|A CARA study finds about 68 percent of religious entered their institute with at least a bachelor’s degree.|
The latest study from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) was released just before the World Day for Consecrated Life (Feb. 2) and the national Day of Open House with Religious (Feb. 8).
Study highlights on religious men and women who professed perpetual vows to the nearly 800 communities in 2014 include:
* They were more likely to have attended Catholic high schools and colleges than the average American Catholic.
* Two in three (68 percent) entered their religious institute with at least a bachelor’s degree (61 percent for women and 80 percent for men). 18 percent of religious earned a graduate degree before entering their religious institute.
* Most religious did not report that educational debt delayed their application for entrance to their institute. Among those who did report educational debt, however, they averaged one year of delay while they paid down an average of $15,750 in educational debt.
* The average age of responding religious of the Profession Class of 2014 was 37. Half of the responding religious were age 34 or younger. The youngest was 24 and the oldest was 64.
* Nearly all of the religious of the Profession Class of 2014 (89 percent) participated in some type of vocation program or experience prior to entering their religious institute. Most common was a “Come and See” experience (59 percent) or a vocation retreat (50 percent).
* Nearly half said that a parish priest or a religious sister or brother encouraged their vocation (49 and 47 percent). Men were more likely than women to have been encouraged by a parish priest, religious sister, or brother.
“Given the fact that 89 percent of those responding to the recent CARA survey of new religious had participated in some form of a ‘Come and See’ experience prior to entering their religious institute, we know it is important for our youth and young adults to have greater exposure and familiarity with the community life of religious,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, N.C., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to visit local religious communities in their own area during the Day of Religious Open Houses, Sunday, Feb. 8.”
Read the full CARA study here.
For a full list of upcoming Open House and "Come and See" events, click here.