Double the Habits!

*I know I said I hate blog posts with videos in them, and then turned around and gave you a post full of them this morning, but this video is really worth watching. And not just because I happen to know and love this woman to pieces. She’s got a great story to tell!

“I didn’t know anything about the Catholic Church, I didn’t know anything about the Vatican, I just understood that where I was was good.”

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This video is about the conversion and call to religious vocation of one of my and the Ogre’s dearest friends. She is our little Charlotte’s godmother, and she is currently an affiliate with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Like so many aspiring religious, though, she must clear her student debt before she can fulfill her vocation, and she’s turned to The Labouré Society for help.

I’ve never heard of The Labouré Society before, but they’re going on the top of my list of charities to support. There has been a definite increase in religious vocations in the past few years, which is wonderful, but it’s terrible to consider how many more priests and nuns we would have if their student loans hadn’t held them back from entering religious life. According to The Labouré Society, nearly half of all aspiring priests and religious are prevented from entering formation because of that. Just think about how different things would look if we had twice as many priests and nuns! Double the cassocks! Double the habits! The world would be such a happier place.  It’s dreadful that that the only thing keeping that from being a reality is student loans.

Would you please keep Toni and the other aspirants in your prayers? That’s the number one thing she’s asking for, but if you’d like to donate money to help clear her student loans, you can do so here.


  • Elizabeth Scalia

    Laboure Society is excellent, so is The Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations! I support them both!

    Thanks for this, Calah.

  • Into The West

    Well, I suppose it’s nice there’s a charitable organization that helps prospective religious to clear up the loans they signed for, but I think there’s something more than slightly off by presenting this as the big, bad loan people are trying to prevent people from becoming ordained religious.

    Those kids were happy to sign the contracts and take the money with full knowledge of what their payoff options were when it served their purposes at the time. They ought to be made to work to pay off their own loans, IMO, just as any person signing such a contract should honorably pay back his or her debts.

    The loans aren’t holding them back. The choices they made when they signed on the bottom line and took the cash are what’s holding them back.

    What I’d like to know is if Laboure requires prospective religious who ultimately do not take vows to return the money to the society — if not, there’s a potential problem here.

  • MelanieB

    I don’t see anyone arguing that “the big bad loan people” are preventing people from entering religious life. However, I do think it helpful to look at the bigger picture. Yes, they made a choice; but was it a fully informed choice? We as a society have collectively been encouraging naive young people to go into debt for a college education, not fully informing them of how long it will take after graduation to pay them off, how hard they will have to work and how, instead of guaranteeing them the ability to do whatever they want, a college degree when it comes saddled with a millstone of debt might in fact hinder their dreams. My parents’ generation told us it was worth it to get into any amount of debt to get an education. Where were the parents, guidance counselors, etc. saying, hey this is a lot of money how long will it take to pay back? I am taking responsibility and paying off my debt certainly; but I don’t remember anyone telling my 18 year-old self,who had no real work experience and very little knowledge of finances and how the real world works, that there might be a down side to the debt I was taking on.

    When my pastor, who is now in his 70s, went to Boston College it cost about $400 a year and he made his entire tuition by working a summer job. Now the same education costs $56,486, an amount no student or adult could make working a summer job. And yet I don’t think people have really caught on to what it means that the cost of college is now 100 times more than it was then. I still see lots of people arguing that a college degree is a necessity, no matter how much it costs. Or arguing that you can still get a college education on the cheap by living at home and working to pay your bills. At the vast majority of colleges, that simply is not true any more.

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  • The Crescat

    I had the same reaction when I stepped inside St. Peters. I was brought to tears. I love her comment “I didn’t know anything about the Catholic Church. I just knew where I was was good”.

    A true affirmation to church beauty.

  • Sister Anne

    At 18, a person may have no clue that they are being called to religious life, and some orders (like mine) have an age limit that precludes waiting ten or more years down the road for a debt to be paid in full. Danielle at has been very creative in trying to get work as an event photographer to help chip away at her debt (Fine Arts/Photography) so she can take the next step in discernment.
    On another point raised above, my understanding is that foundations do, in fact, require to be paid back should the candidate return “to the world.”