I note with interest that Vocations Ireland (an umbrella body which promotes the vocation of religious men, women and missionary congregations in Ireland) is organising two weekends for interested vocations directors in late August and early September on the 'Ferdinand' model of promotion. These weekends will take place in the Emmaus Retreat Centre in Swords, Co. Dublin.
The 'Ferdinand' model is based on the work of the Benedictine sisters in Ferdinand, Indiana, USA who spend much energy and time in promoting vocations through prayer, direct contact, marketing, communications and other methods - with a great deal of success.
Many Irish congregations, male and female, have sent delegations to Ferdinand over the past number of years to learn how these sisters have been approaching this awakening of vocations to their form of life. The experience, I know, has been valuable, but the translation of the success of the Ferdinand sisters has not always been easy to replicate in the Western European context. I am delighted then to hear that two of the sisters from Ferdinand will be leading these weekends in Dublin. I look forward to attending them in the hope that we can learn from each others experience.