Sunday, February 2, 2014

Exploring Vocations on World Day for Consecrated Life

Communities of priests and religious have always served as an important part of the Catholic Volunteer Network family. Even from our earliest days, our volunteers have worked alongside and lived in community with priests, brothers, and sisters. We've maintained a common mission, which is to be a source of love and hope for the world, especially those living in poverty. Today, on World Day for Consecrated Life Catholic Volunteer Network celebrates this important vocation.

Last November, we published the results of our research study, Volunteer Introspective, which asked over 5,000 former volunteers about this impact their service has had on their lives. The results showed that our volunteers were much more inclined to choose consecrated life than the general population. Here are some interesting study findings:
  • 300 survey respondents (approximately 6 percent) are currently serving in consecrated life or are studying for ordination. 
  • Almost two in five former volunteers (37 percent) have considered a vocation to ordained ministry or religious life. 27 percent of these respondents have considered a vocation very seriously, and 35 percent say they have considered this somewhat seriously.
  • Over 60 percent of former volunteers said that their service was part of their vocational/faith development discernment process. 
Considering this strong connection between lay volunteer service and consecrated life, we would like to provide some resources for those of you who would like to learn more about vocations. Here are some organizations that we recommend:


VISION Vocation Network
This site offers one of the most comprehensive resources available in print and online for those seeking information on Catholic religious vocations and men’s and women’s religious communities. Since 1987 VISION has been providing hundreds of thousands of readers each year with information on the broad spectrum of Catholic religious life through first-person accounts, profiles, photo stories, and articles about discernment, community life, vows, ministry, and Catholic teachings. Online features include a Community Search, Vocations Calendar, and Vocation Match.



Catholics on Call supports Catholic young adults (ages 18-30) as they strive to discover God’s call in their lives, and explore the possibility of a life of service in the Church. A national vocation discovery program of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union, Catholics on Call is dedicated to helping young adults from diverse backgrounds explore a call to ministry in the Church and to learn about leadership roles as lay ecclesial ministers, men or women religious, or ministry as ordained deacons or priests.


A Nun's Life
A Nun’s Life Ministry was founded by Catholic Sisters Julie Vieira and Maxine Kollasch in 2006. This online faith community and nonprofit ministry reaches out with a pastoral presence to thousands of people worldwide each day. The website at aNunsLife.org is a place where you can talk with Catholic sisters and nuns and lots of other people on topics such as spirituality, prayer, community, ministry, and more.

¡OYE! 
This website and annual publication provides many resources for Hispanic young people who are seeking to learn more about how to live out their faith. ¡OYE! seeks to initiate a dialogue to start building a vocational awareness and culture, a safe space where questions can be asked and where the conversation about radical and crucial issues such as commitment and relationship with God can take place. ¡OYE! is a resource provided by Claretian Publications.

Vocation.com
Vocation.com offers a wealth of resources to young people considering vocations and all Catholics interested in promoting and fostering vocations.The site features video testimonies of priests and consecrated men and women and their unique vocation stories. Texts on the basics of prayer, a collection of meditations, and a discernment checklist provide further guidance through the discernment process. One of the key features of this site is its interactive nature. Inquirers can receive help in locating a vocation director in their area as well as type in their questions and have them answered by a priest.

Do you know of other resources that are helpful for those discerning a vocation? Please share them with us in the comments section below!

P.S. Have you heard about our new initiative to support communities of women religious? Click here to check out our latest press release!