congregation needed a vocation minister. I immediately turned to God and said, “Oh no! I am not tooled for this!” After much prayer and discernment with our Leadership Team, I transitioned into the vocation world in September 2009. I continue my ministry at the hospital on a contingent basis and also serve on the sacristan team for our motherhouse chapel.

Are you part of a vocation team?

Currently, four of my sisters assist me with programs and projects. Also, the leaders of eight women’s congregations in or near our diocese have pooled our efforts for better energy, support, and collaboration. I’m on a team of eight vocation ministers working together in our region.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

As a new vocation minister, I chose to continue our membership with NRVC because of the very positive feedback from my predecessor. The first highlight of membership was attending the Orientation to Vocation Ministry workshop. It was wonderful to be with so many sisters, brothers, and priests who did not (yet) know what they were doing either! Honestly, it was a very rich experience to build connections and relationships, as well as to gain significant knowledge and skills. Over the past four years I have found the newsletters very helpful. They are a great reminder to check out the website, which I consider my electronic toolbox! I am energized by the networking that occurs during the biennial convocation. During those events, I have gained mentors, friends, and companions for this journey, insight from the speakers, and understanding of best practices.

What has been your best outreach effort?

Advertising in VISION has been very helpful. It serves as a venue to communicate our name, congregational story, and charism to those who are searching. I appreciate the extra benefit of being able to post events and activities on this site. “Come and See” opportunities and our local Nun Run experiences have been positive efforts. They allow women to ask the questions they would not normally ask . . . and to see beyond the doors and into the hearts of those who have committed their life to God and service to the church. It is good to be open, to invite dialogue, and to let seekers know that a choice for this way of life is not a one-time decision. It takes ongoing discernment, prayer, and a daily “yes.”

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

Network, network, network! It is energizing to collaborate with your own community members, as well as with religious in your diocese. NRVC is a great resource for establishing connections. Finally, another great resource and positive expression of religious life is “A Nun’s Life Ministry” (at anunslife.org). Its creators, Sister Julie Vieira, IHM and Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, are very creative in building an understanding of religious life.

Contact Sister Julie Myers at jmyers@sistersosf.org.



I am NRVC: Sister Virginia Herbers, A.S.C.J.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?
I served on our vocation committee for eight years, then served as vocation minister for a year before starting full-time in formation ministry. I've kept my hand and heart in vocation ministry throughout my five subsequent years of formation ministry, however! I'm also a member of the NRVC Editorial Board.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?
Yes, I have found membership in NRVC to be an invaluable source of information, community, support, and strength over the course of the past several years!

What has been your community's best outreach effort?
Our discernment retreats have been the most fruitful, allowing us to meet and get to know a wide variety of discerners. For me personally, however, my ministry on college campuses has been the most positive and fruitful in terms of forging good relationships that open the door to vocation discernment.

Any words of wisdom?
My greatest exhortation would be to remember that this is a ministry. It is so easy to become discouraged or disheartened when someone who has been a strong candidate and with whom we've spent lots of time and energy decides not to pursue a religious vocation in our community. Yet, if I truly believe what I say I believe about a vocation being a call to holiness and an invitation of the Spirit, I have to accept what the Spirit is doing in and through me--even if it doesn't exactly match what I would have liked!

 

 



I am NRVC: Sister Jo-Anne Miller, C.S.J.P.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I have been vocation director since 2009.

Are you part of a vocation team?

Yes, I oversee vocation ministry in our three regions: Western U.S., Eastern U.S., and the United Kingdom (England and Scotland.) The East and UK regions have a vocation team member who is responsible. I am usually the first contact made by an inquirer through our website or through VISION. I send information to the inquirer, and then, if she is in the UK or Eastern U.S., another team member gets in touch.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Yes, NRVC, both national and regional, has been an immense help to me. I have attended many NRVC convocations and workshops and always come away with new ideas, more connections with vocation ministers and a sense of celebration of who we are as a multi-faceted church. Father Ray Carey’s workshops have been most valuable to me in being able to identify “red flag” areas concerning potential candidates and determining how to proceed with an inquirer. The workshops on cultural diversity and canon law/immigration issues have also been extremely helpful.

What has been your best outreach effort?

In recent years our new members have been very diverse: e.g., Latina, Korean, Kenyan, Nigerian, Indian, Irish, etc. In 2012 our formation director and I planned and implemented a program for all three regions of our congregation called “Interculturality: Embracing Diversity in a Global World, Global Church, Global Congregation.” Sister Tere Maya, CCVI led the presentations and served as a resource on interculturality and its implications for vocation and formation ministry. This program helped achieve a greater consciousness among our sisters and associates about the value of interculturality as an expression of our charism of peace through justice.

I also use my graphic design skills for creating welcoming and attractive information materials (brochures, banners, PowerPoint presentations, etc.) for vocation ministry—both for our congregation and for our inter-community vocation work in the Pacific Northwest.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?

I encourage people in vocation discernment to consider this question: “Where can I live out my dreams and hopes in a healthy, happy, and holy way?” As a vocation minister and a woman religious, I also try to live in a way that is healthy, happy, and holy!

 

 



I am NRVC: Sister Priscilla Moreno, R.S.M., South Central

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?  
This is my second round. I did this ministry from 1999 to 2004. Then I was involved part-time for two years before being invited to full-time vocation ministry again in 2011.

Are you part of a vocation team?  
Yes, I am a part of the Sisters of Mercy South Central New Membership Team. We currently have four incorporation ministers and six vocation ministers. We span a broad area of 18 states, the U.S. Territory of Guam, and the nation of Jamaica. Our headquarters are in Belmont, NC. I myself am responsible for Missouri, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Northern Mississippi, and Southern Florida. I visit universities and high schools, am involved in retreats, organize vocation activities, attend vocation minister meetings, and do some spiritual direction.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?
The workshops NRVC offers have better prepared me for the ministry. NRVC has also provided opportunities for collaboration with other vocation ministers.  

What has been your best outreach effort?
I have had the opportunity to meet young woman interested in religious life during Busy Student Retreats, high school visits, and work with our sisters who help promote vocations in the various areas of our South Central Community.

Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new to this ministry?
The best wisdom I can offer to a new vocation minister is to go gently because things happen when they happen.  The best thing to do is to be present to the present moment.

 



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