My Vocation Story

The Labouré Society
Why are we needed?
• • • • •
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)
What have we accomplished?
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?
How it Began My name is Maria Martinez, and I live in Chicago. I was born in Mexico and I am the
fourth of five children. I grew up in a Catholic family. One of my favorite childhood memories was when
my mom, in the month of May, would dress me up all in white and take me to church every evening to
offer flowers to the Blessed Mother. I will never forget the joy I felt when, at the end of each decade of the
Rosary, the children from our small town would present beautiful fresh flowers from our gardens to our
Lady. I felt so close to the Blessed Virgin and to Jesus. I had a feeling of always being protected.
Our Aspirants:
My Faith Since my early years my parents nourished my faith life. We would go to retreats, prayer
groups, and pray together as a family. I remember, as a twelve-year-old, praying in front of the Blessed
Sacrament. I will never forget what I promised to Him in a Eucharistic procession: “I will serve you for
the rest of my life. I don’t know how or what to do because I’m probably too young to understand, but
I will serve.” It wasn’t far from reality. When I requested my entrance to one of the church choirs, they
didn’t believe I was serious. I was determined though; nobody knew my promise, but I was to keep it.
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
1365 Corporate Center Curve • SuitE 104 • Eagan, MN 55121 • • 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.
As time went by my desire to serve Him continued to grow. Although immature, I was convinced that
what was in my heart was love. I wanted to give my all to Jesus. At that time, God’s voice inviting me to
follow Him was gentle. I believe that’s when my vocation began. At that point in time, my intention to
become a sister wasn’t much supported, so I became discouraged. Thoughts of becoming a religious
were postponed.
By the time I graduated from high school my faith life
was lukewarm. I was still involved in ministries, but
it wasn’t the same. I was letting the idea of becoming
“someone” in life distract me. Perhaps having
be loved by Him.”
a family someday would be nice, I thought; so I
–Maria Martinez
decided to pursue a career, which only led to a sense
of unhappiness and emptiness. That wasn’t a life for
me. I came to realize that the greatest purpose for our lives is to love and to be loved by Him. I decided to
go back to God and ask for forgiveness; I had forgotten my promise.
“I came to realize that the greatest
purpose for our lives is to love and to
My Vocation A new life had begun! The seed that God had placed in my heart as a young girl began
to flourish. The contemplation of a consecrated life was always going through the back of my head.
Everything started when one of the sisters forgot her purse in the store where I work. I took it back to
her, and the moment I stepped inside the doors of the convent I was absorbed by a profound peace. I had
found the place where I belonged. I felt at home, and I didn’t want to leave. My heart started burning
with a greater and intense desire to pursue this vocation.
Called to serve
The Winter Class of 2015
My experience reminds me of Zaccheus, the tax collector from the Gospel. He was
doing his job, not expecting Jesus to pass by that day and call him. He wanted to see
Jesus, but Jesus already knew him and said to him: “Come down immediately. I must
stay at your house today.” I find this passage in the Bible very moving. This is also
the invitation from the Lord to me; he wants to stay at my house. I realized I had an
encounter with someone that had already been waiting for me. Before we seek Him, He seeks for us.
Called to Serve I have spent time with the Missionaries of Charity – being in prayer in front of the Blessed
Sacrament, learning about their way of life, and the charism of the congregation. It has led me to put my whole
heart into it. Some of the apostolates include: visiting the sick, assisting the families and individuals in need, and
serving the poor. The mission is to work for the sanctification of the poorest of the poor wherever they may be
in the world. Something that resounds in my head is to: “Satiate Jesus’s thirst on the cross for souls.” I want to
quench Jesus’s thirst by doing spiritual works of mercy for the souls, and by taking the Gospel to the world by
preaching with my presence. My wish is to bring the allmerciful and loving Christ to all the people.
“...I have an obstacle to overcome — getting
rid of my student loan. I trust that God will
lead me in the right path. He will provide
workers for his vineyard.”
I’m very excited about becoming one of the daughters of
Mother Teresa, as are the sisters in having me join them. But,
I have an obstacle to overcome — getting rid of my student
loan. I trust that God will lead me in the right path. He will
provide workers for his vineyard.
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!
Prayer and Invitation I invite you to please pray for everyone that has listened to the voice of God inviting
them to follow Him. I pray that everyone that hears the call may be open to the Divine Will. I entrust myself to
your prayers.
If you want to learn more, feel free to contact me at [email protected]
Winter 2015 Class
to the
B R of
I DAspirants
M Priesthood
S Religious Life
May God bless you and your loved ones, and the Blessed Mother protect you!
– Maria Martinez
Our vocations story videos are online at: