You’ll note the ad for VISION Vocation Match at the right sidebar. They were recently profiled on CBS Evening News (you have to go here and press the “Featured on CBS News” button) as part of a story on late vocations to the priesthood, and on how the church in America is hopeful that the visit of Pope Benedict XVI will help inspire more people to consider the priesthood or religious life.
That is not a completely silly hope. If you scroll down a bit at Roman Catholic Vocations (the blog has a long intro section) you’ll find this story about a fellow who is about to be ordained thanks to seeing John Paul II with about 800,000 other people, during the remarkable 2002 World Youth gathering in Toronto, which so energized the ailing pontiff. And it is almost commonplace to hear young sisters and nuns talk about how they heard the call for their own vocations during a papal visit to their country, or a WYD.
Actually, the Diocese in NYC is reporting a “tsunami” of inquiries and applicants for the priesthood since Benedict’s visit. This is a good thing.
The very interesting Rosalind Moss, a Catholic convert who was born into a non-religious Jewish household, then became an Evangelical Christian before crossing the Tiber, is forming a completely new religious order in St. Louis, Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope. She’s describing a fully habited, traditional order contemplative/active, meaning they will have a strong commitment to and basis in prayer – both in community and privately – but also a charism “in the world.” This will be interesting to watch. There are quite a few new religious communities (both male and female) emerging – and all of them seem to be reclaiming some of the devotions and counter–cultural trappings that were lost in the 1970’s (all while keeping technologically current – but Moss’s seems to me to be one to really keep an eye on. They’re not all about youngsters, either.
Karen Hall is joking around on her blog that when her husband dies, she is becoming a Carmelite. What’s weird is, I hear that “when my husband dies, I’m becoming a nun” stuff from more women than you’d suspect, lately. And it is becoming less rare all the time.
As I wrote back here:
“Contemplatives want to do the work of active orders, the active orders of lay people,” said Abbot Bernard.
“Perhaps the lay people will turn to contemplation,” said Abbess Catherine.
“Then they will need the very grilles your progressives are seeking to take down; renew the solitude and silence, the prayer we are letting decay with all this busyness. They should read the Rule – and the Council documents that tell us to go back to our sources – but it seems they cannot read anymore, not with their minds.”
“Yes. They have forgotten the meaning of things,” said Dame Agnes.
– In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden, published 1969.
Everything goes around, like a wheel, back and forth, like a pendulum. Every movement inspires a correcting movement. That’s how things stay balanced.