I am blessed to benefit from many good homilists at Sunday Mass. In preparation for Lent, one of those homilists pointed out that, as much as we must be particular in the confession of our sins in this life, when we encounter Christ at our final judgement, He won’t be running a finger down our ledger.
The homilist noted that when we look into the face of our Creator, the issue will be: does He recognize us, do we recognize Him? Where there is recognition, there will be welcome, welcome into the kingdom of Christ. Perhaps with some time spent paying a price yet due, but with the knowledge of forthcoming glory.
There will be recognition if we have loved our Lord in this life. We are able to love God, and do his Will (thereby increasing our love) because of our cooperation with the graces He gives us: sacramental and actual. So increasing our love of God and cooperation with grace should be uppermost in our minds when choosing our Lenten penances.
When Katherine and I founded the Fund for Vocations, the economy of grace was not much on my mind. After 16 years of its operation, it is rarely not on my mind. This work of making vocations possible with which you assist through your financial sacrifices is a great engine for drawing graces into our world.
My thanks are but poor words when compared to what you have made possible. I pray that God will reward you. May you have a blessed Lent.
Corey F. Huber
The first time our grant recipient Sr. M Ignatia, OSF, encountered the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration was on a basketball court taking shots and making passes.. Today, as the order’s vocations director, she’s guiding women who are discerning God’s call to religious life.
Sr. Ignatia’s own journey to religious life began as a hoops-playing undergraduate at Franciscan University of Steubenville. “One of our sisters was studying there at the time, and she played basketball with the girls there,” she says. “It was the first time I saw sisters in habit.”
“She became a spiritual mentor to me,” Sr. Ignatia explains. She saw how this sister was “still herself … still a ‘normal’ person, but she was won over by Jesus and dedicated her life to him.”
Sr. Ignatia was undecided in her studies. Her vocation came into focus during her sophomore year, when she visited the convent . “I felt the call resonate in my heart,” she recounts. “This is what I’ve wanted.”
It was that spirituality of the Eucharist that first drew Sr. Ignatia to the order. “Our active work comes back to our adoration—our encounters with the world must be shaped by our encounters with Jesus. Where Jesus is adored, amazing things happen!”
But while she felt the Lord calling her, her student debt held her back. “I was certain in my heart he was calling me NOW,” she says, “but I had this debt and I didn’t know what to do.”
Sr. Ignatia received help from her family in managing her student debts, but the decisive moment came when she received a grant from the Fund for Vocations: “I felt like I could just jump into my vocation and answer God’s call, without delaying my answer or burdening my community.”
Today Sr. Ignatia serves as Vocations Director for her community. She says that her predecessors worked hard developing relationships with young women, traveling and visiting schools around the country. Despite COVID challenges, Sr. Ignatia has been able to continue that accompaniment through regular phone calls, video calls, and emails.
“My ministry is to embody our community as best I can, running retreats for women discerning and helping them find what God wants them to do with their lives. It is harder to be open to discerning a religious life in the modern world, but right now a lot more people are reaching out asking questions about religious life,” Sr. Ignatia says.
This wonderful community currently has fourteen women on their formation journey from postulancy toward final vows, which takes about eight years.
Her path has been very different from what she imagined as an undergrad
on the basketball courts. Having been blessed by support from the Fund for Vocations, she is now unlocking even more vocations for the Church through her mentorship. “In the religious life, the Bride of Christ says to Christ, I want more of you in the world. So we nurture the spiritual life of the Church.”
Vocations Director Spotlight
I became Vocations Director for the Dominican Friars, Province of St. Albert the Great, in July. Beginning this ministry during a global pandemic has been challenging, but not always in ways I expected! Sure, a ministry which involves tons of travel now requires creativity in making meaningful
and effective connections with candidates. Conferences and campus events—typically rich opportunities for vocations promotion—have been cancelled or moved online. What I did not anticipate, though, is the significant increase in men and women who are considering a vocation to religious life! The disruption caused by the pandemic, as well as time for self-reflection during stay-at-home orders, has given many the opportunity to discern. It is one of the ways in which our Lord is using this period of tragedy to bring about good!
An unexpected shift in life leading to a religious vocation brings with it certain difficulties. Many of the men I’m working with have substantial student loans, having earned impressive degrees for the sake of a career. The important ministry of the Fund for Vocations, and the incredible generosity of all who support it financially, is helping us overcome this challenge.
In the midst of a global pandemic, we celebrate an increase in vocations! Thank you for your support.
We are currently paying monthly student loans for over 100 young men and women in formation. The average monthly student loan payment is $250. With an additional funding we can help an additional 100 young people enter formation. The Fund for Vocations makes the payments for as long as they remain in formation, only paying them off after final vow or ordination.
Each year, we must raise the amount necessary to honor the commitment to our existing grant recipients. Your support will provide more grants and bless more vocations!
Sacred Heart Sustainers Circle members are prayed for at an annual Mass offered by grant recipients.
Please help us help them by making your tax-deductible contribution today. Use the enclosed reply or give online at: FundForVocations.org/donate.
The Value of A Vocation
What is the value of a vocation? It can’t be counted monetarily; we don’t know how many lives each vocation touches or how many graces flow as a result. We do know there is power in one vocation and envision a world where not one vocation is lost.
2020 was a banner year for the Fund for Vocations. The 2020 Deo Gratias Campaign raised enough funds that, for the second time in the history of the Fund, we will accept every qualified applicant in this funding round. This was made possible entirely by our benefactors, through the intercession of the Holy Spirit and Mary, Mother of the Church. Deo Gratias!
You and I have our work cut out for us. The Church needs the grace that flows into the world through the prayers and service of consecrated religious now more than ever.
Every vocations director I have spoken with over the past nine months of my tenure tells me the same thing—vocations are on the rise—in record numbers for many traditional orders. Out of the darkness of 2020, a light has emerged, and more young people are contemplating what it means to be fully alive by answering God’s call. In 2021 we plan to continue to financially scale up so as to meet the needs of this increase in vocations.
I’d like to use 2021 to introduce you to more of our grant recipients and invite you to hear their diverse and unique vocation stories as well as their current ministries. To that end, we are hosting monthly Zoom calls with benefactors and grant recipients—you can attend live or receive the link via email to watch later. Just make sure you give us your email address so that we can invite and share with you.
At the same time, we’d like to get to know you, our mission partners. Will you do us the honor of taking a couple of minutes with the enclosed survey? Feel free to write in additional comments or suggestions. If you wish, you can take the survey online at FundforVocations.org.
An invitation to join the St. Joseph Legacy Society
Many young men and women who are called to religious life cannot enter formation because of student loan debt. The Catholic Church needs these vocations—and so does the world. Members of the St. Joseph Legacy Society make an extraordinary commitment to ensuring that faithful Catholics can say “Yes!” to God’s call by including the Fund for Vocations in their will or estate plans. An annual Mass is offered for all St. Joseph Legacy Society Members by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia in Nashville, and they will be perpetually remembered by grant recipients, the good and faithful servants who will be Christ’s ministers to the Church.