continuing the conversation

Sarah has a new post that continues our conversation on being younger folks entering a congregation with oodles of older folks. It's worth a read ...

(To read our conversation in order, start here, then here, then here, then this post that you're already reading!)

It also reminds me of something I shared with one of our elder Sisters the other day.

Older Sister: I sometimes wonder about those of you entering today. I mean, we don't know what the future will hold.

Me: True, but then again neither did you.

Older Sister: Pardon?

Me: When you entered, you thought you knew what you were signing up for but then Vatican II came and renewal and look where we are now. The only difference between then and now is that I know that I don't know what the future will hold. And yet I know that I get to participate in creating that future.

Older Sister: Well said. .... We certainly live in interesting times.

How true!


Anonymous said...

Last one out turn off the lights and shut the door!

Susan Rose Francois, CSJP said...


Thanks very much for the comment. Actually, I wouldn't be here if I thought I'd be the last to turn off the lights. I firmly believe that religious life has a future. We may not know what it will look like, but we still serve a purpose and God will call people. And some will even be crazy enough to answer. This I firmly believe. I don't think we'll ever reach the numbers of the 50's or 60's, but I think the need of the times is different. Then we needed large numbers to staff schools and hospitals, work done well by lay people now. Today I think the need is more for spiritual leadership and the light and life of the particular charism of each community to have a way to shine into our world and our church.

That said, I do appreciate your visiting and leaving your comment which I bet was left in good fun!


Garpu said...

I think there's another benefit to older religious communities...at least in my experience meeting some of them and forming friendships with them helped me connect to that generation in ways that I can't with my own family.

Anonymous said...

Susan, I have to disagree -- the Catholic school system is on the verge of complete collapse in this country. Simply put, the work is NOT being don by lay people. We cannot attract the best and brightest teachers to our schools because of poor salaries and benefits. What we get are kids just out of school, with minimal religious commitment, who are in it until they can complete their Masters' degree and move up to better salaries. Even the (relatively) small salaries for Catholic school teachers have forced tuition rates so high that many, many Catholics can no longer afford to send their children to Catholic schools (which, to be honest, are often enough not worth the high tuition any way). So, there may be very many reasons that numbers of women and men religious will not return to pre-1970s levels, but one of those reasons is NOT that the ministry carried out by those wonderful people is now being done by the laity. By and large, the work is simply not being done at all in today's American Church.

Sister Juliet, RSCJ said...

I have to agree with you, Susan, that there is a different sort of need out there now, and so religious life will continue, even if it "looks" different.

After all, we can't be the only ones who are crazy enough to answer God's call! And, I trust that God will take care of us along the way, no matter what happens.

Thanks for continuing the conversation! Since I haven't yet entered, it is refreshing to hear such positive stories.