Sisters wait for ad campaign results

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

Read more here:

According to that article, the ads prompted five inquiries, but none of the conversations have continued.

However, the article also describes the community as serving Northern Ontario… which made me think they located somewhere interesting, like Attawapiskat. But they are based in North Bay, which is east of Sault Ste. Marie. :frowning:

I wish the sisters the best. A common observation here at CAF is that the more traditional orders do better at attracting new vocations than orders which have an non-traditional habit. And the Sisters of St. Joseph seem to have a non-traditional habit, at least from the photos on their website.

I also didn’t see any photos of women in their 20s, which may may make attracting vocations difficult as well. I’ve read several comments that young women are uncomfortable joining an order where no one else is near their age.

But something needs to be done. And the problem isn’t just affecting this order, the vocations crisis is nationwide:

Certainly, fewer and fewer women are entering religious life. In 1988 there were some 24,000 nuns in Canada; by 2004, there were about 18,000. In 1992, some 252 women took the first steps toward becoming a nun, by 2004 only 68 had.

They don’t look very traditional from that photo.

Look at this video, from a Spanish covnent, full of young women!

It was a community who did not see a vocation for 23 years and they nearly went extinct. And now look, with the grace of God, this place is alive with joy and happiness!

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