Generosity is important. So is predictability. To understand why, we just need to remember some basic facts about vocations.

The decision to pursue a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life is not one to be taken lightly. It profoundly alters the person who makes it, the communities they serve, and the entire Mystical Body of Christ. There’s a reason that formation lasts seven years on average!

Here at the MEFV, we would not have it any other way. We want people in formation to have the peace of mind they need to make a faithful decision, one way or the other, about their vocation. We deliberately structured MEFV’s process to help nurture that peace of mind.

Rather than paying off grant recipients’ entire student debt upfront, MEFV takes over their monthly payments while they are in formation. More than once we have heard some version of the message so clearly expressed by Sister Maria Asterone:

If I had entered formation knowing that someone had paid off my loan, I am sure I would have felt like I ‘owed it’ to them to make it to final vows. It definitely would have created a sense of obligation that would have seriously distorted my formation. The way that MEFV works is so important. Your model gives us both the peace to persevere and the freedom to be honest if we discern that God is actually calling us to something else.”

So our model gets the important things right! But it creates challenges, too. There’s a lot of unpredictability. We simply can’t know, from one month or year to the next, how many of our grant recipients will persevere and how many will discern back out. Of the out-discerners, we can’t know who will be heavily versus lightly indebted—that is to say, what will be the value of the monthly payments we will no longer have to make, that will go back “into the pot.”

In short, our expenses are unpredictable. Our income is too—we don’t know who will choose to support MEFV, or when, or how generously.


There is one incredibly important exception. That’s the Sustainers Circle!

Other than the power of prayer itself, our steady, faithful, consistent monthly donors are the single most important source of vital stability for the Fund for Vocations.

If you’re not already a member, why not join today?


Send email with “SUSTAINERS CIRCLE” in the subject line to info@fundforvocations.orgor call us at 877.556.6338

We’ll send you the banking form to enroll, or we’ll take your information over the phone and get you set up.

We’ll also send you occasional premiums exclusively selected for Sustainers Circle members. These gifts are donated by generous friends—100% of Sustainers Circle contributions go toward grant-making.


As our thanks to you, we’ll send new members an autographed copy of Father Paul Scalia’s book That Nothing May Be Lost. Along with Father Scalia’s own brilliant scholarship, That Nothing May Be Lostcontains reflections from some of the leading Catholic thinkers of our day, including Helen Alvaré, Bishop Charles Chaput, Scott Hahn, and others.

Thank you for supporting vocations!


The Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations invites all its supporters, especially its Sustainers Circle members, to join in offering specific prayer intentions for an increase in vocations and in the ranks of MEFV Sustainers Circle members who are such a vital source of support.

We ask one person each month to offer a daily prayer, each day of that month, for those intentions.

Anne Folan

The designated pray-er for September-October  2019 is longtime MEFV friend and supporter Anne Folan of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Anne’s path first crossed MEFV’s ten years ago thanks to the friars at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. Anne had been listening to a call-in radio show featuring her spiritual director, Brother (now Father) James Brent, OP. One of the callers mentioned that he believed he also had a vocation to the priesthood, but that his student debt load was so overwhelming, he had not bothered to pursue discernment. Brother James’s advice to the caller was to tackle the two issues separately: first, to discern whether the priesthood did indeed appear to be God’s plan for the caller’s life and only then to worry about the financial aspects.

Anne, who had gone to college in the 1980s when debt-free higher education was still possible for middle-class American families, admits she had been completely unaware of the role that student debt played in constraining vocations. “I do not have children of my own,” Anne says, “so when I heard the radio show, I figured I could and should help out some young man or woman whose loan obligations might be keeping them from the priesthood or religious life.”

Brother James connected Anne to his French tutor, a young woman who had recently graduated from the Catholic University of America (right across the street from Dominican House of Studies) and who had been accepted to the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville. “I will never forget meeting Karen (Mahowald, now Sr. Ann Dominic OP) for dinner that first night,” Anne says. “I laugh at my own naïvete now—I went into that dinner thinking ‘How much could student debt possibly be? $5,000? $10,000?’ As it turned out, the actual number was bigger than I could just write a check for, and after I got involved with MEFV, I learned that it was actually not uncommon: the averagegraduate leaves college with more than $30,000 in loan obligations. But that night at dinner, I realized that my own resources were not going to get the job done. So we started making plans.”

The plan included Anne’s resources, crowd-funding from other well-wishers, bake sales, and lots of gifts in-kind: Karen’s aunt and uncle, for example, let her live with them rent free so that she could put all the salary from her teaching job towards retiring her debt. But it was the support from the MEFV that made the crucial difference. “We found out about the MEFV just in time for Karen to apply for a grant,” Anne says. “It was their donors’ generosity that made the ultimate difference, and inspired me to become a donor, too.”

Anne’s morning prayer for the month of September-October:

Loving God, who is never outdone in generosity, thank You for the young men and women who have answered Your call to the priesthood and religious life. Bless their apostolates. Bless the parents and families of Your priests and religious, and please increase the joy, and ease any sorrow, they may feel about their loved ones’ decisions. Bless the generous supporters of the Mater EcclesiaeFund for Vocations: please increase awareness and support of this apostolate, and especially, if it be Your will, increase the number of Sustainers Circle members. I ask all this through your Son, My Savior Jesus Christ, through the intercession of His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of the Fund for Vocations.

Please consider taking a turn as lead intercessor for one month during 2019. Contact us at info@fundforvocations.orgor 877.556.6338 to sign up.