Welcome to Vocations Ireland
A day in the life of Religious in Ireland
Religious telling their stories
The Religious Call
VIDEO BLOG POSTS
Sr Marie Dunne CHF writes: This is a new hymn to Saint Joseph I composed it in honour of the special year. I launched it in St. Joseph’s parish Bonnybrook last Sunday for Vocation Sunday. I was inspired by Pope Francis’ homily for Vocation Sunday which focuses on Joseph.
A short video for Vocations Sunday
Vocations Sunday occurs on Good Shepherd Sunday every year. We celebrate this day and attempt to mark the importance of the gift of Vocation which stems from our very first call that of Baptism. We call the week leading up to this date “Vocations Week” and in previous years we have released videos of people from different forms of religious life talking about their lives before and after they found their vocation and how they answered their calling. We encourage you to watch some of these videos to gain a better understanding of what possibilities might be available to you.
Vocations Sunday 2019
A vocation is a calling, a special calling to a way of being, to religious life.
Sister Helen O’Sullivan
This is the main video for Vocations Sunday tying some of the interviewees from the videos that were aired during the week and which can all be viewed below!
Out and About on Vocations Week 2018
Julie Buckley of the Sisters of Marie Reparatrice explains how her order works in 23 countries across 3 continents to help people in various ways such as in the fields of healthcare, education and the poor. She describes her own experiences abroad.
I would encourage every person, young and middle aged, to explore their path in life. For the majority it’s finding a partner and raising a family, for others it’s single life and for others, it’s religious life.
I’m very optimistic that young people in Ireland will find what gives them life and meaning. They are the questions that most human beings are going to come to. The media and secularised culture is not going to bring life and sooner or later they’re going to ask “What’s going to bring deeper meaning to my life?”
Net Team Vocations Week
All of us want to be happy, all of us are searching for that peace that Jesus can bring to us. Jesus has worked for millions of people over thousands of years. Just talk to him honestly. Allow your heart to be open and he will fill it with that peace.
Rene Nault and Alex McCay from The NET Ministries Team explains their role in creating retreats and building up the community for young adult Catholics in Ireland and their experiences in conveying religious life and spirituality to them.
Vocations Week with Fr. Colm O’Mahoney
It is an adventure and it’s not like anything else you’re ever going to do. It’s totally unique and different and to be channeled and pushed and encouraged in different directions and do things you never thought you’d ever do.
Anne-Marie Whelan – Evangelisation & Vocations Officer
“Different people have a different calling, it’s important for people to build up a relationship with God first of all. Then and only then can they know what God wants them to do with their life.”
Anne Marie Whelan talks about her work as “Evangelisation & Vocations Officer” for the Sisters of Bon Secours as well as the history of and charism of that order. She also offers advice for young people who are growing in their faith and seeking a religious vocation.
Angie Escarsa – Columban Lay Missionary
“My vocation as a Columban Lay Missionary is like a surprise from God”
Originally from the Phillipines, Angie Escarsa describes her life as a Columban Lay Missionary and how she came to join the congregation. She describes working with people in her parish in Ballymun, Dublin and how she manages to balance work and life.
Sr. Éibhlís NicUaithuas – Daughters of Charity
Religious life in any age is important. We pray and we pray for the people. It’s very much a prayer that incorporates the world.
Sister Éibhlís NicUathathais tells her story and the history of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Vincent de Paul as well as their purpose and work.
Br. Ronan Lennon – Order of St. John of God
God calls us using our strengths and skills and interests. Replying to a vocation to be a brother or a sister, to be single or married, I believe, is “where in life will I be fulfilled and content?”
Fr. Colm O’Mahony – Augustinians
Vocations are important because I think we have an essential role in the world. God speaks to people always and He calls people forward always.
Father Colm O’Mahoney talks about his life growing up and how came to join the order of the Augustinians after deciding that he did not want to be a secular diocesan priest. He then describes how the charism of the Augustinians is one of community and what that means in terms of the real world. He also talks about the importance of vocations and how you can best find yours.
Fr. Ruben Padilla – Comboni Missionaries
The favourite part of my religious life is the relationship I have with God. Religion means to be attached to God. Without Him religious life doesn’t mean anything.
Fr. Willie Purcell – National Coordinator of Vocations in Ireland
This is a great time to be a Catholic and a great time to be a priest in Ireland. Simply because, never before have we needed young men and women who will stand up for the truth and stand up for what they believe is right. It is countercultural. It is a counter-sign of the country, the culture and society we are living in.
Fr. Willie Purcell is diocesan priest in the Diocese of Ossuary located in County Kilkenny and is also the National Coordinator for Vocations in Ireland. In this video he explains the difference between a diocesan and religious priest and why he chose one over the other. He also talks about why it’s a great time to be a priest in Ireland today and how God has a plan for all of us.
Sr. Sheila Curran – Sisters of Mercy
I suppose I was attracted to give my life in the service of mission of the Gospel and for me that was always to be on the side of those who were on the margins.
Sister Sheila Curran, from Letterkenny, Donegal, explains how the Sisters of Mercy were founded to work with the poor, the sick, the uneducated and she came to join them over 30 years ago.
Sr. Helen O’Sullivan – Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions
The advice I would give to young people is to follow what you know instinctively in yourself is good for you. I wonder if some young people follow each other. Be your best self and keep searching. Keep searching for God and searching for what is right and good because the Lord will help you find it.
Sister Helen O’Sullivan of Our Lady of the Missions talks about how her call to religious life first came to her in school as a teenager and how it persisted until she answered the call in her thirties. She talks about her work with Vocations Ireland and why it’s important that young people are given the right information about the options available in religious life.
Sr. Monica and Maura (Novice) – Redemptoristine Nuns
For me, I feel religious life is so important for our world today, just to be that witness. It’s just the contemplative life, that you’re bringing everyone into that prayer.
I think religious life is so important for the world, especially nowadays, in the hustle and bustle of life, you can forget God is even there… We are praying for everybody and no matter what’s going on in their lives that God does care, that it matters to Him and it matters to us as well. And that we are carrying them all in prayer, each moment of each day.
Sister Monica and Maura, a novice, both of the Redemptoristines explain their life in a contemplative order, what it’s like to be enclosed, their interests and how they live a life of prayer. They also describe what their religious life means to them and for the world and the importance of God in their lives and the world.
Sr. Clare Marie – Poor Clares Galway
My advice to young people would be to trust in Jesus, to believe that He exists, to open yourself to a personal relationship with Jesus and He won’t fail you.
Sr. Clare-Marie is from Monaghan, Poor Clares Order in Nuns’ Island Galway describes her life in a contemplative order and her journey toward joining.
Sr. Marie Dunne – Holy Faith Sisters
Who you are is God’s gift to you. Who you become is your gift to God. And I do believe there is such a need as to people who will give their lives to witnessing to the love of God. That’s what they’re really asked to do.
Sister Marie Dunne of the Holy Faith Sisters tallks about the kindness of the sisters who taught her as a child and the impression it made upon her. She then explains that she always felt call to the religious life that never left her. She tells history of the Holy Faith Sisters and their charism: “it’s about having a listening heart and a compassionate heart and a heart that doesn’t judge.” She tells of her love of music and how she works with music as her full time occupation.
Sr. Susan Aseu – Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa
My favourite part of religious life is when I’m doing something for somebody. It gives me fulfillment that I’m sharing out my best with the person who is next to me.
Originally from Uganda, Sr. Susan Aseu is a Franciscan Missionary Sister for Africa. She tells of how her love for Jesus and her family helped her to connect with children doing her work and how she was inspired in her course of life by a missionary priest and at school and meeting a Franciscan Sister in university.
Sr. Carmen Lee – Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Spirit
I’m sorry all those people don’t know how exciting it is in religious life because it’s not a dull life, it’s a very exciting life.You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Sister Carmen Lee describes how she came to join the Missionary Sisters and why she chose this order over the many others. She also offers advice for young people looking to find something out of life.
Sr. Colette Kane – Dominican Sisters
Some people were really upset in college when I said I wanted to join religious life, they said “what a waste” and they saw my joining as an end of something, and yet, for me, it was the opening up of something. It has allowed me to flourish.
Sister Colette Kane, originally from Belfast, now based in Wicklow Town, joined the Cabra Congregation of the Dominican Order. She explains the Dominicans involvement in education and her current efforts in ecology having helped set up in an organic farm in the 1990s. She talks of her interests and how music is part of her religious life.
Sr. Carmel Ryan – Daughters of Charity
It gives the people we are working with and ministering to a stabilty. We stand for something more than what’s going on around them.
Sr Bridget Moore – Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny
The main mission for us sisters is trying to be a supportive community for each other and to anyone else we can help.
Sister Bridget Moore, a member of the St. Joseph of Cluny, tells of how she joined the congregation and of her life and love for Irish music. She also tells of her recent expedition to Haiti to help after the earthquake there.
The Presentation Brothers were founded in 1802 in Waterford by Edmund Rice, a businessman who turned to religious life after his wife passed away. He also found Presentation Brothers live and work in Ireland and many other countries around the world.
The Brothers take three promises—poverty, chastity and obedience—and live together in small groups called “communities”. The expressed mission of the Presentation Brothers is to “form Christ in the Young” and traditionally they have worked to achieve this through education.
In these videos Brothers talk about how they came to be brothers as well as the various aspects of their lives and work and offer advice for anyone considering the life of a Brother.
How To Be A Presentation Brother
God calls through the people, the events and the experiences of life. All of human life is drenched with divinity in that sense. Grace is everywhere if we have eyes to see it and open our ears to it.
Br. Martin Kenneally talks about his life and how he came to think about religious vocation from a very young age where among other influences, the Presentation Brothers left an impression on him and that he was later attracted to the group.
He also explains how people experience a call to God, in that it can be dramatic like St Paul on the road to Damascus but how it is mostly gradual through the many experiences we all have both good and bad. He also advises that people take time to understand whether they are hearing a call to God and how to respond.
He also goes into about what Brotherhood entails in a Christian sense and the relationship to God and also the meaning of the various vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
My Vocation Story
To be a brother means you have to surrender yourself to God and to others… I did so many years ago what my heart told me to do and today I’m happy to be a brother and I would encourage anyone to join the brothers.
Br. Kevin Mascarenhas tells his remarkable story beginning with growing up in Pakistan and the persecution he and his fellow Catholics faced there as a small religious minority then following how he moved to England and Canada and how a near distrasrous accident convinced him he had a calling from God.
He then describes working with the poor and marginalised as a Presentation Brother and the work they do around the world in the same capacity.
Finally he talks about Brother Edmund Rice who founded the Christian and Presentation Brothes who cared for the poor and provided an education and he inspires him to do the same.
Discerning Your Vocation
Knowing that God is very hard to know. There is a move inside of you saying: “Yes, you’re doing the right thing”. But even with the people I was living with and working with I could see the work I was doing was God-inspired as well.
Br. Ray Dwyer explains how he came to join the Presentation Brothers and talks about their Charism or mission which is dedicated to the education of young people and the marginalised. He also talks about the inspiration of the fournder Edmund Rice and his life and how he is continuing his aim to help marginalised youth in Ireland.
He talks about his career and different roles as a missionary, school chaplain and social worker and is current job as a Vocation Director.
He also explains what Community life is like, that is living and praying with other Brothers and having a support system.
He offers advice on how someone can discern their calling and decide whether it is a religious vocation they are seeking or something else and how his job is to help people make that decision by offering guidance and advice.
The Life of a Novitiate
As I grew in my own career, and as I left school I wanted to commit myself to something meaningful in life and I saw the Presentation Brothers and religious life as a way of doing that… of serving others, of committing myself to young people in particular and the Presentation Brothers Community gave me an opportunity to do that.
Br Barry Noel describes his calling to God which began in being taught by the Presentation Brothers in school as a young boy. They inspired and impressed him because of their kindness and after leaving school decided to join them himself.
He then details the life of a novitiate, the term for a young man who joins the Brothers to live with them and discern whether God is calling him. He then goes on to describe their typical day as well as the overall experience a novitiate will encounter to prepare him for his future life wherever it may lead.
Finally he briefly touches on what life in the community is like with the different personalities living together and a life of prayer.
Come and See – Joining the Presentation Brothers
… Iwould tell him that it’s a very fulfilling way of life, our community life, our togetherness, our prayer life is a great foundation to enable you to go out into ministry and when you go into ministry you can go back to get the support of community; you’re not living in isolation.
Br Richard English, originally from South Tipperary, talks about his first encounters with the Presentation Brothers, the positive experiences he had after joining and the type of social work he was involved in afterwards. He then elaborates a little on what a Presentation Brother’s way of life is like and how it is filled with opportunity.
Being A Brother To Others
For me, being a brother is my life… I have been influenced by Jesus of Nazareth because every day of his short life on this earth, Jesus was about being brother to others.
Br. Anthony O’Sullivan explains the influence the Presentation Brothers had on his young life in school and how he decided to join them and a little of his work afterwards in places like Africa. He explains why he became a brother and why he thinks being a brother is necessary for the church today.
A Layperson’s Perspective
They have influenced me in many ways… to be a better Catholic and a better person. They are men of service and men of faith and those two attributes I have tried to integrate into my own life.
Michael DaCosta from Toronto, Canada recalls first getting to know the Presentation Brothers as teachers in his school and how he has stayed in contact with them to this day. He talks a bit more about their history mission and how he has emulated it in his life and career as a teacher. He also offers some advice to young men interested in joining the brothers.