Mary Anne Marks graduated from Harvard University at the top of her class. You may have heard of her, she is the one that gave the salutatory address all in Latin.
She received a standing ovation.
In addition to graduating with a Classics and English double major with honors, she will be entering the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
You may remember these nuns from their appearance on the Oprah Show earlier this year in February and how they dazzled the audience as well as Oprah Winfrey herself with their simple devotion and love of Jesus in the Eucharist.
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”:
- Involving membership and leadership in concerted vocation promotion efforts.
- Having a full-time vocation director.
- Using new media like the Internet.
- Offering discernment or “come-and-see” opportunities for potential members.
- 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.”
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:
The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They are a new order that arose from Pope John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization. They are devout and orthodox in our Catholic faith which explains why the average age of a nun is 26 and they are already turning back inquiries since they are packed to capacity in their new convent.
They recently made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show this past Tuesday, February 9. I’ve only seen some of the show online and my assumptions were validated. That being they were knowledgeable about our faith, energetically orthodox, and calm in their disposition.
I strongly advice you to watch all four videos that I have been able to track down of the entire show. Some of the videos have a few seconds where the digital relay distorts the picture, but the sound is not disturbed.
Part I: I love hearing the sisters talk about their faith unapologetically, ie, you hear “God called me”, “I am married to Jesus Christ”, etc, etc. Simply beautiful!
I have to say, I’ve been a little surprised by the reaction of many left-leaning Catholics to the Apostolic Visitation of women’s religious congregations. If history is any guide, whether inside the Church or outside, a resistance to third party scrutiny is not a sign of organizational vitality. This resistance is particularly odd in an ecclesiastical context, where one would have thought the bonds of communion between the Holy See and religious orders are fairly strong. Moreover, the reasons proffered for refusing to answer the questions range from unconvincing (‘they don’t understand us’) to the self-indulgently bizarre (‘Women religious…are asking if there is a “Ghandian or Martin Luther King way” to deal with violence they felt is being done to them’). In any case, I think it would be good to offer prayers on their behalf. There are clearly difficult issues here that need to be resolved; and it seems to me that the reaction to the Apostolic Visitation has gone a long way towards demonstrating the need for it in the first place.
Salvete AC readers!
Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:
For the link click here.
2. Speaking of religious, after enduring the many innovations following the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, vocations have rebounded:
“Nearly 70 percent of Catholic religious communities have seen a jump in vocation inquiries in the past year”
The vast majority of those entering the religious life are tradition-minded adults under the age of 40.
For the link click here.
Here is a beautiful video about a young nun, Sister Lauren Franko, who is in the discerning process on whether to pursue the religious life or not. Another perspective is offered of what it takes to be a nun by Sister Maria of the Cross. Both of these nuns are part of the Dominican Sisters of Summit, New Jersey. It is a very well made Photo Essay by Time.