Surveys were sent to 742 religious institutes in the spring of 2022. CARA conducted extensive follow-up to achieve a high response rate. Altogether, we received completed responses from 443 religious institutes for a response rate of 60%.
February 2, 2023
On this World Day of Consecrated Life, as part of our celebration of those who have made a vowed commitment to embody Jesus' Good News in world today, the Conference is pleased to share with members a new report on formation programs in the United States.
Last year we partnered with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to study formation programs in religious life in the U.S. The study looked at the following components:
- characteristics of responding religious institutes,
- initial formation programs,
- ongoing (lifelong) formation programs, and
- the professional preparation of formators.
CARA sent surveys to a total of 742 religious institutes in the spring of 2022 and then conducted extensive follow-up by e-mail to achieve a high response rate. Altogether, CARA received completed responses from 443 religious institutes for a response rate of 60%.
We are grateful to all the religious institutes of women and men who took the time to complete the survey and give the Conference valuable data on emerging trends and best practices in formation ministry today.
As a member of the RFC, we would like to share the findings and datasets with you for your congregation's benefit. In addition to the full report from CARA, including the executive summary of major findings on pages 1-6, we've also created a Survey Snapshot with an overview of the most salient points raised by the data.
Our hope is that both the CARA/RFC Formation Report and the Survey Snapshot provide valuable information about how religious institutes in the U.S. are forming members for mission in today's context.
- What do the characteristics of the religious institutes that responded tell us about the reality of religious life and formation ministry today?
- What topics surfaced as most important to those in initial formation? Ongoing formation?
- What topics did religious institutes find missing from formation curriculum?
- What does the report surface about the status of congregations working together (intercongregationality) in formation?
The data in this study inform the questions above - and many others - by providing valuable input into assessing formation needs and best practices. Please find attached above the complete CARA/RFC Formation Report and the Survey Snapshot for your review and reference. If communities are interested in delving into the datasets themselves, they are located toward the end of the report.
Thank you to CARA for partnering with us to surface key data about formation programs among Catholic religious institutes in the U.S.