CHICAGO, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to the Chicago-based National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) to study educational debt and its impact on religious vocations.
Dr. Kathleen Mahoney, a consultant with extensive experience in the Catholic philanthropic community, will serve as project director. Holy Cross Brother Paul Bednarczyk, executive director of the NRVC, is hopeful that the "study will better equip religious congregations to work with candidates who have student loans so that student loan debt isn't an obstacle to religious vocations and the call to consecrated life."
The goals of this project are:
- to assess the extent educational debt is hindering vocations to religious life;
- to produce resources that will help address the problem of educational debt as it relates to vocations for various constituencies, including religious congregations, support organizations for vocations and religious communities, philanthropic organizations, and those considering life as a religious sister, brother, or priest.
A main impetus for the debt study was the finding in the 2009 NRVC/CARA Report on Recent Vocations to Religious Life in the United States that the average age of those entering religious life is 30 and most entrants are college educated. In addition feedback provided in the NRVC's regular vocation trend surveys on its VocationNetwork.org website indicates that debt has played a role in candidates' readiness or eligibility for religious life.
The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) was founded in 1988 as a professional organization of men and women committed to vocation awareness, invitation, and discernment to consecrated life as brothers, sisters, and priests. The NRVC has approximately 1,300 members, most of whom are vocation ministers for religious congregations. The NRVC serves its members by providing continuing education, resources, and services for professional growth.
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is a family foundation established in 1944 by the founder of Hilton Hotels. The foundation provides funds to nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people throughout the world. Since its inception the Foundation has awarded nearly $900 million in grants.
SOURCE National Religious Vocation Conference