Booming Traditional Religious Orders!

Friday, May 21, AD 2010

What has been an open secret is now backed by empirical evidence:

The most successful institutes in terms of attracting and retaining new members at this time are those that follow a more traditional style of religious life in which members live together in community and participate in daily Eucharist, pray the Divine Office, and engage in devotional practices together. They also wear a religious habit, work together in common apostolates, and are explicit about their fidelity to the Church and the teachings of the Magisterium. All of these characteristics are especially attractive to the young people who are entering religious life today.*

As I have been reading through the website of the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) I came across this nugget of information [Emphases Mine]:

Myth #4:  Women entering religious life want to wear habits.Fact:  Both men and women seem to be drawn to habited communities. About two thirds of the newer members say they belong to a religious institute that wears a habit. Among those that responded affirmatively, a little more than half indicate that the habit is required in all or most circumstances.

Interestingly, almost half of the men who belong to an institute that does not wear a habit say they would wear it if it were an option [and those that don’t wear habits are obviously being disobedient and committing a mortal sin], compared to nearly a quarter of the women respondents.

Ann Carey of The Catholic World Report wrote that the study found several “best practices”:

  1. Involving membership and leadership in concerted vocation promotion efforts.
  2. Having a full-time vocation director.
  3. Using new media like the Internet.
  4. Offering discernment or “come-and-see” opportunities for potential members.
  5. Exposing young people to the idea of religious life from grade school through young adulthood.

What stuck out and confirmed what I’ve always thought in attracting people to religious vocations, as well as bringing in converts to the Catholic faith is:

“the example of members and the characteristics of the institute…have the most influence on the decision to enter a particular institute.”

Sister Elsa Garcia Practicing a Pagan Ritual

When you see a habitless nun walking around in her pants or muumuu’s you wonder what the attraction is when you could lead the same life without living in poverty.

As Saint John said in his epistle:

Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever. (1 Jn 2:15-17)

The rest of this posting will be an excerpt of Ann Carey‘s article on The Catholic World Report where she sights some examples of booming traditional religious orders:

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8 Responses to Booming Traditional Religious Orders!

  • God is clearly blessing these traditional orders with growing numbers of vocations, and His grace is abundant in the rebounding orthodoxy of the Gen Xers like me and even among many Millennials of this latest generation.

    From the perspective of a man discerning his vocation to Holy Orders as a religious priest (God willing!), I can vouch personally for the holiness, orthodoxy and zeal for souls of both the CA Norbertines and the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. I visited the OMVs at their beautiful shrine and seminary in Back Bay, Boston and met some amazing men: priests, seminarians, and novices. I would have been thrilled to join the Norbertines, but they have an upper age limit for men who enter of 28, and I surpassed that a few years back! 🙁 Nevertheless, God’s grace and the wisdom of a wonderful spiritual director (himself a religious priest/friar for many years) and a great vocations director have all led me to pursue a vocation as a postulant with the Marians of the Immaculate Conception later this year, also known as the “Divine Mercy Priests” for their ministry of spreading devotion to the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the messages Our Lord communicated to St. Faustina Kowalska. They are also a very orthodox and faithful order of young men whose vocations are booming (I attended a discernment weekend there wherein 4 of the 8 of us visiting applied for admission as postulants to the order–50% of us!)

    God is faithful if we remain faithful to Him!

  • You definitely have my prayers Kevin!

    Ora pro nobis!

  • The Father responds to those who are Faithful, Humble and Obedient – as His Son was.

  • I’m blessed to live near an order of very holy and orthodox priests, The Fathers of Mercy. They are going to ordain one priest and two deacons next Saturday.

  • You are blessed, Ellen. The Fathers of Mercy are a great order. Fr Louis hails from my old parish in Detroit and said Mass there every time he was in town. Very reverent and awesome sermons – his presence was always a great treat for the parish.

  • When these orders embrace the traditional Mass instead of the fabricated Mass (i.e., the Novus Ordo, even in Latin), then we’ll know that they’re serious about tradition.

    “What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”

    -Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, Preface to the French edition of Klaus Gamber’s The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background

  • My friend is with the Nashville Dominicans, and see loves it! 🙂 I am entering formation with the Salesians come end of August and in four years, I could be in the habit! It is exciting. Traditional orders are finding more members, there has to be a reason as you have proved.

  • Ash,

    You and your friend have my prayers!