The Fund for Vocations recently announced that it has awarded student loan payment assistance to 13 new applicants who are considering entering the Catholic religious life.

“Vocations are the lifeblood of the Church, and it is a tragedy to lose even one to a solvable problem like student debt,” Corey Huber, the chairman of the charitable organization, said in a statement shared with The College Fix.

The organization helps college graduates with student loan debt pay their loans while they contemplate becoming a priest, nun or religious brother. Religious orders often require a vow of poverty and even priests who work for a diocese do not make much money. Student loans cannot be absorbed by religious orders.

The Fix recently spoke to Mary Radford, the Fund’s executive director, to learn more about its recent successes and why the work they do is important.

Radford said that the organization, which has been around for 15 years, has a “100 percent success rate.” This is because every time it can make a student loan payment, it helps one more person discern if the religious life is right for them.

“By the time they’ve come to us, they’ve already been accepted into the community,” Radford said. “Usually the last hurdle to entrance is this student loan debt.”

The mission is “streamlined” — all the charity does is pay student loans.

Furthermore, Radford said, it’s better that they pay the loans only while the applicant is in the discernment process. That way no one feels pressured to stay in the religious life just because an organization paid off their entire student loans.

Numerous victories

“Over the last 15 years we’ve helped almost 250 young people enter formation. Of those people…it would be probably close to 200 [priests and nuns],” Radford said. The charity’s website lists more stories about people who have discerned their vocations.

The organization would ideally like to be able to accept every applicant’s request for aid — something it was able to do this year, for the second time in the organization’s history.

“We’re hoping that moving forward that will be our new tradition, is being able to accept every qualified applicant,” Radford said. “We can’t afford to lose a vocation in today’s culture.”

The above comes from a March 19 story on the College Fix.