Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious


#1

The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious have put out a wonderful new book on their vision for the future of women religious: Revisiting the Vision

cmswr.org/book/revisitthevision.html

The Council's official website and list of member communities is here: cmswr.org/index.html

Interesting to note, the LCWR claims to represent 85-95% of women religious in the US and receives about 5% of the new vocations coming in. The CMSWR claims to represent 5-15% of women religious in the US, while receiving 85-95% of all new vocations.


#2

Can you document your statement re percentage of vocations with some facts or quotes?


#3

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has more than 1500 members, who represent more than 90 percent of the 59,000 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, the conference assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today's world.

From the LCWR website


#4

[quote="HCC, post:1, topic:218669"]
The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious have put out a wonderful new book on their vision for the future of women religious: Revisiting the Vision

cmswr.org/book/revisitthevision.html

The Council's official website and list of member communities is here: cmswr.org/index.html

Interesting to note, the LCWR claims to represent 85-95% of women religious in the US and receives about 5% of the new vocations coming in. The CMSWR claims to represent 5-15% of women religious in the US, while receiving 85-95% of all new vocations.

[/quote]

I think that the disparity in percentages is misleading because the LCWR represents a much larger number of women religious, therefore the number of their vocations represents a much smaller percentage or their total membership. Conversely, the total membership of the CMSWR communities is much smaller, therefore their vocations represent a much higher percentage of their total. In addition, most of the vocations to the members of the CMSWR appear to come from a very few communities. Either most of the other members aren't getting vocations or they aren't reporting them on their websites. In addition, it's not the number of postulants and novices a community has, but the number of final professions. Although some of the habited orders getting vocations have a number of young women entering, their output of final professions remains small, outside of the Nashville and Ann Arbor Dominicans.


#5

[quote="1234, post:4, topic:218669"]
I think that the disparity in percentages is misleading because the LCWR represents a much larger number of women religious, therefore the number of their vocations represents a much smaller percentage or their total membership. Conversely, the total membership of the CMSWR communities is much smaller, therefore their vocations represent a much higher percentage of their total. In addition, most of the vocations to the members of the CMSWR appear to come from a very few communities. Either most of the other members aren't getting vocations or they aren't reporting them on their websites. In addition, it's not the number of postulants and novices a community has, but the number of final professions. Although some of the habited orders getting vocations have a number of young women entering, their output of final professions remains small, outside of the Nashville and Ann Arbor Dominicans.

[/quote]

I would go one step further, especially for male orders, it is not just the numbers that that make it to final profession but how many of those who last 5 years.


#6

[quote="ByzCath, post:5, topic:218669"]
I would go one step further, especially for male orders, it is not just the numbers that that make it to final profession but how many of those who last 5 years.

[/quote]

Byz, are you saying that some don't persist for five years after their final profession?


#7

[quote="1234, post:6, topic:218669"]
Byz, are you saying that some don't persist for five years after their final profession?

[/quote]

Yes, especially for male religious institutes because a man may not be ordained until after he is in final vows.

The same goes for the secular priesthood but it would be to see the number of those ordained and then the number still present 5 years after ordination.


#8

Byz,

Can you please clarify? Are you saying that religious brothers often leave after final profession? I was under the impression that with final profession they are perpetually brothers and would have to be dispensed by the proper authority (same as the sisters) Is that incorrect?


#9

[quote="dplusr, post:8, topic:218669"]
Byz,

Can you please clarify? Are you saying that religious brothers often leave after final profession? I was under the impression that with final profession they are perpetually brothers and would have to be dispensed by the proper authority (same as the sisters) Is that incorrect?

[/quote]

Yes that is correct, there are time when those in final vows chose to leave. They must be released from their vows by Rome but that does not always stop them from leaving and living how they wish.

It is not a big issue that I am aware of but it does happen.

I know of one diocese where the issue of priests leaving soon after ordination got so bad that they now ordain their men to the diaconate after they graduate and then work for a year in a parish then are ordained to the priesthood. Rather than the standard of being ordained to the diaconate during your fourth year of studies and then ordination to the priesthood soon after graduation.


#10

As Brother David says, this is quite a well-known phenomenon. Without wishing to generalise, I have heard of several cases where (after the fact, unfortunately) the individual concedes that they were in conflict about taking solemn vows or being ordained, but wanted to do the right thing, or didn’t want to let people down, as they saw it. Consequently they proceeded with vows or ordination in the hope/belief that this would resolve any doubts or fears that they had, but of course that doesn’t necessarily follow. It goes without saying that the formators and superiors of these individuals share some responsibility for not intuiting that the people in their charge were struggling, although they are only human and often have to proceed on what they are told by the candidate themselves.

I think this highlights several problems - firstly, that if you are an unhappy novice and an unhappy student you are unlikely to be happier simply because you take solemn vows. Secondly, that the ontological change associated with priestly ordination does not include emotional reconfiguration. And thirdly, that romantic notions of what consecrated life or priesthood are will not sustain you alone - it is possible to become bored or troubled within religious life just as one can become bored or troubled within any other situation, and something very solid must be present to help you keep going rather than walk away.

And that brings us back to the subject of the thread. :wink: As I’ve said elsewhere, I wear the habit, and I believe in its value. But there are lots of reasons why people don’t always wear religious garb, as Brother JR has clearly articulated. My fear is that anyone who enters a particular religious institute simply because of the externals will quickly find that clothing - the desire to wear which can be as much about feeling good about oneself as about orthodoxy - is not enough.

Perhaps some of the people who joined habited communities but left - and as stated above, the retention of people therein is not always particularly high - did so because they were too concerned about the superficial and had not sufficiently discerned the deeper implications of a vocation to consecrated life. Or perhaps they believed, as do some of the posters here on CAF, that simply putting on a habit would transform them into someone different - holier, happier, more fulfilled. If only it was that simple.


#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.