Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic World News

More US nuns over 90 than under 60

October 27, 2010

In an interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online, Mother Mary Clare Millea offers an update on the apostolic visitation of active women religious in the United States. “My task as visitator is to note the global picture of the individual congregations and suggest recommendations I consider appropriate for them,” said Mother Millea. “The competent office of the Apostolic See will determine what will be communicated to the congregations to help promote their vitality.”

Asked, “Is it true that vocations to more orthodox communities of women religious who are frequently in habits are up?”, she replied:

In August 2009, the National Religious Vocation Conference published a study on recent vocations to religious life conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). Using statistics gathered from religious institutes as well as from meetings with focus groups of young religious in selected institutes, the study revealed some dramatic trends. While there are more women religious in the United States over the age of 90 than under the age of 60, some congregations are definitely experiencing an upsurge in new vocations.

The NRVC study offers some “best practices” for vocation promotion and indicates that the example of members and the characteristics of the institute seem to have the most influence on the decision to enter a particular institute. The research further suggests those congregations that follow a more traditional style of religious life seem to have the greatest success in attracting and retaining new members, especially younger candidates. While the NRVC study is distinct from the apostolic visitation, its complete findings might be of interest to those concerned about the future of religious life.


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  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2010 6:55 PM ET USA

    The situation is similar in parishes in Australia, it is saddening. Congregations are aging, yet Catholic schools are full. At Masses it is uncommon to see large numbers of children, the faithful are well advanced in years. I became a Catholic some 20 years ago and the age problem was evident then, I was 40 and among the youngest at Mass. Things have only gotten worse. I attended some SSPX Masses where the scene differed, I was among the oldest. Modernism is a death sentence, it kills faith.

  • Posted by: spledant7672 - Oct. 29, 2010 10:38 PM ET USA

    I can understand this. As a convert to the Catholic faith, I too want more orthodoxy, not less. In our heart of hearts, where we make our deepest committments, only the pearl of great price is worth selling all to buy it. Why would we ever think that people would invest that much - all - of themselves if we, woefully incorrectly, say that the pearl does not cost that much? It gives me joy to know of the work of this apostolic visitation. Thank you.