The Thomas More College of Liberal Art’s president, Jeffrey O. Nelson, announced today the establishment of two new funds that will, respectively, be used to pay off the student loans for graduates of the College who enter either a seminary or convent. The Saint John Vianney Fund for Future Priests and The Saint Mother Katherine Drexel Fund for Future Nuns have been set up amid recognition that a growing number of high-school graduates who have expressed an interest in either a priestly or religious vocation have been opting to attend government-funded state universities, with the hope of graduating debt-free.
President Nelson said: “Because most Catholic dioceses have adopted a ‘zero-debt’ policy, our Catholic youth who do go on to graduate from private institutions often have to delay entering a seminary or convent for many years, which means both they and the Church lose out on precious years of their service as ministers to the faithful. Others who choose a state institution, while they are likely not to have as large a level of debt as those who go to private colleges, are usually swamped in an alien environment that is hostile to their faith and does little in the way of preparing them for their forthcoming vocations. These two funds contribute to relieving both problems. By making this option available, the College can ensure that future priests and nuns are formed in the ancient great tradition of Christian humanism. To that end they will have acquired some wisdom and the competencies they will need to realize the promise of their vocation.”
Pointing to the declining number of priestly and religious vocations in the United States over the past forty years, President Nelson continued: “Institutions, like Thomas More College, have an obligation to assist in the intellectual and spiritual formation of young men and women who want to dedicate their lives to the Church. We also have a further duty, as a Catholic college, to make sacrifices of our own and guarantee that no vocation is ever lost because of fear of student debt. That is why these two funds have been established.”