Often, educational debt is a stumbling block to a religious vocation. Take the case of Friar Anthony Serviam Maria, a simply professed Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate. In a story in Our Sunday Visitor (4/22/12), Friar Anthony tells how as a layman he went on a retreat with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal where Fr. Stan Fortuna challenged him to name his passion. What he realized was that what he loved (wilderness survival and primitive skills) did little for God. Feeling called to religious life but needing to pay down his debt, he applied for a grant from the Mater Eccelsiae Fund for Vocations, an organization that helps to eliminate the obstacle an aspirant’s student loans present to answering his vocation.
Today Mater Eccelsiae is making payments on his remaining debt. The man who lived a “pagan life” searching for something found Someone.