Friday, August 24, 2007

The calling of this Love, part six

FIRST VOWS: Sister Sharon Rose Goellner hugs one of her fellow Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia after a Mass at which 11 sisters made their first profession of vows in Nashville, Tenn., in July. (CNS/Theresa Laurence, Tennessee Register)

~from CNS

Girls often dream of saying "I do" at the altar to their future spouse.

Katrina Gredona hopes she'll be saying those words to Jesus as a religious sister.

"When I look at a community of religious women, I see women who contribute fruitfully to the church and to the world in a very special way and in a very essential way, and I think that's exciting," said Gredona, a student at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Ten years ago, Gredona's interest in religious life would have been unique in comparison with the majority of other Catholic girls, as reports indicated a decline in the number of religious sisters in the United States. But recently campus ministers and the vocations directors of some women's religious communities have been noticing a new trend of more young women looking into religious life.

Many vocation directors, in interviews with Catholic News Service and in responses to a survey by Vision Vocation Guide, reported a notable increase in the number of women contacting them for information. A small number of communities reported a stable increase in young entrants.

At the same time, more campus ministries are helping young women learn about discernment and religious life....

...In answer to questions sent to them by CNS, young women shared the reasons they're open to and discerning religious life.

"I think it's my responsibility as a faithful young person to seriously discern whether or not God is calling me into direct service of the church through religious life," said Lindsay Wilcox, a student at Boston College.

"I am considering religious life because God has placed that inclination on my heart -- to totally give my life back to him, who laid down his life for me," said Stephanie Ray, who is preparing to enter the Sisters of Life....

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