Eliminating the obstacle an aspirant’s student loans present to answering his vocation.
Our fund addresses a specific challenge:
Canon law requires that a person entering the novitiate of a religious order be free from any debts they cannot pay. This flows naturally from the vow of poverty religious take. Without financial assets, religious have no way to make monthly payments on any kind of loan. Most vibrant religious orders have no assets to spare for assisting their aspirants with their debts. What little they have must be allocated to feeding and housing their members. Many religious orders are mendicant and beg for their daily sustenance.
Most aspirants to religious life have no trouble clearing their personal debt: selling a car to pay off the car loan, working to pay down credit card debt. But the average student loan runs in the tens of thousands of dollars and presents a greater obstacle.
The average aspirant to religious life who has attended college faces a student loan balance of $30,000, which must be paid in just months rather than the 10 – 20 years originally intended.
As a result, an aspirant’s entrance is delayed, sometimes for many years. Consider the impoverishment to the Church in terms of years of lost consecration and sacrifice for our Lord.
We have carefully designed our grant program to provide support to men and women who seek to answer God’s call without interfering with the proper discernment of their vocations. When a grant recipient enters his order, we take over the monthly payments of his student loans (and only his student loans). If discernment leads elsewhere, responsibility for loan payments returns to him and there is no obligation to repay us. If he perseveres, we guarantee full payment of his loans on the 5th anniversary of his final vows.
“It is a tragic irony that when the heavens are being stormed for vocations and God generously answers, that the response can be hindered by something as minor in comparison as a student loan. Yet, sadly more and more vocations are being put on hold for this very reason. That’s why vocation directors exclaim: ‘Thank God for the Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations!”
Fr. Andrew-Carl Wisdom, O.P.; Former Promoter of Vocations Director of the Society for Vocational Support; Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great