Fund for Vocations Featured in Wall Street Journal

When Student Debt Stands in the Way of Vocations...

"Our goal is to allow them to enter as quickly as possible, while they're still hearing the call, not to be distracted by other things" – Mary Radford, Fund for Vocations
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In an article entitled, “When Student Debt Stands in the Way of Religious Poverty,” The Wall Street Journal profiles students with religious vocations. Student loans held them back. But WSJ featured The Fund for Vocations as an option. The Fund allows young people to enter into formation as soon as God calls them.

“The Virginia-based Fund for Vocations,” wrote Francis Rocca, “gives grants to pay off the debt of aspiring members of Catholic orders.” Mary Radford, executive director of the Fund for Vocations, offered background for the Fund. The group has paid off more than $5 million of student loans for 251 people since its founding in 2007.

The Fund gives these grants to courageous and generous young men and women. They then enter formation without delay and while their vocation rings fresh in their hearts.

“Our goal,” said Mary in the interview, “is to allow them to enter as quickly as possible. While they’re still hearing the call, not distracted by other things.”

The article tells the stories of several students who overcame loans to become sisters, friars, and even diocesan priests. One of the vocations featured in the article was that of Sister Mary Gemma Harris, who is now a Franciscan nun in Toronto, Ohio. The Fund for Vocations paid off about $10,000 in student loans. This allowed her to quit her job as a journalist, a commitment that had been testing her determination to pursue religious life.

The Journal also cites a startling statistic that highlights the mission of the Fund for Vocations. It was a study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, at Georgetown University. 6% of men and women pursuing vocations in the U.S. last year had delayed their application because of educational debt. The average delay was four years and the average amount $41,000, more than double that in 2012.

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