Around seven young people each year have been entering the convent and the number of brothers is on the rise. Photo: Order of Preachers

Vocational boom in Italy; due to Pope Francis’ prayers?

The friary in the province of St. Dominic in northern Italy is experiencing a considerable increase in vocations. Many young Italians are entering the convent to give their lives according to the rule and lifestyle of this order. It is like a springtime in this monastery.

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 23.11.2023) – For almost six years now, the Province of St. Dominic in northern Italy has registered a steady increase in the number of young men with professional degrees entering the Order. About seven young men each year have been coming to the friary and the number of friars is on the rise.

The prior of the Province, Father Drago, said with a sense of humor that it is perhaps due to the fascination of the young people with the black and white habit, or perhaps because of the prayers of the faithful, but he truly notes that it is a blessing from God to receive so many young people who want to give their lives to God in the Order of St. Dominic. What surprises him most is that they are young Italians with university degrees or even doctorates. With this new blood, it has already become the second largest Province in Europe, after the Province of Poland.

Candidates to the order first undergo the aspirancy period, in which they are asked about their deepest motivations for joining the order, as well as what it means to embrace the life of a Dominican by professing vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Upon entering the order, the friars have a formative journey of about nine years, however, it is remarkable that the number of friars who start the studies is very similar to those who complete them, it is not frequent that they leave the order during this period.

The young people who enter the order are young people of “our society” with the same opportunities and limits that are present in today’s youth, which implies a challenge since on many occasions there is no longer a basic knowledge of the truths of faith, or family support structures, as there were in Italy before the last century. For this reason, the candidates often find in the Order a place of listening, prayer, community life, and study, which allows them to find the meaning of being a Christian and of following Christ if he invites them to follow him along this path.

This small but steady growth encourages Father Draco to have hope for the future of the order in Italy. In addition, it is worth mentioning that Father Draco pointed out that on October 1, 2017, Pope Francis visited the tomb of St. Dominic, the founder of the order, and prayed for a few minutes. And he wrote: “I prayed for the order of preachers. I thank the Lord for all the good that his sons do for the Church, and I have asked as a gift for a notable increase in vocations.” It seems that his prayers have been answered.

 

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Dante Alba, LC

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