The Sisters of St. Joseph have planted the seeds of possible religious vocations to thousands of Northern Ontario residents.
Now, the Catholic religious order is waiting to see if any will take root.
That could take years, not days.
A $24,000 advertising campaign, featuring spots on radio and municipal transit in Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, North Bay and Thunder Bay, encouraged women to consider a religious vocation. The ads ran for four weeks beginning in early February
The ads, with messages such as, “Looking for a different path in your life? Answer the call,” didn’t prompt any women to show up at the door of the motherhouse in North Bay.
But general superior Sister Bonnie MacLellan wasn’t expecting quick results from the first such campaign she signed off on in her eight years leading the order.
“It’s not an immediate response,” she said in a recent telephone interview.
“But it’s something in your heart that gets touched when you see the ad or you hear it and you think, ‘Maybe this could be for me.’”
The order’s 129 members, aged from 25 to 97, serve in communities from North Bay to Thunder Bay. About 18 work in the Sault and area. Total numbers are down about a third from 20 to 30 years ago.
A small number of women who contacted MacLellan during the campaign wanted to know “what our life was like.”
“How do you live your vows of poverty, chastity and obedience,” she said of the questions she was asked
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