The following comes from a February 4 USCCB news release:
Nearly all of the religious men and women who professed perpetual vows in 2015 had a strong, active parish life or participated in a vocation program or experience prior to entering their religious institute, according to the annual survey on men and women religious conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.
The report comes as the Catholic Church completes the global observance of the Year for Consecrated Life. The entire survey and press release can be found at www.usccb.org/consecratedlife.
Nearly 84 percent participated in a vocation program prior to entering their religious institute, such as a “Come and See” experience (72 percent), or a vocation retreat (46 percent). Women were more likely than men (57 percent compared to 29 percent) to report participating in a vocation retreat before entering their religious institute.
Of the 136 women and men surveyed, a total of 54 sisters and nuns and 35 brothers responded to the survey. These brothers may include some who intend to pursue studies leading to priestly ordination. This represents a response rate of 65 percent of the 136 potential members of the Profession Class of 2015 that were reported to CARA by major superiors.
Other major findings of the report are:
Nearly all responding religious (90 percent) regularly participated in some type of private prayer activity before they entered their religious institute. About two-thirds participated in Eucharistic Adoration or prayed the rosary before entering. Nearly six in ten participated in retreats or spiritual direction before entering.
Most religious did not report that educational debt delayed their application for entrance to their institute. Among the two who did report educational debt, however, they averaged less than a one year of delay while they paid down an average of $35,000 in educational debt. Several of the women, but none of the men, reported receiving assistance in paying down their debt.
The average age of responding religious is 39. Half of the responding religious are age 35 or younger. The youngest is 26 and the oldest is 76.
Two-thirds of responding religious (68 percent) identify as white, more than one in six (16 percent) identifies as Asian, and more than one in ten (11 percent) identifies as Hispanic.
Most responding religious (77 percent) were born in the U.S. Of those born outside the United States, the most common country of origin is The Philippines.
Among those identifying as Hispanic/Latino six in ten (60 percent) are U.S. born. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian (86 percent) are predominantly foreign born. Nearly all identifying as Caucasian/white (97 percent) are U.S. born.