A reader sent me a link to the following article:
Vocations to female contemplative orders in Italy are booming, according to the Italian bishops’ conference.
In 2005, 300 women took their solemn profession of vows, bringing the number of contemplatives in the country to 6,672.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, welcomed the increase at a prayer vigil in St. John Lateran Basilica last October, noting that it is part of a wider trend.
“The number of contemplative religious sisters is growing throughout the world, but — and this is more significant — this is also happening in Europe and in our own Italy, which often seems so hardest hit secularization,” he said.
Others, such as Church statistical expert Brother Giovanni Dalpiaz, a Camadolese monk from Bardolino near Venice, Italy, caution that the trend is only a start.
“It is not good to deceive ourselves that all of the problems have now passed and a new spring has arrived,” he said, pointing out that there have been only incremental increases from 2001 to 2004.
But Brother Giovanni added that the recent increase “is good because it encourages hope that the Lord is still capable of bringing about strong and generous answers to his call.”
Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, told the Register Jan. 13 that Italy is the exception with regards to women religious.
I’m still troubled by the view that somehow women are choosing the better part by choosing the religious life over the married life, both a necessary vocations if the world is to continue to thrive.
If one is not called to the religious life then choosing it would not be choosing the better part. I for one was called to the vocation of marriage. I don’t feel as though I somehow chose a lesser vocation because I didn’t choose the religious life.
This is good news indeed.
fantastic news! and i’m not surprised. i’ve been discerning for 2 years now a monastic vocation. on one visit to a benedictine monastery in the south, part of the itinerary was to spend one evening in fellowship with a community of benedictine nuns about an hour away from the monks. these nuns were decidedly more liberal; nearly all were in lay clothes, and they only had 1 candidate vs. the 8 or so that the monks had that week. one of the nuns queried our vocation director, “why is it you always have so many interested young men and we have such a hard time attracting the women?” he didn’t have an answer. but i sure did: authenticity! i’m always suspect of a community that sheds its habit. in my archdiocesan vocations text, there’s an advertisement for one order of nuns that shows pictures of them ministering to youth in a choir setting, but also rock climbing & snow skiiing with the caption, “sometimes you feel like a nun … sometimes you don’t!” GIMME A BREAK!!!
I’m not about to tell a nun what she should or shouldn’t wear, but I wonder if our nuns know the special sign they are when they do wear habits. There is something very important about their visibility to us.
I was surprised to find that we have more nuns in our diocese than priests. From the looks of it, there are almost none. (almost ‘nun’?)
Maybe if the habit is too cumbersome for certain activities they could have a “dress habit”, or something, just so we know that they exist?
Joanne, I remember seeing nuns working on a farm and in a vineyard. They had thick stockings, sensible shoes, and hats over their veils. It seems to me that they wore a belt, too, to keep their scapular (or is it “scapula”?) in place.
Personally, I think it’s a form of laziness. It’s rather like the women who wear elastic-waisted trousers and sweatshirt-like tops to work every day because a suit is “too much fuss”. I always figured if a 70-year-old Bernadettan in a habit could play “Red Rover” with rambunctious 6th-graders without losing her veil, there’s really o reason that other nuns can’t learn to use bobbypins. 🙂
It’s the same way here in Ca. I’ve been discerning for the last couple years. The Order of the Sisters of St. Joeseph is prominant in my area because of the many hospitals they founded. Unfortunately, they liberalized a few decades ago, and when I visited they had only one novice in their entire order.
In contrast, the traditional order of Carmelites I visited had no less than around ten novices, three postulants, and several aspirants.
My first grade teacher, Sr Mary John Mark, used to play jump rope with us in the parking lot in full habit. I have fond memories of her veil flapping. She loved Jesus and she loved us, so naturally, we learned to love Jesus, too. After all, He loved us so much that He sent His bride to play jump rope with us! (first grade logic, but it was a good beginning!)
Jeron, when you were at St Joseph’s did you happen to encounter the Hermits of the Eternal Priesthood of Jesus? (I think that’s the name of the order…) The most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen! Their wine-colored habits reveal almost no personal features, but their devotion glows all around them. I heard there are only two left out of the original eight, though, (the two I met) because 6 found the order too strict, or at least that’s the story.
We should pray for them. They’re in Spencer, Mass, if anyone’s interested.
We’re always running into this problem, Maggie. I don’t think religious life is better in the sense of necessarily holier, just as a bishop isn’t necessarily holier than a gardener. It’s not a hierarchy of holiness. But in the order of professions, that of a nun deserves greater respect than that of a mother. A mother deserves respect when she’s a good mother, a mother always merits respect from her children, etc, but a religious must be given the respect due her/his role/office even if she/he has a nightmarish personality.
God makes up the difference, in the end. I don’t know if i’m explaining that right, or if I’m actually right, but that’s the way I understand it.
Comments are closed.