Categories: Student Loans

Nun of That: Student Loan Debt, Vocations, and Catholic Canon Law

The recent story of Alida Taylor is cautionary tale of all the unexpected obstacles that student debt can present to someone’s future. The short story is that Ms. Taylor completed an undergraduate degree in fashion and moved to New York City to become a Broadway costume designer. The longer story is that she questioned from an early age whether she wanted a marriage, career, and family, or to become a nun. After college and spending some time in the city, she began to return to the idea of becoming a nun and attended a Look and See function at the Sisters of Life convent.

However, student loans – a balance of $18,000 – prevented her from joining the convent as a postulant. Catholic vocations demand vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, with most religious communities having just enough to feed, clothe, and house their members, and carry out their mission. These communities make it clear that religious life is the only job they have, and as such can’t take on debt in order to fill their ranks, nor can those accepted to these jobs take outside work to pay off their debts. Nor should entering religious life be way to escape debt. Fortunately, Ms. Taylor’s GoFundMe page answered her prayers abundantly – even though GoFundMe took five percent off the top.

For others who aspire to religious life, there are other means to pay off debt and begin to follow their vocation. The Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations makes payments on the postulant’s student loans paying off the balance in full on the fifth anniversary of their final vows. If the student does not reach this milestone, then the student returns to making payments on the loans; there is no responsibility to repay Mater Ecclesiae for the loan payments made while in religious life. The Labouré Society also helps aspirants to raise funds and counsels them on how to responsibly retire their debt and then pay off the entire dent when they take their first vows about three years later.

As you can see, debt has unexpected consequences that can keep you from living and aspiring to a fulfilling life. When your debt becomes what defines you, what you do, and how you live, that’s not what you went to college for – is it? You went to college so that you could have a better life. No matter what you aspire to, managing your debt responsibly is a first step to getting there. Loan forgiveness, grants, and other forms of assistance are available to help you pay it down and put you on track to fulfilling your dreams. No matter what you want to do with the rest of your life, get some good advice on how to handle your debts.

All it takes is a phone call to set up free consultation and learn what options are open to you. We have offices in Fort Lauderdale, in West Palm Beach, and even have Saturday hours!

Published by
Chad Van Horn

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