Catholic group helps religious aspirants pay off student loan debt


After nearly two years of waiting, Melanie Bruss headed earlier this month to Minnesota to join the Consecrates of the Most Holy Savior, a Catholic religious order.

Bruss was accepted to the order in November 2012, but had been held up by a stumbling block — her student loans.

The Labouré Society… they do good, and aren’t as well known as they should be.

Quoting from a 2012 news article:

Having started this project from his home as a hobby, a year and a half ago Laurent moved into an office in Eagan, Minn., and now has two assistants. Praying about the move, he bumped into a man whose name kept coming to him in prayer. When Laurent explained the situation, the gentleman gave him an office with a free five-year lease.

“This is why you listen to the Holy Spirit,” Laurent said.

“There’s a real urgency here,” he added. He pointed out there are up to 10,000 discerners in the United States courageous enough to consider priesthood and religious life. “We must deliver these vocations to the Church.”

“The only thing that prevents them entering formation is this debt,” Laurent emphasized. In comes the society, which helps raise money to pay off this debt. “It’s a monumental task the Church can’t answer. They don’t have the money. Laypersons must respond to this.”

Over the years, Laurent, formerly a Minnesota businessman, has tweaked the process to benefit both aspirants and donors. He works with small groups, around 10 of them, at once. They develop a campaign, and Laurent motivates and counsels them. They pray together. The board decides how and when the funds are distributed to the members. Because the society is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, donors receive tax benefits. That applies to family and friends who donate, too.

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