My Vocation Story

About
The Labouré Society
Why are we needed?
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This is my
Vocation Story
There are an estimated 10,000 individuals discerning a priestly or religious vocation in the US annually
42% are blocked from pursuing this call due to educational loans*
The average vocational ‘aspirant’ in Labouré owes $45,000 in educational loans
Most religious communities cannot assume this debt
Most dioceses will allow some debt but have a limited threshold for acceptance
* (NRVC, Vision Study, 2010)
JESSICA BLAS
What have we accomplished?
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Operating since 2003
Over 255 assisted into formation to the priesthood or religious life
Over $3.2 million awarded, over 90% of aspirant funds received
A network of thousands of praying singles, families, religious, priests, & bishops
Efficient service: A modest staff of 3 employees in a donated office
How do we do it?
Our Aspirants:
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Discern a vocation & are accepted into a diocese or religious community
Are blocked from entering or continuing vocational formation due to student loans
Apply to Labouré & meet intake requirements
Are trained in ethical fundraising - empowered with practical tools, personal mentoring, & accountability
Share their vocation stories & participate in building a culture of vocations & evangelization
Raise funds for Labouré to benefit many vocations
Are awarded monthly payments towards their educational loans
Receive final award payout after 3 years & enter freely into a lifetime of priestly or religious service
The Labouré Society
• Works with each aspirant to ensure all personal means are utilized to mitigate the loan amount (loan consolidation, asset review, financial counseling, employment, etc.) prior to acceptance into
the program
• Trains each aspirant in biblically based philanthropy
• Forms a semi-annual ‘class’ of aspirants
• Mentors each aspirant building a unified team; each individual works toward the collective goal
• Provides ongoing accountability to ensure proper preparation & completion of personal fundraising plans
• Equips each aspirant with an online fundraising platform for real time donation processing, reporting, assessment of goals & class interaction, marketing & communications tools
• Facilitates ongoing communication & updates between aspirants & donors after formation entrance
• Manages aspirant award payments while they are in formation
• Completes award payout after 3 years active formation
BRIDGE
TO
How it Began My name is Jessica Blas. I was born in Guam, the second of three children. I grew up in a
predominantly Catholic family and community. My grandmother was one of the Christian Mothers who
led Rosaries at our parish. My mom and I would go with her to family residences to pray the Rosary for
the dead. I saw how selfless she was, freely giving of her time without expectation of payment (although
she was without any income). I grew up wanting to be like her.
My Faith As a child I participated in youth groups and other Church ministries, but as I grew older I
was occasionally teased for being so involved in the Church. They would say that I “might as well be a
nun.” I was offended at the suggestion because it was a life I’d never wanted for myself — I had always
envisioned a family, a husband, and children that I could love and nurture. I began distancing myself
from Church organizations, unwilling at that point to even consider life as a religious sister, let alone in a
cloistered monastery.
At 19, I left Guam. Preoccupied with school, work, friends, and family, I also fell away from the Church.
I began to believe the lie the world told me—that to be in service to the Church was not as important as
being successful. I thought I knew where my life was going and had become spiritually complacent.
Still, I always had the feeling something was missing; no matter how I tried to fill that void, I was unable
to find true happiness.
Some years later, I returned to Guam where I was
fortunate enough to hear an inspiring speaker at my
“I decided to reconcile with God through the
local parish. It was there I learned, for the first time
Sacrament of Confession. I prayed for Him to
ever, that God loved me as I was: He loved me as a
direct me on the path He wanted me to take.”
sinner. I decided to reconcile with God through the
–Jessica Blas
Sacrament of Confession. I prayed for Him to direct
me on the path He wanted me to take. Although I
thought I was open to His will, my prayers generally centered around asking for a husband to love me,
with whom I could have a family.
Having returned to the Church, I began attending World Youth Day pilgrimages (three in total). During
these pilgrimages I visited a number of monasteries, including a Carmelite monastery where the
sisters seemed to glow with a happiness I couldn’t explain. I wondered how these women, who lived
completely sheltered from the world, could be so happy.
MIRACLES
1365 Corporate Center Curve • SuitE 104 • Eagan, MN 55121 • LaboureSociety.org • 651-452-1160
The Labouré Society is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit and all donations are tax deductible. Gifts solicited by our aspirants belong to Labouré and are dispersed upon board
approved guidelines to ensure full compliance with IRS rulings. Aspirants who leave Labouré are not required to repay any funds disbursed but are strongly encouraged to support
Labouré however possible. Funds granted but not dispersed to a former aspirant are reallocated toward current or future aspirants according to the aforementioned guidelines.
LaboureSociety.org
BRIDGE
TO
MIRACLES
651-452-1160
Called to serve
The Winter Class of 2015
Discerning a Call I worked closely with the clergy while offering my services as a
graphic artist to the Church, and began speaking to them about serving as an itinerant
catechist or as a family in mission. Coming from a small island, I’d grown up with a
great desire to travel and to see the world. I expressed to some of the clergy my belief
that God wanted me to serve Him in this way.
The following year, I began attending monthly meetings with a pre-vocation group,
and was eventually invited to experience a month-long visit to a Carmelite cloistered monastery. I saw how truly
happy the sisters were to be brides of Christ. I began to realize this vocation may not be as lonely as I’d thought,
so I allowed myself to be open to the call. One night, during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, I changed my
prayer from asking Him to send me a husband to helping me to be open to His will, whatever it may be. It was
then that I knew the Lord was calling me to be His: I felt a joy and peace I had never felt before; I could hear His
call clearly; and I allowed myself to fall in love with God.
“...It was then that I knew the Lord was
calling me to be His: I felt a joy and peace
I had never felt before...”
Shortly after returning home from the monastery, I stumbled
across a bible verse which read: “But look, I am going to
seduce her and lead her into the desert and speak to her
heart.”(Hosea 2:16). After reading this, I felt that the call to
serve Him was sealed in my heart. He had truly seduced me
and I let myself go.
Why I’m writing
I am not only an aspirant to religious life; I am also a fundraiser for these vocations. A recent study confirmed
that nearly 1 out of 2 aspirants have student loans and thus most communities and dioceses cannot accept them. It
is the only thing that prevents many -including me- from entering formation to become a priest, brother, or sister.
I am seeking to raise the average student loan amount of $45,000 before June 30 for a non-profit that helps
aspirants like me — The Labouré Society. I will need donations from $10 – $10,000 to meet my goal for vocations.
I am blessed to have this opportunity to share my love for God, my vocation story, and to ask hundreds of
individuals to support vocations like mine by sharing our stories, remembering us in prayer, and financially
investing in our future.
At the end of my class, Labouré will issue awards based on individual effort and the funds available to Labouré.
They will administer the award while I am in formation over a three year period (you can learn more about the
program on the back of this letter). If I leave formation for any reason, I will resume my own payments. Plus,
every aspirant in Labouré has been accepted by their diocese or community and is required to work and liquidate
their assets to make their own maximum payments.
At the beginning of our class, I met and participated in intensive 3-day training with my classmates on the ethics
and spirituality of fundraising. We are learning practical skills that will help us now and in our future
vocations. We have also developed as a team to learn from and support each other. You can see our picture below.
Will you join our vocation journeys? Please partner with us and be part of my vocation team so we can answer
God’s call!
Called to Serve I feel that God is calling me to be His bride as a Discalced Carmelite Sister, and to serve the
mission of the Church in this way. My history is paved with the need to serve others by living in a community,
praying, contemplating, and serving the Church behind the scenes. Someone once said that the Carmelite is the
flag bearer of an Army. I wish to bear this flag and to offer my entire life to Him. In order to pursue this calling, I
have years of formation and training ahead of me.
Winter 2015 Class
to the
and
B R of
I DAspirants
GE TO
M Priesthood
IRACLE
S Religious Life
Invitation & Prayer At this time, one of the obstacles holding me back from living out my vocation is the
student loans incurrred while trying to obtain my degree. With your help, I, and other aspirants, can fulfill our
desire to answer God’s call. I invite you to participate in our stories. Through your prayers and your charitable
gifts, you can help make our vocations a reality.
Please pray for me as I continue on this journey to do His will in my life. If you would like to learn more, please
contact me at [email protected]
—Jessica Blas
BRIDGE
TO
MIRACLES
Our vocations story videos are online at: www.LaboureSociety.org