Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate has a new report out. Entitled "Recent Vocations to the Religious Life," it was prepared for last week's National Religious Vocation Conference, which took place in New Orleans.
Not too surprisingly, CARA found that vocations "are attracted to religious congregations by the example of the members, particularly by their testimony of joy, a down-to-earth attitude, commitment and zeal."
Furthermore, "the groups that are most successful in attracting and retaining new members follow a more traditional style of religious life [where] members live together in community and participate in daily Eucharist, pray the Divine Office, and engage in devotional practices together."
Finally, according to CARA, these groups "wear a religious habit, work together in common apostolates, and are explicit about their fidelity to the Church and the teachings of the Magisterium."
That last paragraph describes DOR's RSMs and SSJs back in their pre-Vatican II days, a time when both orders were flourishing.
Dropping the habit, moving out of the convent, pursuing individual careers and tolerating just about every form of dissent among the membership has thinned the ranks of both orders substantially and attracted little in the way of new blood.
Both orders now could serve as case studies in self-destruction.
The full report is here (click on the 5th bullet point).