WHERE ARE THE NUNS?
'C.H.' Liverpool Correspondent
"1VHY are Lancashire boys ready to offer themselves to God's service while the girls are so reluctant? It cannot be that God is not giving the call to the girls and young women of the Archdiocese. There must be some other explanation. Either the girls are overwhelmed by the distractions of the modern world or they are discouraged at home."
This statement is contained in Archbishop Heenan's annual appeal for the diocesan Priests' Training Fund. He stresses there is no shortage of vocations to the priesthood. In fact the seminaries are full and there is urgent need to extend both Ushaw and Up Holland. He goes on:
"Although I am happy about the numbers offering themselves for the priesthood I am much concerned at the lack of religious vocations among our girls and young women. Let me speak frankly. Vocations reflect the faith and spirit of the whole flock. Priests, brothers and nuns owe their vocation, under God, to the example of devout parents and the Catholic atmosphere in the home.
"Girls come to see me in great distress because they have been forbidden to enter a convent. Even practising Catholics sometimes speak as if a vocation to the religious life were not a blessing but a disgrace.
"This is the more extraordinary since those who become nuns are usually intelligent and attractive. You have only to meet the sisters in our schools and hospitals to see what kind of women God calls. It would be strange, after all, if God were to choose only the second best for Himself.
"Most parents are glad to send girls to the Sisters for their education. Is it not, therefore, perverse to resent the thought of one of their own family wanting to give herself to God's service? It is said that parents feel they lose their daughter if she becomes a nun, but not if she marries and goes to live abroad. They would even see their daughter marry an unbeliever than become a Spouse of Christ.
"Believe me I am not exaggerating. At the moment I am making a careful visitation of the convents. I have discovered that the overwhelming majority of Sisters come from Ireland.
"We rejoice that so many young people are now active in the Lay Apostolate. But if God calls them to a more complete surrender they will be wise not to hesitate. The sacrifice is nothing by comparison with the reward it brings".
The total collection from all sources last year amounted to £21,%8, an increase of £683 on the previous year.