In 2018, at least 240 Catholic men and women in the US professed perpetual religious vows. A new survey provides an insight into the lives of these men and women.
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University, collected data on religious professions in 2018 and analyzed the results in a report for the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
Half of the respondents to the study said they were 19 years old or younger when they first consider a religious vocation. The average age of respondents was 38, with a median age of 35. The youngest and oldest were 22 and 75 respectively.
Other religious, or parish priests were the most likely to encourage a vocation, although friends, parents and relatives were also among the most likely to encourage discernment. Around 50% said at least one person tried to discourage them from discerning a religious vocation.
Almost every respondent undertook a vocation program or experience during discernment. About 20% participated in World Youth Day.
90% of those who took religious vows were baptized Catholics as babies, while 10% were converts. Among these converts, the average age at adult conversion was 19.
For 78% percent of respondents, both parents were Catholic, and 45% had four or more siblings.
90% had a regular private prayer life before entering and institute to pursue their vocation. Two-thirds took part in Eucharistic Adoration, praying the rosary, or attending retreats.