Are There Any Young Sisters Out There?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

When I tell someone that I am becoming a prepostulant, sometimes I get the reaction "do the Daughters of Charity get any vocations? Are there any in the novitiate?" (because it is, stereotypically, those active religious communities that aren't getting the young vocations) or even "why don't you join that active/contemplative community that has all of those young Sisters?"

I explain that are different charisms in the Church and it's the Vincentian charism, the charism of the Daughters of Charity, that appeals to me and attracts me the most. And that community they mention has a different charism. Don't get me wrong - I know the Sisters in that community and I love them. The Sisters I've met from there have all been amazing and wonderful, but they're not for me. I explain that yes, there are women in the novitiate (or Seminary, as the Daughters of Charity call it) - it's not just an empty building mourning its vacancy. And that while the average age of an American Daughter of Charity is rather "up there", that shouldn't deter anyone from joining and that, in actuality, internationally the Daughters of Charity are one of the youngest religious communities out there. And of course, I say all of this much more gently (not bitterly) as I am right now.

On that note, recently, I found an email from November 2005. (No, I don't delete emails. Ever, apparently, mostly thanks to Gmail's large capacity. ) I initially went looking because I was curious which Sisters I had gone on that retreat with. I opened the email list that was sent to us six years ago. Among the discerners, I realized that 3 out of 12 of the discerners, all my age or slightly older, joined the Company shortly thereafter, and that 1 is joining now (that would be me) That means, if you do the math, a third of those discerners on that retreat are now a part of the Company (although one left shortly after formation).
I think that says a lot about the Daughters of Charity and who they are.

If you are discerning, whether with the Daughters of Charity or not, don't get discouraged. There ARE other young women who are having the same thoughts of being a Sister as you are. Not only that but that ARE other young women, maybe even your same age, who have already taken the leap and joined a religious community. There is a "vocations crisis" out there - that is a fact - but don't let that deter you. It may be scary but maybe it's up to you to break the status quo and follow the call. You are not alone!

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