Churches worried about fall in number of nuns
(Indian Express; Thursday November 1 2007)
KOCHI: Very few young Christian women in the state now dream of walking down the aisle as a bride of Jesus. The number of women who want to dedicate their lives to the service of Jesus by becoming nuns is dwindling.
An apparent lack of interest in spiritual service in the young generation, the obsession of parents about their childrens future and the increase in number of religious congregations have all contributed to the serious problem faced by churches in Kerala.
The fall in numbers has affected dioceses all over the country as Malayalis constitute 75 percent of the total number of nuns in India.
As the states young women eye higher education and promising careers outside the sphere of religious service, churches in the state have turned their attention to the Malabar region, especially Thalassery and Mananthavadi. Vocation camps are being held here during June-July after SSLC and Plus-Two results are published to familiarise young people with the ways of a spiritual life.
"We do not compel anyone to join. This is a lifelong vocation and the choice should be theirs. The problem is that not many parents want their daughters to spend their lives as nuns," says Sr Leena, secretary of the Conference of Religious Indias (CRI) Kerala region.
The number of congregations in the state has gone up to 154 in recent years.
Almost half of them are of European origin, and it was the fall in number of European novices that prompted these orders to establish their houses here.
C S Samuel, Kumarakom