Category Archives: Vocations

Jesus the Good Shepherd is desires intimate communion with us

Good Shepherd San Lorenzo fuori le mura mosaic.jpg

Good Shepherd Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Easter, was observed in Rome with the ordination of 10 men to the priesthood by Pope Francis. Following the ordination the Pope delivered the weekly Regina Caeli address. Here’s an excerpt:

The voice of Jesus is unique! If we learn to distinguish it, He guides us on the path of life, a path that goes beyond the abyss of death.

But at a certain point Jesus, referring to his sheep, says: “My Father, who has given them to me…” (Jn 10,29). This is very important, it is a profound mystery, that is not easy to understand: if I feel attracted to Jesus, if his voice warms my heart, it is thanks to God the Father, who has put in me the desire of love, of truth, life, beauty … and Jesus is all this to the full! This helps us to understand the mystery of vocation, particularly the call to a special consecration. Sometimes Jesus calls us, invites us to follow him, but maybe we don’t realize that it is Him, just like young Samuel.

Pope Francis

Regina Caeli address, 21 April 2013

Fourth Sunday of Easter

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Pope Francis begins reforming the US religious orders of women

Many, nor all, but many, women religious in the USA have been feeling under pressure to address their lack of unity with Scripture and Tradition (read: Magisterium) over the last few decades. Of course, let me emphasize, not all women religious, but there are enough that have been living lives that are inconsistent with the charism of their orders, and who have taught their own theology especially on moral matters. Some have set up their own teaching authority over and against that of the Holy See. But this is not a matter of who has the right to make decisions, but it is about how all members of the baptized live in communio with the Jesus Christ and His sacrament, the Church. Their justification may very well be explained that women religious believed they are doing what the Council decreed. Will the US sisters now offer spin on what said and done in Rome today? How will they support the shepherding of Pope Francis? Will the US sisters now reassess their place as members of the Mystical Body of Christ? 

Here is the press release of the Holy See:


Today the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States of America. Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle and the Holy See’s Delegate for the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR, also participated in the meeting.

As this was his first opportunity to meet with the Presidency of the LCWR, the Prefect of the Congregation, Most Rev. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, expressed his gratitude for the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years.

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The Litany Run

Jenn Garza training for the OC Marathon_in_preparation of her litany run.jpgThose recent college graduates with educational debt need to pay off their debts prior to following their vocation as a priest, brother, nun or sister. No one is allowed to carry debt into religious life. Morally and economically religious orders can’t assume the educational debt of new recruits. They can help, but it is unfair for them shoulder the entire financial burden given finances today. Some orders, depending on the size of the loan will pay the student loans off over time as the new recruit progresses in the order. But there are ways to work through the financial burden without getting despondent.

Here is Jenn Garza’s story. Jenn wants to be a Norbertine nun of the Bethlehem Priory of Saint Joseph but needs help in paying off $53,000.
Read this website about the Litany Run: 26.2 to the Monastery, and how to help as part of your lenten almsgiving.
Living in debt to a bank, government or a family member is not a good thing at all, even if you are not entering religious life or priesthood. But it is unavoidable today. Modest income people can’t afford huge tuition bills but at the same time our students deserve the best education. So the tensions for Christians is that they ought not to carry large amounts debt, educational or personal for very long. If anything, Christians ought to save a percentage of money for a “rainy day” (like unemployment) and make a sensible donations to worthy causes.

Saint Scholastica Priory (Petersham, MA) announce “Monastic Experience.”

The Benedictine nuns of Saint Scholastica Priory (Petersham, MA) announce two weekends in 2013 for a “Monastic Experience.” 

You also follow the nuns on Facebook.

Suggest this possibility for prayer and discernment to a woman you know…
Monastic Experience St Scholastica Priory.jpg

Religious orders dying out

This morning the faithful bloggers at Rorate Cæli published an article, “Spain: Religious Orders prepare for the end,” outlining the decline of many religious orders.

There has been several decades of vocational contraception in religious orders not only in Spain, but you can name all the other countries in Western Europe AND in North America. All of the well known religious orders in the USA (the SJ, OFMs, Conventuals, CSC, Capuchins, to name a few) are clearly on the decline and are, in fact, preparing for death. In the last few years and certainly in the near future, some prominent religious orders of men and women are merging and monasteries closing. This past year one Benedictine monastic chapter voted to close their monastery and there are at least 9 others that could close and no one would blink.
No all is hopeless. One sees signs of hope among some provinces and some monasteries. But with new recruits not all is better: life in these communities remain fragile.
I am saddened by these events because there is no reason for the aborting of a charism given by the Holy Spirit for the Church. It is time for serious work in conversion, vocation and mission.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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