We’ve all heard about the vocations crisis the Catholic Church has faced in the Western world in recent decades: not enough men are following the call of God to become priests, and not even men and women are hearing the call to the religious life.
The Nashville Dominicans, a wonderful order of teaching nuns, are also enduring a vocations crisis, but their crisis is a bit different:
[W]hile other religious orders are struggling to stay alive, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, better known as the Nashville Dominicans, are thriving. With 230 sisters serving in 34 schools in the United States, as well as starting a ministry in Australia, the order is truly alive and flourishing…
The Dominicans currently have 45 sisters in their initial formation program and are preparing for a large class of postulants to enter the community in August.
Sister Mary Emily, Vocations Director for the Nashville Dominicans, told CNA that she has seen “a steady increase in the interest in religious life and a great openness to considering it.”
“Many young women are attracted to this life that includes a strong prayer life, a strong community life, a single apostolate of teaching and the witness of a religious habit,” Sr. Mary Emily explained.
Wicks agreed, saying that the witness of the Dominicans is deeply attractive because they are truly alive in the Lord.
“If young people are going to give up their life, they want to give it up for something that is both challenging and beautiful,” qualities that she sees being lived out by the sisters. “They are faithful to Christ. They are fully habited. They are truly visible, living witnesses. And that witness speaks to the heart.”
It seems clear that in coming generations the Church will be blessed with many vocations to the priesthood and religious life, like it has in previous generations. The difference will be which orders will filled with members and which will be reduced to a historical footnote in the pages of Church history.