The Future of Religious Orders in the United States: Transformation and Commitment

Citation: 
Nygren, David. The Future of Religious Orders in the United States: Transformation and Commitment. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993.
Abstract: 

Widely regarded as one of the finest studies of Catholic religious orders since the Second Vatican Council, The Future of Religious Orders in the United States: Transformation and Commitment provides an extensive account of David Nygren and Miriam Ukeritis's ground- breaking research. The first chapter poses the central question of the project: "What factors now must be addressed for religious life to remain vital in American society and the church?" The second chapter describes the process whereby religious who were identified as particularly visionary gathered to reflect on the future of religious life. Interviews with outstanding and typical leaders found that outstanding leaders work to achieve the goals of the group rather than focus on the problems of individuals. Exceptional leaders demonstrated strong motivation to achieve, a tendency to forestall problems before they occur, deep spirituality, and efforts to achieve consensus among their membership. Chapter four presents a wealth of statistical data gathered from the national survey of members of religious communities. Role clarity is the subject of the fifth chapter. Although most religious do experience a high level of role clarity, the fact that many, especially young women religious, do not, warrants concern. A number of strategies can help to address this problem. In chapter six, the authors present the results of surveys designed to compare religious identified as especially caring with a control group. In "Bridging the Gap," the final chapter, the authors identify eight issues that religious orders must address in order to survive: individualism and vocation, leadership, authority, work and corporate identity, affiliative decline and role clarity, racism and multiculturalism, materialism and the gospel, and charisms and parochial assimilation.

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