Best options for eliminating debt before joining religious life?


#1

Hello, my name is Anna. I am heavily considering becoming a sister, the only thing that is standing in my way is that I am about 20,000 in debt and I am trying to find out the best ways for me to eliminate it quickly. Aside from obviously working a normal 9-5 job, is there gov. help, grants, etc? Please help me! I heard this is the best place to receive answers relating to the Catholic faith, so please enlighten me. I can’t wait to start the process, but I feel like this needs to be first priority.


#2

You need to pay your own debts before joining an order. Work, save money, pay cash, stay on a budget, and pay what you owe. When you get your debt paid, apply to join the order.


#3

I one time saw signs in a Catholic church and a Catholic center asking for donations to help her join the religious life to alleviate her debt. Also, when I had to do fundraising for a Catholic organization, I put up a facebook page and asked for donations there, and I got several donations from that. Also, talk to your priest, he may let you give a talk and ask for donations. You could offer to pray daily for those who sponsor you.


#4

There are some programs in the US to help those with vocaions pay down debt. The ones I am familiar with are smallish programs and usually won't take on a person's whole debt, but will give some money to two or three people in a year. You'll have to actually be accepted as a candidate/postulant though.

I recommend that you continue working at whatever job you have or can get while you finish investigating and apply. If you show that you are paying what you can toward your debt, many orders will let you begin some formation while you get the rest paid off.

Contact your diocesean vocations director and ask him for advice.


#5

[quote="Catholic80, post:3, topic:295238"]
I one time saw signs in a Catholic church and a Catholic center asking for donations to help her join the religious life to alleviate her debt. Also, when I had to do fundraising for a Catholic organization, I put up a facebook page and asked for donations there, and I got several donations from that. Also, talk to your priest, he may let you give a talk and ask for donations. You could offer to pray daily for those who sponsor you.

[/quote]

I hope to goodness you didn't mean that this person was joining an order to alleviate her debt! That is so wrong. I think that if a person got herself into debt, she can get herself out of it, and the fact is, that she borrowed the money knowingly and owes it to the companies/banks/others that she borrowed it from. Joining an order is a serious decision and not paying one's obligations speaks of a lack of responsibility. If I were a Mother Superior I would not accept any candidate who was in debt. Pay what you owe honestly and then apply.


#6

Work a real job, and conquer your debt while you discern. When it's all paid off, it will be easier to freely make a decision.


#7

You don't need to be in a hurry to join a religious order. Rent a small apartment (I'm paying about $400 a month for the tiny tiny room I live in, sharing a bathroom with two other people), get a job that will give you enough hours to pay the rent and your debt, and continue to pray. Live modestly; it will save you money and prepare you for any vows of poverty you might take.

Work is a part of most monastic rules. It doesn't hurt to work in the world before you work in a convent. I guarantee you can benefit spiritually from living as layperson would, and be happy in every hour you work, knowing that the money is bringing you closer to your vocation.


#8

[quote="annamiddleton, post:1, topic:295238"]
Hello, my name is Anna. I am heavily considering becoming a sister, the only thing that is standing in my way is that I am about 20,000 in debt and I am trying to find out the best ways for me to eliminate it quickly. Aside from obviously working a normal 9-5 job, is there gov. help, grants, etc? Please help me! I heard this is the best place to receive answers relating to the Catholic faith, so please enlighten me. I can't wait to start the process, but I feel like this needs to be first priority.

[/quote]

Your best option is to find someone to share housing with you, could be family, and keep your costs as low as possible then pay off the debt. You might have to forgo a car and lots of extras while you're paying down the debt. You want to live a religious life so this should prepare you for it.


#9

[quote="annamiddleton, post:1, topic:295238"]
Hello, my name is Anna. I am heavily considering becoming a sister, the only thing that is standing in my way is that I am about 20,000 in debt and I am trying to find out the best ways for me to eliminate it quickly. Aside from obviously working a normal 9-5 job, is there gov. help, grants, etc? Please help me! I heard this is the best place to receive answers relating to the Catholic faith, so please enlighten me. I can't wait to start the process, but I feel like this needs to be first priority.

[/quote]

I have several friends who have had and do have the same problem. It depends on the kind of debt - there are organisations that help with student debt but there is as of yet nothing for other kinds of debt. A friend of mine (who has since entered) eliminated her debt simply by being as frugal as possible so she could put as much of her earning as possible into eliminating her debt. One thing she said was that if you really put heart and soul into it, God will see that and help you. I have another friend who made and sold rosaries, others have held fundraisers. It can be done, if you are committed to it.


#10

It is student debt only. I have no other debts, and I have taken all advice to heart. I do have a job, and I do live with my family, where I have no obligation to spend my money, but I still do on my own food and necessities. I've worked out a plan to have my family to take everything from my paychecks except for $40, so I don't eat out or spend feverishly. I have ideas of how to relieve it myself, so thanks.


#11

[quote="annamiddleton, post:10, topic:295238"]
It is student debt only. I have no other debts, and I have taken all advice to heart. I do have a job, and I do live with my family, where I have no obligation to spend my money, but I still do on my own food and necessities. I've worked out a plan to have my family to take everything from my paychecks except for $40, so I don't eat out or spend feverishly. I have ideas of how to relieve it myself, so thanks.

[/quote]

If it's student debt, then there is the Laboure Society or Mater Ecclesiae. I think you have to have been accepted by a community before you can apply, but it's worth keeping in mind.


#12

[quote="annamiddleton, post:10, topic:295238"]
It is student debt only. I have no other debts, and I have taken all advice to heart. I do have a job, and I do live with my family, where I have no obligation to spend my money, but I still do on my own food and necessities. I've worked out a plan to have my family to take everything from my paychecks except for $40, so I don't eat out or spend feverishly. I have ideas of how to relieve it myself, so thanks.

[/quote]

As with the organizations that PerfectTiming mentioned, there is also the Serra Foundation and Knights of Columbus who promote vocations heavily. Both of them conduct fundraisers to assist candidates for religious life so they can enter sooner. Both require that you be accepted to a religious order already, though. :)


#13

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:5, topic:295238"]
I hope to goodness you didn't mean that this person was joining an order to alleviate her debt! That is so wrong. I think that if a person got herself into debt, she can get herself out of it, and the fact is, that she borrowed the money knowingly and owes it to the companies/banks/others that she borrowed it from. Joining an order is a serious decision and not paying one's obligations speaks of a** lack of responsibility**. If I were a Mother Superior I would not accept any candidate who was in debt. Pay what you owe honestly and then apply.

[/quote]

I have to disagree with your statement. Do you realize how many vocations would be lost if every religious order turned away applicants with student debt? If it was personal debt, I'd recommend they pay it off, but student debt is a different story. So many people receive the call late in life and they pay the price for taking out student loans because it prevents their entrance. The cost of education, especially in Catholic schools, is ridiculous! I know someone who had to take on $60,000 in student debt just to get her Bachelor's degree. She didn't hear the call to discern until after she graduated and, by then, it was too late to find another way. Many orders have requirements in place that pretty much prevent a candidate from entering until they have a definite plan in place or the debt is gone. They can't turn away their application because of debt because it is not a canonical impediment.

I hope this helps your understanding. God bless. :thumbsup:


#14

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