This month, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the IRL’s founding at the 2014 National Meeting, we were pleased to see a story about this momentous event in the National Catholic Register.
Appearing in the March 22, 2014, issue, the author talked to several IRL board members and employees to get their perspective on 40 turbulent years of in religious life. The IRL was originally founded to “save religious life in America” which was experiencing a precipitous decline in membership, in both men and women’s orders.
Father Thomas Nelson, O.Praem., our National Director, said, “The IRL has a good reputation in the Church to fidelity to the Church. Therefore, communities become members because it’s a stamp of approval, in a certain sense, [that] they are faithful to Church teaching.” Four times a year, the IRL Executive Committee meets to discuss applications for new Affiliate members. We scrutinize them carefully and in some cases visit them before they are approved for membership. Earlier this month, we approved four new communities showing that we continue to be a vital portal for vocation information for youth, a source of assistance to the communities themselves and that there are new, growing and faithful communities emerging in the Church.
Mother Marie Julie Saegaert, SCMC, superior general of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, said that a number of young women who have come in and persevered in their order “met us at the annual meeting.” She also praised the laity who are such an important part of the IRL’s mission. “They are faithful to the Church and love the consecrated life. They are powerhouses of prayer.”
To read the complete story, visit the National Catholic Register.