Applications accepted March 1 – April 30, 2022
Prudence and Faith
There is a tension between the virtues of Prudence and Faith. This tension is of particular interest to you if you apply for a grant from the Fund for Vocations and then enter the order before you know the outcome of your grant.
- You may not re-apply if you are no longer making an effort at loan repayment.
- If you have already entered formation, you may have difficulty making that effort.
For most candidates, entering religious life means no longer receiving an income. This is proper.
The goal of aspirancy, postulancy, and the novitiate is to test your vocation and be formed in religion, not to earn money. It is also very difficult to fundraise while in formation and it may even be detrimental to proper formation.
For this reason, if you are not awarded a St. Joseph Grant from the Fund for Vocations and choose to enter formation without a plan to pay your loans, you may not re-apply to the Fund.
Faith says that God has called you to life in religion. Faith has confirmed this call in more than one way and you are eager to follow the will of God. We rejoice with you and thank you for your generosity in responding. Faith also makes it clear that God will find a way to get you into religious life despite your student loans.
Prudence counsels patience and calm assessment of how best to achieve the life to which you are called.
Only online applications will be accepted. If you have questions, please contact our grant administrator: Katherine Huber, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grant awards will be announced on or before May 30, 2022.
Please read our eligibility page for details on which kinds of religious life are eligible to participate in our grant program.
If you are planning to enter religious life before then, please read our discussion of Prudence and Faith.
The purpose of the Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations’ St. Joseph Grant Program is to help men and women whose student loans force them to delay embarking on their vocations to vowed religious life or societies of apostolic life. By providing a grant for the payment of outstanding student loans, that delay can be eliminated. Because the underlying motivation of the grant program is to increase successful, faithful vocations in service of the Church, there are several conditions associated with the grant.
- The first step involves approval of the religious institute you intend to enter. To be approved:
- A religious institute must be in union with the See of Peter. This includes all Roman Catholic religious institutes as well as those of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
- A religious institute must be willing to be a party to the grant agreement, acknowledging that the Fund for Vocations’ promise to pay the grant recipient’s debt according to the terms of the agreement is equivalent to his/her being debt-free. The agreement also includes a reporting requirement for the religious institute. The Fund for Vocations will contact your religious institute to confirm their willingness to comply with the grant agreement.
- A religious institute must have a policy that individuals responsible for any kind of debt may not make vows or promises (either temporary or perpetual). This does not disqualify institutes that agree to pay some of an aspirant’s debt, but the understanding must be that the debt is no longer the responsibility of the professed individual.
The Fund for Vocations does not provide grants to individuals entering the consecrated life of secular institutes such as Opus Dei or Regnum Christi.
The Fund for Vocations relies on two associations of religious institutes, the Institute on Religious Life (IRL) and the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), to help us identify orders that exhibit fidelity to the teaching of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and loyalty to the Holy Father. Thus, to be eligible for participation in the St. Joseph grant program, it is helpful if a religious institute is an affiliate of the IRL or a member of the CMSWR. If the institute is not a member of one of these organizations, please contact our grant administrator, Katherine Huber, (email@example.com) as your community may already have approval. Otherwise, our Ecclesial Advisory Board will review the community and make a determination.
- Individuals who are working hard toward making progress in the repayment of their student loans generally receive preference for grants.
- If your application for a grant is approved, the Fund for Vocations will enter into a contract with you and your religious institute for the gradual retirement of your student loans. The contract will communicate to the religious institute our commitment to pay your student loans. The religious institute must agree to provide to us quarterly reports on your progress.
- Student loans covered by a St. Joseph Grant remain in the name of the grant recipient. The Fund for Vocations makes a legally enforceable commitment to make the loan payments for as long as the grant recipient continues in religious formation but does not become financially responsible for the loan from the perspective of the institution that issued or services the loan.
- The Fund for Vocations does not award grants to cover parent loans, even if you have made an agreement with your parents to pay that loan.
- Upon entry to your religious institute and the receipt of the signed grant agreement, the Fund for Vocations will begin to make the regularly scheduled monthly payments for your loans. Alternately, if your formation permits the use of a deferral, the Fund for Vocations may choose to defer payment for one or more years at its discretion.
- Upon ordination or final vows, the Fund for Vocations will pay your student loan off within five years. If, for any reason, you leave the religious institute before the fifth anniversary of final vows or ordination, the Fund for Vocations will immediately cease making loan payments. At that point, you become responsible for all future loan payments.
- Both you and the Institute agree to inform the Fund for Vocations immediately if you leave the religious institute.
- Upon your final vows, the Fund for Vocations may accelerate payment of your loans, in order that the loans will be fully paid by the fifth anniversary of your final vows.
- There is no obligation to repay the Fund for Vocations for any loan payments made under the terms of the agreement, except in the case where the Fund for Vocations was not notified about the departure of a grant recipient and continues to make payments.
- St. Joseph Grants are not transferrable to another individual or religious institute.
- If you are awarded a St. Joseph Grant and you also receive grants from other charitable organizations to help you with your student loans, we request that, whenever possible, those payments be made to the Fund for Vocations, rather than to the lender, because the Fund for Vocations will generally be taking on the responsibility for your entire student-loan indebtedness.
- If you are not awarded a St. Joseph Grant, you may re-apply provided you have made a good-faith effort to reduce your debt balance.
- Generally, you may not re-apply if you have entered religious life. When you begin religious formation, you have no further opportunity to earn the money with which to pay your loans, and your loan balances will increase (because of accruing interest) rather than decrease.