Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo


11/6/2009 (6 years ago)

Catholic News Agency (

'It is an unexpected boom in vocations when the Jesuits have just 20 novices in all of Spain, the Franciscans, five, and the Vincentians, two'.



Catholic News Agency (

11/6/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in Vocations

MADRID, Spain (CNA) - A 43 year-old prioresses has revolutionized an old Poor Clares convent in Spain, turning it onto a magnet for dozens of young professional women.

Sister Veronica joined the Poor Clares Convent of the Ascension founded in 1604 in Lerma (Spain) at at time when it was going through a vocations crisis. It was January 22, 1984, and Marijose Berzosa - Sr. Veronica's name prior to entering the convent - decided, at age 18, to leave behind a career in medicine, friends, nightlife and baketball.

"Nobody understood me. There were bets that it would not last, but they did not feel the force of the hurricane that drew me in," says Sr. Veronica. "I was a classic teenager looking for a way out ... and I made a decision in just 15 days."

Sr. Veronica joined the convent which had not seen a new vocation in nearly 23 years.

Sr. Pureza de Maria Lubian, 70, now abbess of the convent in Burgos, was her formation director and remembers her Sr. Veronica as "a lovely girl."

"Very noble and very good," recalls Sr. Puerza de Maria. Sr. Vernoica "was 18 and had a future. She left everything. She followed the call of God. She had a rich personality. She was always a leader. And, spiritually, she had a great vocation."

Sr. Puerza de Maria also notes that though Sr. Veronica faced many "struggles and difficulties," she perservered and submitted to God's plan for her life.

The Spanish daily El Pais, one of the newspapers most sympathetic to the current Socialist government's campaign against the Catholic Church in Spain, could not resist publishing an extensive report on Sr. Veronica.

According to the newspaper, she "has become the biggest phenomenon in the Church since Teresa of Calcutta," as "she has made the old convent of Lerma into an attractive recruiting banner for female vocations, with 135 professional women with a median age of 35 and 100 more on a waiting list." The paper adds that Sr. Vernoica has also "opened a house in the town of La Aguilera, 24 miles from Lerma, at a huge monastery donated by her Franciscan brothers."

"It is an unexpected boom in vocations when the Jesuits have just 20 novices in all of Spain, the Franciscans, five, and the Vincentians, two. And it's happening at a time when nuns are being imported from India, Kenya or Paraguay to prevent the closure of convents inhabited by elderly nuns, and when most of our priests are above the age of 60," the report indicated.

On weekends the convent welcomes hundreds of pilgrims: families, young members of ecclesial movements and church groups arrive in buses to attend the prayers, theatrical plays and talks on fully living the Christian life.

According to El Pais, the majority of the young sisters who have been attracted to the cloister "have been in relationships and had careers." The women are strong in their knowledge of theology, and are "urban and educated."

In addition, "None are immigrants. There are five sisters from the same family, eleven pairs of blood sisters and a few twins. Most are from the middle class. And they have college degrees. This community offers a complete roster of lawyers, economists, physicists and chemists, roadway engineers, industrial workers, agricultural workers and aeronautics engineers, architects, doctors, pharmacists, biologists and physical therapists, librarians, philologists, teachers and photographers."

One of the sisters in the community interviewed by El Pais defines the cloister as "an house open to those who knock on our door. We want to share our faith, to make known what is happening to us. And if they see Jesus in us, go ahead. Spain is so pagan that we need to share our faith, not live it alone. It is time to act."

The growth of the cloister since the arrival of Sister Veronica has been explosive: in 1994, when she was appointed mistress of novices at the age of 28, nearly 30 sisters entered. In 2002 there were 72, in 2004, there were 92. In 2005, the number rose to 105. Late last September there were 134.

Originally in a 16th century convent built to accommodate 32, the sisters are being leased the monastery of La Aguliera by the Franciscan Friars of Lerma. It is located adjacent to the sanctuary and the tomb of St. Peter Regalado.

The monastery is quickly being renovated to provide a modern, functional and well-lit space, with energy obtained through solar panels.

The new monastery has 100 cells, each with bed, table and kneeler, while a parlor with a capacity of 400, a hospice, bathrooms for visitors, and a new chapel are currently being constructed.

Recently, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher of the Papal Household, preached to 140 Poor Clares in Lerma. The visit by the Italian Capuchin was broadcast by the RAI network (Italian Radio and Television) in prime time in Italy


Founded in continued response to Pope John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization,” the Catholic News Agency (CNA) has been, since 2004, one of the fastest growing Catholic news providers to the English speaking world.


More Vocations

Mark Wahlberg loves priests and prays for vocations! Watch

Image of


Movie star, Mark Wahlberg has released a video letting the public know how important the priesthood is to him and his life and he will be praying for vocations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's no secret that Mark Wahlberg is a devout Catholic and loves his ... continue reading

'Listen to him': Young postulant urges others to heed God's calling Watch

Image of Will YOU answer the call?

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Many things happen during World Youth Day. Young people from all over the world travel to meet the Pope, they meet peers with whom they can share their faith, many have personal conversions and many even discover their vocations. Krakow, Poland (CNA/EWTN News) - In ... continue reading

A Look Inside: 'The World's Happiest Nuns' Watch

Image of

By Diego Lopez Marina (CNA/EWTN News)

Watch them sing, and you might be convinced of it. Cali, Colombia (CNA/EWTN News) - The Eucharistic Communicators of the Heavenly Father are a community of nuns from Colombia who have a great passion for music and an intense desire to announce God through the gifts he ... continue reading

Nun numbers on the rise - Young women flock to the church Watch

Image of More young women have joined the religious life (fiathouse).

By (CNA/EWTN News)

There is a young and vital presence of religious sisters, novices and postulants in U.S. Catholic life, a new survey has found. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious has released its latest survey of its 120 member ... continue reading

Friars inspired to take pilgrimage after viewing Hollywood drama 'The Way' Watch

Image of Friars begin 478-mile pilgrimage on foot across United States (@friarsonfoot/Twitter).


Dominican Fathers Francis Orozco and Thomas Schaefgen were inspired to make a 478-mile pilgrimage from New Orleans to Memphis, Tenn. entirely on foot and without a single dollar between them. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fathers Francis Orozco, of the Catholic ... continue reading

'A sign of the love of God': Why nuns wear religious habits Watch

Image of

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

As Pope Francis' year dedicated to consecrated life comes to a close, one nun shared her thoughts on the how her religious garb serves as a "visible sign" that God exists and loves every person. Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - Though the official Year for Consecrated ... continue reading

LISTEN NOW: Benedictine nuns release new album Watch

Image of Nuns record new album to promote faith (Churchpop).


Benedictine nuns in Missouri recently released their latest album <i>Adoration at Ephesus</i> - and it is amazing! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mother Cecilia, the prioress of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, told <a ... continue reading

A powerful MUST-READ call for prayers of priestly vocations Watch

Image of Bishop Mark O'Toole asks to pray for priestly vocations (Mazur).


Bishop Mark O'Toole, the Bishop of Plymouth, has called for a prayer of priestly vocations in a pastoral letter, which was read in all parishes across the diocese earlier this month. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The letter was simple and read: "To encourage an ... continue reading

'Chosen, don't forget this. Chosen!:' Pope Francis sends amazing message to priests Watch

Image of Pope Francis calls for prayer to bring more young men to priesthood vocations (@franciscus/Instagram).


On the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis ordained eleven men into the priesthood at St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday - then had plenty to say on the subject. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis spoke to the newly ... continue reading

'He will be sorely missed:' Missing Florida priest's body found in Georgia Watch

Image of Florida priest Rev. Rene Robert's body was discovered in Georgia (actionnewsjax).


Church officials reported a Florida priest went missing last week. After following a trail of clues, investigators believe they found Rev. Rene Robert's body in Georgia. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When church officials noticed Rev. Robert missed a funeral in ... continue reading

All Vocations News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:32--5:8
32 Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:10-17
10 One Sabbath day he was teaching in one of the synagogues,11 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2016 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was ... Read More