Handmaids Look to the Future for Vocations

Handmaids Look to the Future for Vocations

handsOver the last two decades, the Catholic Church is experiencing a decrease in vocations in men’s and women’s religious communities. Church leaders believe that the decrease in vocations is due to a strong disconnect in communications and personal contacts between men and women in consecrated life with individuals with the potential to become priests and sisters.

For the Handmaids, they have continually seen an increase in Handmaid vocations in recent years, currently being blessed with six women in formation and several other women discerning their call. After careful reflection, prayer and examination into the future of their own vocations promotion and formation program, the Handmaids have embarked on a three-year initiative in partnership with their Development Advisory Board. The Vocations Promotion Initiative, begun in September 2011, focuses on developing and implementing a strategic plan to increase Handmaid vocations and focus on best practices in Vocations Promotion Ministry.
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Handmaids’ Development Advisory Chair and Initiative Leader, Anita Alvaré provides her thoughts on the project: “We will be spending the better part of this year conducting interviews with the Handmaids and their supporters to better understand what attracts young women to the Congregation. The Formation Team discussions we recently completed were filled with inspiring personal stories and an historical perspective of religious vocations since Vatican II. We will be analyzing all of the information gleaned from the interviews to develop a fact-based strategic marketing plan designed to build awareness and increase vocations for the Handmaids over the next three years.

Sister Kayjoy Cooper, acj states: “For close to twenty years, Handmaids have been working at greater visibility in print and online media, by attending young adult meetings, and by inviting women for retreats and programs in our homes. Our vocations promotion does not begin with this initiative nor will it end there. Rather it is an intensification of research and marketing on the part of experts on our behalf. The current three-year initiative will sharpen our focus and increase our abilities.

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