Representatives of the Daughters of Charity were among 200 persons from 22 countries and 22 states who gathered in Indiana, USA, from April 8-12 to explore ways that religious communities can obtain new members. This was the 10th year that the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana, sponsored the conference, entitled: "Awakening: A Rebirth of Enthusiasm in Vocations." The Ferdinand Benedictine Sisters discussed how they have strengthened and revitalized their own vocation program and have committed themselves to having a future. Participants explored how they can adapt and apply these innovative efforts to their own communities at a time when fewer young women and men are choosing to join religious orders. Sr Maureen Tinkler, Sr Marie Raw and Sr Anne Redmond attended from the British Province along with four other Daughters of Charity and two Vincentian Fathers from Ireland. Sr Maureen said: "It was a marvellous experience which provided much food for thought. Now comes the task of sharing with the rest of the province, drawing out the implications for us and then moving into future planning." Sr Joella Kidwell, prioress of the 217-member Ferdinand Benedictine community, observed: "Every year the vocation conference just gets better and better. The enthusiasm of this year's participants was outstanding. They brought lots of ideas and suggestions with them. And they expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to come together to be energized and filled with hope for the future. While the challenges in each part of the world are somewhat different, we have much in common. Sharing unique approaches to our common challenges gives us new possibilities to take home with us." Source: Daughters of Charity
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