Vocation and student loan debt


#1

Hello,

I feel I may be called to be a brother, deacon or priest but I'm not sure if the consecrated life should be monastic, religious or diocesan. Even if I'm not called to the consecrated life, then I still know I'm called to serve the Church in some capacity (perhaps as a layperson). I have not talked to any vocations directors nor do I have a spiritual advisor, but I've felt "the calling" (and perhaps resisted it) for a very long time. I incurred a large student loan debt during college (undergrad and grad school). I know debts can preclude a person from being accepted into a vocation. Is my debt maybe a sign I'm not called to a vocation anymore or maybe I never really was called to it? (it's a large debt and I do not have any conceivable means of paying it off). Thanks to all that reply.


#2

There are obviously practical considerations to take into account when considering a vocation to the priesthood/brotherhood, etc... but that shouldn't automatically preclude a valid vocation.

First of all, find out how much a diocesan priest would earn in your part of the world. What are his overheads? Does he get his housing and food paid for where others wouldn't? Would there be enough left over from his monthly stipend to enable a debt of the kind you have to be paid off?

Secondly, I recall reading about organisations that make grants/bursaries available to students for the priesthood. It's possible that this might be available to you under the right conditions.

Thirdly, trust in the Lord. Perhaps your vocation is true, but now isn't the right time? I know I had to wait for some years before I was in a position to apply for seminary training (I first considered it over 10 years ago when I too had a large loan that I couldn't repay immediately due to its terms). While you're making good use of the training you have received in order to pay down your loans, be available for God in other ways. Work as a volunteer in your diocese. Assist in evangelisation and catechesis. Visit the sick.

So what if it takes ten years to pay off the debt? I promise you, what seems like a long time now will, in ten years time, seem to have passed in a flash.

Your vocation, if true, will survive this. Certainly debt is not a sign that you didn't have it in the first place. It is simply a challenge you need to overcome.


#3

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