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This is a fascinating subjectyou don’t hear about much:
The way Sr. Rita Cameron sees it, her grandchildren didn’t lose a grandmother when she became a sister. They gained 106 great-aunts. “Everybody loves them,” said Cameron, who is vocations director for the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa. Cameron is part of a relatively small but significant segment of women entering religious life having grown children and, occasionally, grandchildren. Notre Dame de Namur Sr. Mary Johnson, a sociologist at Trinity Washington University, found in a 1999 study of sisters who had entered religious life since the end of the Second Vatican Council that of the 2,740 women who responded, 3 percent reported having been divorced (and their marriages annulled) before entrance, and 1 percent had been widowed. Four percent had children. Ten years later, a survey undertaken by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate and the National Religious Vocation Conference found that of 985 female respondents who had entered religious life in the previous 20 years, 10 percent said they had been previously married, and 7 percent had children. “We are not talking about a huge phenomenon,” Johnson told Global Sisters Report. “We are talking about a small but significant phenomenon that does bring some women who have different life experiences to religious orders.”
Photo: NCR/Dubuque Presentation Sisters