ACTION ITEM! Help a reader, an aspiring monk!

I can’t do many of these, but I can do this one.


From a reader…

I will stay brief, but I want to make sure and thank you for your
ministry. Your blog was a rock and a beacon for me as I struggled to escape sin and return to the Catholic faith I grew up with while surrounded by priests who told me not to worry about it. You helped get me to confession, thank you.

My question is about where I am going now. Last Fall I was accepted into the monastery at Norcia but my entrance date is contingent on how quickly I can resolve my student loans. [Not uncommon.] (You may remember me mentioning this to you when I introduced myself at St. Peter’s after Cardinal Burke’s Mass last October.) For the past five months I have been working with the Laboure Society to raise the money I need, but I still have quite a ways to go and only a month left until my deadline. [Okay, folks…!] Would you be willing to let your blog readers know about the Laboure Society, my vocation, and offer them the opportunity to help me? I’m not sure how well links come through in the question box, but my support page is ? CLICK THAT!

Again, thank you for your work, Father, may God reward you for it. Be assured of my prayers. God bless!

I’ll keep the combox closed on this. Help if you can.

The Monks at Norcia are great!

As I post he has 26% of his goal.

Let’s go!

And the Monks new CD is out as of today!

Here is a spiffy video about the life of the monks.

A sample of the chant:

UPDATE 4 June: 00:51 GMT


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. jflare says:

    I don’t think it’d be wise for me to purchase the CD right now, much as I’d love it. I’m too prone to looking for that and others and I need to restrain my spending as much as possible. However, I have contributed to his effort. Student loans are…tough.

  2. Riddley says:

    Done! What does it say about me that when I want to live vicariously through someone, I live vicariously through a heavily indebted novice monk? Ah well ;)

  3. APX says:

    I can empathize. My vocation to enter Carmel is perpetually put on hold until I can resolve my mountain of student loan debt, and with the oil economy crashing, things don’t look too good employment-wise.

  4. SanSan says:

    Done! $100 sent for Justin!

  5. anniemw says:

    APX – Perhaps you should look into the Laboure Society? This could be the door through which you enter Carmel. God’s will be done!

    Happy to help out an aspiring priest. For all that threatens to tear at the fabric of society and at the Church, there is so much good, too. God be praised!

    Let us all live out our vocations faithfully, zealously, joyfully! All for the Glory of God!


  6. benedetta says:

    His name is Justin? Absolutely I will help this very worthy effort how I am able.

    The Norcia Benedictine monks’ cd of chant is absolutely incredibly beautiful, I was enjoying it yesterday.

    APX, get a gofundme page together and send it to Fr. Z — I am sure other readers here will want to encourage your Carmelite vocation as well, so needed for our world right now! Prayers that it comes together in God’s good time.

  7. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    The chief merit in giving lies in one’s giving, not in one’s making-sure-the-recipeint-puts-the-money-to-good-use. So if folks wants to give money for this cause, fine. But beware: the Church has been used as a place for debtors to hide from the consequences of debt in times past, and, there is nothing to prevent such a chap from raising enough money from kind souls to pay off this debt or that, and then to just walk away from vocational plans, maybe as planned all along, maybe not, but either way, debt free. I am the first to say that most Church institutions are too short-sighted when it comes to assuming some reasonable debts of would-be priests and religious, but the opposite risk is there, too.

  8. Phil_NL says:

    Donation sent.

    I’m not a fan of deadlines for these things (all in God’s time seems appropriate here), but if the guy needs the cash, I might as well sent it today. May God grant him the religious life he desires, and the graces to live it well.

  9. jaykay says:

    Done. Thank you for publicising this, Father.

  10. PA mom says:

    APX-you can also apply to Mater Ecclesiae Fund ( They award grants every fall.

    It sounds a bit different than Laboure in that one doesn’t donate for a specific person, or yearly group, but into a general fund for all grant recipients.

  11. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    For future planning, if you go to Christendom College, you won’t be allowed to take any government loans. They do their own financial aid. But if you become a finally professed religious, the College will forgive your debt. I wouldn’t advise going there with that specific intention and running up a lot of debt on the assumption that you can become a religious and all will be forgiven.

    Christendom has been the only Catholic college in the country refusing to take government money of any kind. Now Wyoming Catholic has made the commitment to provide their students with financial aid free of government taint. Unfortunately, it is something an institution has to do very early on or the burden becomes too much for it to assume all at once.

    Anyone else who would like to help support students and many future priests and religious at a great Catholic college can donate to Christendom.

  12. APX says:

    APX-you can also apply to Mater Ecclesiae Fund ( They award grants every fall.
    I have looked into them. Unfortunately, they don’t help those with large student loan debt in order to allow them to give out more bursaries to people.

  13. jleedy says:

    Dr. Peters: I am the man in the video who wants to join the monks of Norcia. Your concern is a fairly common one among the people whom I have asked for help, and it is definitely a legitimate concern for people who want not only the merit of giving but also effective use of what has been given for the purpose of building up the Church. I spent several years after college working and discerning whether to seek help in pursuing the monastic vocation I believe that God has given me but I didn’t do so because I knew that I could not in good conscience promise that I have a vocation.

    The Laboure Society is a big help on that front. All the donations that our host’s readers have made have been to the Laboure Society and not to me. That means that if, for example, I walk away from the monastery a week after entering, I am *not* debt free. The money given to the Laboure Society on my behalf is used to deliver someone else’s vocation and I take my debts back as justice demands. My loans will not be paid in full until 3 years after I begin formation in the monastery. This period was chosen to strike a balance between most effective use of donated money (you don’t want to build up all the interest that comes with monthly payments), and allowing freedom for genuine discernment (you don’t want a man to feel trapped in a vocation that is not his because he feels like he owes it to the people who paid his student loans). I would very much encourage you to go to the Laboure website at and learn more about what they do for the Church.

    ps: I am a big fan of your blog as well! Thank you for helping me to understand the law of the church!

  14. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Understood, jleedy. I don’t comment on people I don’t know, but only on situations I have seen happen more than once in real life, in both diocesan and religious settings. I might write more on this later, time permitting. There are some rather simple, prudent ways to handle these matters. I don’t think anyone has quite hit on it yet. Best, dr.p. [jleedy explained his particular situation well.]

  15. jameeka says:

    Thank you Justin.
    I am listening to the Norcia CD in the past 2 days, and I dare anyone to be fraught with anxiety while listening/praying to it. Justin, I pray and hope you are able to join them.

  16. APX says:

    I would like to know what these “rather simple, prudent ways to handle these matters” are. Every religious order I wrote to and explained my situation to told me to find benefactors and fundraise to pay off the debt and discouraged spending years trying to pay them off on my own by working multiple jobs (which I attempted to do anyway, but I understand now why they recommend not doing that).

    Right now approximately one in two people discerning a religious vocation is impeded from discerning further by student loan debt. Furthermore, we complain about their being a shortage of vocations. As one priest told me when I asked him about people who expected to be repaid if it turned out I didn’t actually have a vocation in the end, people need to realize they are giving their money to God to let Him do as He sees fit. Furthermore, on a practical level, if people expect to be repaid if one discerns out, then it’s still a debt looming over the person discerning.

Comments are closed.