of holiness. As Thomas Aquinas,the great 13th-century theologian,said, grace builds on nature. Ignatius Loyola ended a military careerin 16th-century Spain to followGod, while Joan of Arc began one in
15th-century France. Dorothy Dayfounded a newspaper to spread thegospel, while Bernadette Soubirous,the famous visionary of Lourdes,shrank in horror from the idea of herstory being publicized in the press.
Thomas Aquinas spent his life surrounded by books, while Francis ofAssisi told his friars not to own evenone lest they become too proud.
The multiplicity of desires leads to amultiplicity of paths to God. =
A version of this article originallyappeared in VISION 2012. RELATEDARTICLES: VocationNetwork.org, “Holiness is for everybody” and “Four-waytraffic on the spiritual path.”
PLENTY OF VALUABLE DATA exists about who has been entering religious life recently and why. The National Religious Vocation Conference has made this informationavailable in a highly visual “storymap” onlineat: tinyurl.com/ReligiousLifeStorymap.
That research, and other data, also appearin written form at “Studies” at nrvc.net.
Some highlights:• Newer members express hope about thefuture, even as they acknowledge that the demographics of religious life are changing fast.
• Newer members are diverse, ethnically andin terms of age, although most are young. Thenewest research shows the median age forthose entering religious life in 2020 was 26.
• What draws new people into religiousWHO’S ENTERING RELIGIOUS LIFE? SPIRITCITINGS
life are a desire for prayer, spiritual growth,charism, the joy of community life, a sense ofcall, and mission.
Code #177 VocationNetwork.org Community Search
www.svdvocations.org Educating Tomorrow’s Missionaries
Divine Word College Seminary
THOSE ENTERING religious life today are attracted to the prayer,spirituality, charism, community life, sense of call, and mission thatthey find in consecrated life.