Nuns on the Internet?! Yep. The topic is still making news, which is great! One of the latest articles, from the Associated Press, just appeared in ABC2News.com, the Huffington Post, CBSNews.com, and other major media sources around the world.
The article makes a point that merits emphasis—that interest in religious life is on the rise, and that sisters and nuns are using the Internet to raise awareness about what religious life is today.
These two things are interrelated. If a woman can’t imagine herself being a sister, even though she feels called to religious life, then it’s unlikely she’ll pursue religious life as an option. Case in point: myself. For years, religious life wasn’t even on the radar screen for me. Praying all day, yeah, that’s great. But I wanted action and adventure! What I didn’t understand then was these things are a huge part of religious life. When I became aware of that, hello religious life.
The article also quotes Patrice Tuohy of the National Religious Vocation Conference, which represents vocation directors in many religious organizations of women and men. She makes the point that interest in religious life is increasing. Contrary to a common misperception, it’s not just interest in orders that wear traditional habits. There’s a lot of new interest in orders of all kinds. The more awareness there is about the wonderful diversity of religious life, the more ways there are for people to imagine themselves in religious life.
One more thing—I kinda chuckle when I see the word “recruit” in the article. That’s not actually our job. It’s what God does! Our role is to help those who feel called by God to see the possibilities for their own life and to discern their calling. Maybe the discernment will lead to religious life, or maybe it will lead to a different way to serve God and others. But I sense that’s part of the renewed interest in religious life too—recognition that the traditions of religious life, such as discernment, can be of great service to the larger Christian community and beyond.