Spring and summer great times in abbeys and great orders because of the ordinations, profession of vows, entrances to the novitiate and the anticipation of such things. God, indeed, provides…God hears our prayers for humble workers in the vineyards. We seek the face of God together, in faith, hope and charity.
For last two years I’ve been compiling a selective list of orders that have received new members and noting which ones had professions of vows because I was awe struck by the fact that some people are still being called to do such. That is to say, I am not struck by the fact that God still calls men and women to accept the gift of religious life but that they actually say ‘yes’ to the Divine Invitation to follow Him.
I was also curious to know which groups, randomly surveyed, got new members. Leading others to Christ is serious business, so I wanted to know how the Church in America might fare in the future with fewer vocations. For example, the tri-provinces of the Eastern Jesuits (the Provinces of Maryland, New England & New York) admitted only 8 for themselves for 2010. To compare numbers, in the New England Province in 1990, 6 men entered the Jesuit society (only 1 remains today) and in 2010 they admitted only 2 men. Dismal numbers given the beauty of the vocation. What would Saint Ignatius of Loyola say?????
We should acknowledge the fact that some orders are dying (or are already dead and the membership is refusing to admit that their group is dead) but if God has given the grace to come into existence, to abort the charism/vocation too readily and without taking stock in the factors that have contributed to diminishment and the factors of correctives, is perplexing.
Nothing beats being faithful to some simple facts which encourages a faithful living of the vowed life and makes it attractive to others:
In sum, I’d say that a religious ought to live the virtues we observe in God’s Trinitarian life: be familial/communal with to regard to living, faithfully accepting of another’s differences (the gifts the other brings), maintaining a personal dependence on another realizing that we humans didn’t make ourselves and we really only know ourselves in light the other person, having an attitude for the sharing of resources and the practice of hospitality remembering that we receive guests as though it was Christ Himself knocking on our door.
The fruit of prayer and witness to Christ is seen in the admission of candidates to religious life as postulants, novices, simply and solemnly professed members as well as ordinations. Let me give you a sampling of what I am talking about –this is not a comprehensive list:
The Monastic Life:
Saint Walburga Abbey
(Virginia Dale, CO) have 3 novices, 1 sister professed simple vows and there are 5 sisters in temporary vows. The abbey has a blog
St Louis Abbey
solemnly professed 2 monks, will simply profess 1 and admitted 1 to the postulancy and ordained another to the priesthood in June. Father Bede reports that in the past 13 months there have been a total of 5 solemn professions and D.V. there will be 1 simple profession in November and a solemn profession in January 2011.
solemnly professed 1 monk and admitted 2 to the novitiate.
St John’s Abbey
2 monks made solemn vows and 4 simply professed vows; their stories are here
; 2 were admitted to the community.
St Vincent’s Archabbey
ordained 1 to the priesthood, 5 became novices and 4 professed simple vows. The juniorate has 13 monks.
St Benedict’s Abbey
(in Kansas) ordained 2 monks, 1 to the order of deacon and another to the priesthood.
simply professed 1, solemnly professed 1 and 4 entered the novitiate.
The Monastery of San Benedetto
(Norcia, Italy) had 2 monks profess simple vows and 1 profess solemn vows this summer. The community was founded in 1998 in Rome and in 2000 moved Norcia, Italy. The community grows.
Benedictine monasteries worth knowing about, who live the life but don’t publish the numbers of their monasteries with accuracy:
The Carmelite Monks
(Cody, WY) had 4 postulants enter, 2 enter the novitiate and a perpetual profession. 2 were ordained to the diaconate.
The Norbertine Canons of the Abbey of Saint Norbert
(DePere, WI) admitted 3 the novitiate (2 for St Norbert’s & 1 for the daughter house Santa Maria de la Vid in New Mexico); there is 1 novice in the 2nd year novitiate.
The Norbertine Canons of Daylesford Abbey
(Paoli, PA) admitted 1 to the novitiate, there is 1 2nd year novice, 2 others in formation for priesthood.
The Norbertine Canons of the Abbey of Saint Michael
(Silverado, CA) 2 professed solemn vows; new postulants were accepted; 1 was ordained a priest and 1 a deacon.
The Capuchin Friars of the Province of Saint Conrad
simply professed 1 friar, 1 novice, 3 postulants and 1 friar ordained deacon.
The Franciscan friars of the Holy Name Province
finally professed 4 friars and admitted 4 men as postulants; 2 friars ordained deacons.
The Dominican Province of Saint Albert the Great
had 10 men enter the novitiate, 3 make simple vows and 2 make solemn vows; 2 friars ordained priests and 1 friar ordained deacon.
The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
had 4 sisters renew vows; 1 professed perpetual vows and 3 entered the novitiate and 1 entered the second year of novitiate. There are also 4 new pre-postulants.
The Sisters of St Francis of the Martyr St George
(Alton, IL) 21 junior sisters renewed their vows; 4 professed simple vows, 5 entered the postulant program, 3 entered the 1st year novitiate and 2 moved to the 2nd year novitiate.
The Congregation of St Cecilia, Dominican Sisters of Nashville
perpetually professed 5 and simply professed 9; 20 were invested as novices and 26 new postulants entered.
The Sisters of Life
simply professed 10 and finally professed 1; 7 sisters began the novitiate.