Is poverty a hindrance?

poor-18749_640Having worked in the vocations ministry for a number of years, I have witnessed the different realities of the young people who are in contact with us.  Being beset by poverty had much influence in the choices and decisions of many girls belonging to poor families.  Some had no dignified house to live in, no possessions to hold onto and no securities to lean on… Some could hardly access any education and if they had an opportunitiy to finish their studies, their concern was to help alleviate their family’s condition.  Their parents’ responsibilities as the breadwinner was passed onto them.  They were expected to look after the schooling of their younger siblings and to willingly, if not forced, carry the burden of raising the family.  The debt of gratitude was strongly inculcated in their minds that they had to pay back, at all costs, what they had received.

At the beginning of their contact with us, the Daughters of Divine Zeal, the girls enthusiastically expressed their desire to be a religious but as time went by, many so easily changed their decision, especially when job opportunities were offered to them.  These ones then forgot the desire of entering the convent.  They reasoned: “How can I enjoy life and have peace of mind in the convent when my family is suffering?”; “Anyway, charity starts at home”; “I can be a missionary in my own home”; “I can serve God by serving my family”; “My family is my priority”…  and other endless justifications, which are all valid.  On the other hand, I have often heard the statement that ‘poverty is not a hindrance’ and with this I am caught in a dilemma.  Is poverty not really a hindrance to the Religious Life?  What do you say?

Sr Marivella Condez, fdz

Image source: Poor Box by Julie Gentry

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