WASHINGTON — U.S. Catholic religious communities are attracting more ethnically and culturally diverse members now than in previous generations, according to an in-depth survey of 4,000 men and women who are in formation or newly vowed members.
The "Study of Recent Vocations to Religious Life" also showed that most U.S. religious communities report diminishing numbers with aging populations, but at the same time indicated those who are choosing religious life today are passionate about it and some orders are cultivating vocations from the millennial generation.
With less than 10 percent of women religious and 25 percent of men religious under the age of 60, it's imperative that U.S. religious communities figure out effective methods of recruitment, said Mercy Sr. Mary Bendyna, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate and principal author of the study.
The study was conducted by CARA, a Georgetown University-based research center, on behalf of the National Religious Vocation Conference, based in Chicago. It surveyed 4,000 men and women who are in formation or newly vowed members.
The study results are available at www.nrvc.net.