Vocations for Women Religious up in England

Here is some good news via CNS and The Catholic Herald.

The number of women joining religious orders in England and Wales has almost tripled in the last three years, according to a June 13 article in England’s Catholic Herald newspaper that said 17 women joined religious orders in Britain last year, up from six in 2009.

Something is definitely happening,” said Father Richard Nesbitt, Westminster diocesan vocations director, when asked if this could be the sign of a revival for women religious in Britain.

Sister Cathy Jones, who works for the National Office for Vocation in London, also said there has been a “significant increase in those thinking of entering religious life.”

Sister Cathy, who took her final vows more than a year ago as a member of the Religious of the Assumption, said there was a record number of women at the Westminster Diocese’s “Come and See” event in February, which gives women the chance to learn more about consecrated life.

She said more than 30 women attended the event , far exceeding the number that would have been drawn to a similar function 20 or 30 years ago.

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  1. RMT says:

    I wish they gave the breakdown of the orders that are filling out more, but I would bet that this increase in vocations is to sisters in more traditional orders with habits than to the pantsuit nuns that you see in the LCRW.

  2. heway says:

    I bet there is a mix of reasons -from wanting the traditional to the sense of greater openess to women making decisions for themselves.
    Curious -maybe it’s in the water.

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  4. NescioQuid says:

    It could be graces received from the Holy Father’s visit to the UK in 2010.

    I too would be interested to see whether vocations were to more tradi tional orders. The strange thing about the dissident nuns is that they don’t quite get how much they are disintegrating the difference between themselves and the secular – to the point where a lay person might ask, well, what difference would joining essentially make?!

  5. Supertradmum says:

    I was just speaking with Father Nesbitt about an hour ago. He said that there are 40 men in the seminary this Autumn, an additional 10 bringing up the numbers, for the Westminster Diocese. Also, St. John’s in Wonersh will be full this Fall, which includes men for Southwark, Arundel and Brighton and other dioceses. In addition, Oslo has just opened its own seminary and as Father Nesbitt noted, for a country with a very small population of Catholics, this is great news. This is the Benedict XVI Generation answering the call. God be praised.

  6. irishgirl says:

    This is definitely great news! Must be a continuation of the ‘Benedict Bounce’, following his 2010 visit to the UK.
    I, too, would be curious as the statistics, and which Orders are getting the most vocations.
    The Catholic Herald ought to follow up on it….
    @ NescioQuid & Supertradmum: what both of you said! Yes! I agree with you totally!

  7. Batfink says:

    There was an article about this in the Telegraph a few months ago, but I can’t now find the link to it online.

    It linked the increase in vocations to the papal visit. There was a bit saying that people entering religious life (I can’t remember whether it was only women, I think it might have been but not sure) had increased hugely since 2010 but that the statistics didn’t yet reflect it as most of the people affected weren’t yet finally professed.

    It said that the two biggest changes were in the number of converts to enter religious life (up a lot) and the number of young people who entered after attending a Catholic event such as Invocation or Youth 2000. Apparently 5-10% of the practising Catholic population in the UK have had direct contact with a group such as Youth 2000, but 50% of those entering religious life have.

    It depends on what you call ‘traditional’. Some orders were referenced in the article. I can’t remember what they were, but they were all of the type which would be ‘traditional’ in the sense of wearing the habit but not in the sense of celebrating Mass in the EF.

    On anecdotal evidence, the Carmelites and Religious of the Assumption in London both seem to be getting a lot of new entrants, although both from older women.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Batfink, there are very few religious female orders in England which have the TLM-I can think of two only–there may be more. Most of the nuns are in habit , most of the contemplative orders are. It must be pointed out that here, unlike in the States, an order can be liberal in theology and liturgical practice, and, in habit. The order mentioned in the Catholic Herald article do not wear habits and would not be considered traditional by most of us on this blog (http://www.csjp.org/) I am more excited about the numbers of men going into the seminaries, as that is a change from liberal to traditional, whereas the numbers growing in the female orders may not be reflecting that. The two trad orders to which I refer in the first sentence may be found here-great orders.


    and one mentioned on Damian Thompson’s blog a few years ago.


  9. Batfink says:

    Ok, thanks for the info.

    I have to admit, I don’t know many new female entrants to religious life, so anecdotally speaking I’m working on a base of 4, which doesn’t really make any kind of data.

    I’m slightly surprised by what you say about seminarians though. In my experience the current batch of diocesan seminarians are not what I’d call traditional. Young male religious, yes. The current Dominican and Community of St. John students, for example, are amazing.

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