Vocations fair exhibits diversity of religious life


Photo by: Anne Deemer

A multitude of religious communities made the trek from around the nation to Franciscan University of Steubenville for the Vocations Fair Friday, Oct. 11 in the Finnegan Fieldhouse. 

The fair featured more than six rows of tables laden with prayer cards for just about every saint imaginable, information brochures on various forms of religious life and posters full of pictures from beautiful motherhouses. Surrounding the vibrant displays were nuns, sisters, priests and brothers from dozens of different religious orders, all dressed in their unique habits and prepared to talk to students about their spiritualities, communities and daily life. 

Many of the religious at the fair expressed their thankfulness for the opportunity to share about their vocation with students. The Rev. Angelus Montgomery, CFR, from the Community of Franciscans of the Renewal said, “It’s such a gift to be at Steubenville, to be in a place where people are open to God’s will and discerning. It’s one of the highlights of the year to be able to be here.” 

Montgomery wanted to clarify that the fair is “not a recruiting event. We’re here accompanying and supporting (the students). …We think our job is more to encourage young men and women to their discernment, to whatever that might be.” 

Another order present at the fair was the Sisters of the Holy Cross, also known as Opus Sanctorum Angelorum, represented by Sister Maria Sebia. The order is semi-contemplative with a special devotion to the angels along with their focus on the Holy Cross. 

“We never know who has the real call to the religious life,” said Sebia, summarizing the purpose of the Vocations Fair. “We just help them to find out their vocation, if they feel that God is calling them to it.” In fact, the sisters invited those who were not discerning religious life to various functions and events, and they provided information on their devotions to all who were interested. 

Bryan Calligan, senior, said that although he is not discerning religious life, he still thoroughly enjoyed the fair.  

“I was able to obtain a lot of information on some of the secular orders associated with the religious orders there,” said Calligan, “while also learning a lot about the brothers and sisters. Everyone was so nice, happy and willing to share a bit of their life with me.” 

Senior Nathan Allison, a member of the Priestly Discernment Program, said, “The Vocation Fair was fantastic this year. It’s always inspiring to see Franciscan alumni return representing a religious order.”