Heilengkreutz monks.jpgThe promise of the hundredfold of the Lord is evident in the lives we lead; how we live our Baptism ought to be evident and with those who have responded to the Lord’s call to follow Him more closely in the Christian life in which we live more intensely by through the consecrated life.

As Pope Benedict said, 
It is no less challenging to follow Christ today, It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to him, listening to his word and encountering him in the sacraments; it means learning to conform our will to his. This requires a genuine school of formation for all those who would prepare themselves for the ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life under the guidance of the competent ecclesial authorities. The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in his mission and to serve the church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life (48th World Day of Vocations, 2011).

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The key words for us ought to be “to follow,” “to keep our gaze,” “listening,” “conforming,” and “encountering.” The crux is, to whom do we belong? Of course, I would hope that we could easily say that we belong to Christ and to His Church. But we know that while we may honestly believe this fact, it is not so every day. We say one thing but we don’t always follow and keep our gaze on the Lord. May this be our prayer and our work today!
This is the third year that I have surveyed, in representative manner, some of the US monastic communities and religious orders who have had members profess simple and/or solemn vows, new members who received the habit or have receive ordination to the Order of Deacon or Priest. While the numbers may be sobering, the point is not about numbers as much as to recognize the many testimonies of grace, the rich living of the offer God has made to our sisters and brothers to love and serve Him in religious life. Corrections welcome.

Monastic life
  • St Vincent’s Archabbey: 4 profess simple vows; 4 profess solemn vows; 2 ordained deacons, 2 ordained priests
  • St John’s Abbey: 2 monks make a profession of solemn vows; 3 professed simple vows
  • St Benedict’s Abbey (Atchinson, KS): 1 monk solemn vows, 3 received as postulants, 1 postulant in Brazil
  • Belmont Abbey (Charlotte, NC): 1 novice entered; 2 monks profess solemn vows
  • St Martin’s Abbey: 1 entered as a novice

Apostolic life

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  • Conventual Franciscans in the USA: 2 friars profess solemn vows, 7 simple vows; 9 enter the novitiate and 8 enter the postulancy; 1 ordained priest
  • Franciscans of the Holy Name Province: 2 friars ordained to the priesthood, 1 ordained to the diaconate, 4 professed solemn vows and 2 professed simple vows and 4 entered the novitiate
  • Pittsburgh Province of Capuchins: 5 friars profess final vows; 9 postulants invited
  • New York-New England Province of Capuchins: 2 friars profess simple vows; 2 ordained priests, 2 ordained deacon; 4 entered the novitiate; 6 postulants invited
  • Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist: 1 entered as a novice
  • Dominicans of the Province of St Martin de Porres: 6 novices entered
  • Dominicans of the Province of St Joseph: 13 novices entered, 4 friars profess solemn vows; 10 profess simple vows
  • Congregation of Holy Cross: 5 brothers professed simple vows; 3 brothers professed final vows; 3 ordained deacons; 1 ordained priest; 16 entered as postulants and 9 entered the novitiate.