Marist Missionary Sisters spend many years of their lives serving in other countries. But the loving support of family and friends back home is always a blessing.
It is significant that this year the United States Catholic Bishops have scheduled the “National Vocation Awareness Week” to begin on November 1st – All Saints Day – the day on which we are called to reflect on what the Second Vatican Council called our “universal call to holiness”.
We believe that we are all called to live a life of growth in union with God, whether in marriage, single life, priesthood or consecrated religious life. This week we focus more on the last two vocations mentioned: Have you yourself thought about becoming a priest or a vowed member of a religious community? If you are well along the path of your own vocation, have you thought of encouraging others whom you think may have the gifts – and the call from God – for religious or priestly life?
A recent study conducted by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), highlighted the role community encouragement plays in the discernment process.
"Over and over again when asked, newly ordained priests and newly professed men and women religious, credit the encouragement of family members, coworkers, friends and clergy, as being a significant factor in their pursuing a vocation." said Fr. Ralph O'Donnell, USCCB's executive director of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. (see http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-141.cfm)
No one who understands it feels “worthy” of this special call from God. It is a gift that flows from God's loving kindness and mercy. Your prayers and words of affirmation and encouragement may go a long way in helping someone to respond to and persevere in a religious vocation.