We often here about the vocations crisis that concentrates almost totally on priests. Often forgotten is those living in religious life and when it is mentioned it concerns sisters and nuns. In the Catholic blogosphere there is some interest in “nun gazing” as the term goes, but very little “brother gazing” and so generally brothers in religious life receives very little attention.
So I was glad to see this article in the National Catholic Register Surprising Revival for Men in Religious Life which collates stories involving new communities of religious life that concentrate on men religious. There are some great stories here involving groups I have not heard of and their growth. One of the stories reminds me a bit of the story of Mother Angelica and the inclusion of help from Protestants in building and supporting communities of Catholic religious life.
One good reminder from the article:
One popular misconception is that religious brothers are men who are not smart enough to be priests. “Catholics tend not to have a problem with women religious, but when it comes to non-ordained men religious, they are a bit uncertain,” Wick said. “What they might not realize is that a religious brother has just as legitimate a consecrated vocation by striving to be a brother to all.”
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking of brothers as potential priests who couldn’t hack it instead of its own vocation.