January 2018 newsletter

January 2018 newsletter

International vocation ministry conference

In preparation for 2018 synod

Among the 800+ participants in the recent International Conference on Vocations and Consecrated Life were (from left) executive director Sister Sharon Dillon, S.S.J.-T.O.S.F.; board member Father Toby Collins, C.R.; and Patrice Tuohy of TrueQuest Communications, which serves NRVC's communications needs.

Representatives from NRVC took part in a gathering in Rome December 1-3 to prepare for the 2018 synod on "Young people, the faith, and vocational discernment." The gathering, "Vocation Ministry and Consecrated Life: Horizons and Hopes," brought together more than 800 religious from around the world to confront the challenges of vocation ministry and consider new possibilities, starting with current best practices. The event was sponsored by the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL). 

"A kindness and sincerity permeated the entire experience," said NRVC's executive director Sister Sharon Dillon, S.SJ.-T.O.S.F. "The deep joyfulness of each person present was held up as a key component in inviting youth and showing what religious life is and why it is so needed today."

Dillon attended the conference along with Father Toby Collins, C.R., NRVC Board member, and Patrice Tuohy of NRVC's communications firm, TrueQuest Communications. In addition, roughly 20-30 religious who are members of NRVC took part in the gathering.

The event opened with a greeting and reflection from Pope Francis. It included input from both vocational leaders and young religious. Former NRVC executive director Brother Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C. spoke on the North American experience of vocation ministry. 

The conference highlighted many vocation ministry themes familiar to NRVC members, including but not limited to: encountering youth with an openness to where they are, cultivating and showing joy in one's vocation, offering youth a personal experience of Christ, and encouraging a culture of vocations so that all people in the church are involved in vocation ministry.

Father Toby Collins, C.R. has created several videos about the conference. His photos of the event are on the NRVC Flickr page.

World Day for Consecrated Life

February 2

The worldwide church will recognize and celebrate religious life on February 2, World Day for Consecrated Life (celebrated in parishes February 3 and 4).

NRVC encourages its members and friends to mark the day with special prayers, events, social media outreach, etc.  Anyone is free to share the video "Why we love our vocation" that NRVC produced last year for this occasion.

A colorful "Wake up the world" prayer card may be downloaded for free. Or packs of 100 cards may be purchased for just $8 for members or $12 for non-members.

Other resources are available from the U.S. bishops conference.

Grants help with education debt

Apply for 2018; 11 institutes aided in 2017

Cialinett Colon, with the Sisters of Christian Charity, is one of many young adults able to enter religious life thanks to NFCRV help with student loans. See a video about her here.

The National Fund for Catholic Religious Vocations (NFCRV), which in 2017 assisted 11 institutes with education-debt grants, will accept applications from January 3 to March 13.

NFCRV offers financial assistance to pay the college debt of viable candidates to religious life. Applications can be submitted only by current NRVC members who registered for membership by December 31, 2017.

The application guidelines are at nfcrv.net.  The NFCRV board will review applications and approve grants at its May 2018 meeting. Grant recipients will be notified in June 2018.

In 2017 the following religious  communities received aid to pay the education debts of candidates: 

  • Apostles of the Sacred Heart
  • Congregation of the Holy Spirit
  • Dominican Sisters of Houston
  • Franciscan Friars, Conventual
  • Poor Clare Nuns, Boston, MA
  • Redemptorists, Denver Province
  • Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Immaculata, PA
  • Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, KS
  • Sisters of Christian Charity
  • Sisters of Providence, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods
  • Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

In this short video, learn more about one of the grant recipients, Cialinett Colon, with the Sisters of Christian Charity. Profiles of her and other grantees are at nfcrv.org.

Father Don Miller, O.F.M.

Rest in peace

It is with sorrow that NRVC notes the December 12 death of its longtime, active member, Father Don Miller, O.F.M. 

Miller succumbed to cancer following 12 years as vocation minister for the Franciscan Friars of Saint John the Baptist Province, four years on the NRVC Board, and a stint as regional chair for what is now the Lake Erie-Ohio River member area. He also wrote for HORIZON.

Miller celebrated his 50th jubilee in 2016, crediting the Sinsinawa Dominicans for encouraging his vocation. We extend our deepest sympathies to his community members, friends, and family.

Racism workshop

February 18-21 in Texas

Dr. Arturo Chavez

Dr. John Chitakure

NRVC invites you to attend the workshop, "Roots of racism," to take place February 18-21 in San Antonio at the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC). 

The workshop is aimed at exploring beliefs and mindsets about race and asking how we, as leaders, are called to even deeper conversion, reconciliation, and transformation. The workshop will look at implications for candidate assessment and integration into vowed communal life. The Mexican American Catholic College will provide a welcoming, safe space to engage in the often-difficult conversations about race and racism.  

Dr. Arturo Chavez, president of MACC, and Dr. John Chitakure, associate professor of pastoral theology at MACC,  will lead the workshop. Details and registration are at nrvc.net.

NRVC job opening

Program and communication coordinator

NRVC is seeking applications by January 12 for the part-time position of program and communication coordinator.

The organization seeks an experienced professional minister with a strong background in event planning and communications. This newly created, part-time position will provide administrative and clerical support to the director of member relations and services, Sister Deborah Borneman, SS.C.M.

The coordinator will be responsible for promoting NRVC events, communicating timely information to participants, and organizing details for successful programs. The person who will thrive in this position will be a creative and mission-driven extrovert with excellent written and verbal skills, a proven ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, and an ability to build and sustain successful relationships and listen effectively.

This position will have a flexible work week of 20 hours at the national office in Chicago and on-site at events. Find a detailed position description here. Resumes should be sent to debbiesscm@nrvc.net.

Use the VISION calendar

Publicize your community's events

Start the new year right by taking a few minutes to add your community's events to the VISION Vocation Guide online calendar.

Your free listing will be available to VISION's 300,000+ visitors. Any public event sponsored by a religious community—vocational, educational, spiritual, etc.—may be listed on the calendar. See the calendar here; list an event here.

Resource of the month

Icon vocation prayer cards


Consider using these colorful prayer cards in conjunction with World Day for Consecrated Life next month. They also make a beautiful giveaway at any vocation event or can be sent with jubilee announcements or thank you letters. The art is by iconographer Vivian Imbruglia, and the words are derived from Pope Francis' message at the conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life.

A pack of 100 is only $8 for members, $12 for non-members. Order them at the NRVC online store. Members may also download the card.

News of our collaborators

Irish study released; forum on international sisters, workshop, conference

Vocations Ireland releases research

Recently released research commissioned by Vocations Ireland points to both challenges and possibilities for spreading a vocation culture in Ireland. The study reviewed the current church climate in Ireland and surveyed in writing and in interviews vocation directors for religious orders and young religious. 

The study report noted, “The Irish Catholic Church has been shaken to the very core of its structure,” by sex abuse and clericalism. This has coincided with steep declines in the practice of Catholicism in Ireland and much-reduced numbers and visibility of religious. Furthermore, religious themselves point to weak leadership in their own institutes and the wider Irish church as a problem.

The opportunities uncovered by the study include:

  •  Spiritual hunger exists within the Irish people.
  •  Religious communities can meet that need with retreats, spiritual direction, online resources, and other forms of presenting their long-standing spiritual traditions.
  •  Youth ministry is needed and is something religious orders can offer.
  •  Vocation ministers who took part in the study remain hopeful and want to reach out to young people and “maintain the spiritual narrative” in Ireland.

The full study may be found here.

Forum on study of international sisters

The Mexican American Catholic College is hosting a "Forum of the First-ever Study of International Sisters" on its San Antonio campus January 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The co-authors of a recent study of international sisters living in the United States will give a presentation, followed by a discussion. They will discuss why sisters come to the United States, contributions they make, and challenges they face. They will conclude with recommendations based on an analysis of their survey and interview data. The study was conducted by Trinity Washington University and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

The event will be free and open to the public, with lunch provided and simultaneous translation available. Registration is required. Click here for bilingual information with full details.

Registration open for conference on intercultural competencies 

Join national experts in human formation and intercultural competency to address opportunities and challenges in evaluating and forming international priests and religious for ministry in the United States. "Intercultural Competencies for Human Formation" will be held April 15-18, 2018, at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and Seminary in Indiana. The conference is co-sponsored by Saint Luke Institute and Saint Meinrad Archabbey. Learn more and register at sliconnect.org/conferences or contact Beth Davis at sliconnect@sli.org or 502-632-2471.

Canadian vocation conference

The National Association of Vocation and Formation Directors in Canada invites U.S. vocation directors to attend its conference April 22-25, 2018 in Hamilton, Ontario. Find details here.


Upcoming events and celebrations


World Day for Consecrated Life

Roots of racism workshop

February 2, 2018

February 18-21, 2018

National Catholic Sisters Week

March 8-14, 2018

World Day of Prayer for Vocations 

April 22, 2018

Religious Brothers Day

NRVC Summer Institute

May 1, 2018

July 9-28, 2018

NRVC Convocation 

National Vocation Awareness Week

November 1-5, 2018

November 4-10, 2018

HORIZON Spring 2024 ...
Reach out to and walk with Hispanic candidates from a place ...  More
Summer Institute ...
Join us for any of the five workshops offered on-site at ...  More
NRVC Recognition Awards ...
As we look forward to gathering together at Convocation, NRVC members ...  More
Annual Ordination Class Report ...
Read this report to learn more about men who will be ...  More
Join us at Convocation! ...
This year’s keynote presentations, liturgies, and conversations are important for everyone ...  More

NRVC Member Areas

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National Office Closed

May 27,

Memorial Day National Holiday

Member Area Gathering - West Coast

June 18,

via Zoom

National Office Closed

June 19,

Juneteenth National Holiday

Member Area Gathering - Delaware Valley

June 22,

Huntington Valley, PA

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Health and Wellness in Candidate Assessment Workshop

July 23-24, 2024,

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