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Mark Shea's Blog: So That No Thought of Mine, No Matter How Stupid, Should Ever Go Unpublished Again!
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This is the second time I’ve seen an earnest young lady run up college debt and expect a fervent Christian public to pick up the tab. What breathtaking narcissism. Does someone actually have to point out that this is irresponsible behavior? Are religious orders so desperate they consider people this immature as novice material? Listen. Closely. If you have an idea you want to take the veil including vows of poverty, don’t start by running into debt. Especially don’t do that and bubble about how MUCH YOU WANTO BE LOVE but you need other people’s money to become poor since you’re too poor to do it yet. Among other things it suggegts you didn’t learn very much in school or at home. Spend a few years growing up working for a living paying YOUR OWN BILLS. This may include being…Poor or poorer than you *like*. That’s called reality. Monastics, real ones, are al about that.
Bob, I appreciate your perspective. As the young lady responsible for the aforementioned fundraiser, I wish to offer some clarity.
First and foremost, I do not “expect” the Christian public to take responsibility for my financial debt; I ask only for freewill offerings out of charity. No one is required to donate to a cause that they don’t support or disagree with, and I respect that.
Secondly, for one to enter a religious Order (or, more specifically, a vibrant religious community with an influx of vocations), it is required for the young woman to have, at the minimum, a four-year college degree. It is nothing shocking to know that higher education is expensive, and for the majority of society, not affordable without student loans. It isn’t so much that I “started by running into debt,” as I simply pursued a bachelor’s degree, required for entrance. It is nearly inevitable to graduate from a college institution without any debt.
Third, I have been working diligently to take full responsibility for my debt and pay it off on my own. In the year since graduation, I’ve limited my spending, using the vast majority of my income to directly pay off my loans. The number you see in the fundraiser is significantly less than the one that was there upon the day of my graduation. I had major reservations that I discussed at length with my spiritual director about beginning this fundraiser, not the least of which was my feeling of guilt in asking others to help me to pay for an education that I alone received and from which I alone benefitted. To mark this as “narcissistic” or “irresponsible” without understanding the great Cross it is for me to even post this fundraiser is to undermine my empathy with those whom I ask.
Fourth, a friend once explained to me that people post fundraisers for mission trips or service projects, toward which people generally have no issue. Though this money is, necessarily, attached to student loans, it could be considered the “cost” at which I will be able to undertake the ultimate “mission trip,” a lifelong one of service to God.
Fifth, while you say that it would be far more responsible to work for a few more years to pay off my debt on my own and then enter religious life (which, yes, on a purely pragmatic note would be true), I pose you this question: If Our Lord asks something of you, do you tell Him to wait? Especially if it becomes clear through Providence that His timing is asking something of you right now, at this moment — something beyond you, something you cannot begin to fathom being able to do — would you say to Him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father?” (Matt 8:12), or rather, “Lord, let me spend a few more years working so I can afford such a thing?” If He asks it of you, then you — in great humility — strive to do His will, even if it means asking others to give, freely, willingly, and charitably, so that you can do so.
I understand your reticence about this, and I appreciate you articulating your concerns. Trust that these thoughts have not escaped my mind, even before choosing to use this means to pay off my debt. But please, also understand that I cannot deny my vocation, and thereby deny Christ, by doing anything other than what He asks of me. Right now, that means surrendering my desire to be able to pay off my loans on my own, trusting in His guidance through this fundraiser, picking up my Cross, and following Him.
Kelsey, what a carefully thought out response. I wasn’t planning to make a donation, but I will now.
Abby, thank you for your donation! I’m incredibly appreciative of the support!
Kelsey thank you for the opportunity for us to share in a small way with your vocation. I consider it a gift to be able to help someone that I would never met then other than through this blog.
Bob I don’t know why you would react with such vitriol and assuming so much about her intentions. Look into that and hopefully you will find more peace.
Mark thanks for posting these opportunities!
And thank YOU, David, for your donation! I can’t begin to express my gratitude to each person who helps me, but suffice it to say I am continually awed and humbled by everyone’s generosity. Know of my prayers.
And Bob was busy with much Financial Maturity, while Kelsey only asked to sit at the feet of the Lord. And Bob said, “Lord, don’t you care that Kelsey is being Irresponsible and expecting ME to pay all her debt? Tell her to grow up!”
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