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Vocation Ministry

Gwendolyn O’Neil, CND, with the Vocation/Formation Committee

Over the last twenty (20) to forty (40) years we have become acutely aware of our growing diminishment. Downsizing our infrastructure in recent years is one visible sign of diminishment. The average age of our sisters continues to rise. There has been a major decline in the number of Sisters in active ministry. We see an increase in the number of Sisters moving into assisted living and long term care, not to mention the number that die each year. During these years, we have witnessed a huge decline in new vocations. This familiar landscape, common to all Religious Congregations, is explored by Sister Amy Hereford, CSJ in an article entitled “Vocation Ministry on the Precipice”. 

The following are some pertinent points gleaned from the article that may be used for reflection and discussion: 

  • Diminishment doesn’t mean that our Communities have failed or that Religious Life is at an end. We are in an epoch of re-foundation, of transformation. 
  • Prospective Candidates are generally older, better educated, more experienced and more diverse ethnically, socially and economically than most current members. 
  • A serious discernment issue is whether or not we believe that our Community is capable of accepting and incorporating new members. 
  • If yes, formative Communities must be created to help candidates get to know the Sisters and experience Religious Life first hand. The support of the wider Community is necessary in building formative Communities. 
  • It is important that we share with them our experience of charism, community, spirituality and mission. We must also give them the space to integrate this experience and re-imagine it in terms of their 21st Century insights. 

We, as a committee, invite all the sisters of Visitation Province to share their insights (as individuals or as a group) on Vocation Ministry in Visitation Province in 2016. 






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