2019 grant recipient candidates to religious life 

Francis Nguyen​

Why I chose this religious institute?

I chose to enter the Salesians of the Eastern USA province because I saw the joy and family spirit that pervaded the whole house when I came for a Come and See weekend. I felt like I would be able to be myself in the house with the men in formation, which was and is still really important to me.


Salesians of Don Bosco, New Rochelle, NY

Jennifer Frazer

What I love about the Catholic Church

There are a thousand ways to be Catholic ; and the history of the Church is fascinating - whatever the problem, someone's already thought deeply about it.

Benedictine Sisters, Erie, PA

Wayne Mulei

What surprised you most about religious life?

I am surprised that the tradition that started over 800 years ago with Saint Francis is still alive and well. While studying the life of St. Francis I am constantly amazed how God worked though Francis to bring people to salvation. By staying open to God’s grace, and developing a strong relationship with Jesus, St. Francis’ life became like a living prayer. I see friars doing that today and it is inspirational.

Conventual Franciscan Friars, Castro Valley, CA

Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN

Katie Connolly

Undergraduate and graduate degrees

BS Wildlife Ecology and Biology, MS Natural Resources


Major(s) and/or Field(s) of Study

BS Wildlife Ecology and Biology (emphasis in Research and Management), MS Natural Resources (emphasis in Environmental Education)


My first paying job

Lifeguard at the local YMCA


My favorite job

Naturalist at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, MN

Catherine "Katie" Rotterman

What I’d like to say to benefactors who support the National Fund for Religious Vocations

Thank you so much. Without your help I would likely have spent the next decade paying off my student loans, waiting anxiously for that last obstacle to leave. Your support is truly a gift from the Lord and please know of my prayers for you and those who make your support possible.

Felician Sisters of North America, Beaver Falls, PA

Sisters of Christian Charity, Mendham, NJ

Sr. Mary Amata Reifsnyde

What drew you to religious life?

Despite encouragement from a priest in high school, I was convinced that religious life was not for me. Nonetheless, I began to experience the unshakable feeling that I was called to more. Seeing the examples of parish priests and sisters along the way, I came to realized that I wanted what they had. That is, I desired the kind of joy that comes from God alone and manifests itself through a lifetime of self-sacrificing love.

Chelsey Sanchez​

What would you tell someone considering a religious vocation but unsure what steps to take or how to tell if it is really for them?

In the Gospels, Jesus is always assuring His disciples to not be afraid. I think that’s advice anyone discerning a religiousvocation to take seriously. Have courage to follow Jesus’s call and say “yes!” The only desire God has for you is to behappy. If you are truly called to a religious vocation, you will be happy.


Salesian Sisters, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, San Antonio, TX

Catherine Nicosia

Tidbit or fun fact about me

I can sing the Alphabet backwards!

Vocation aspirations/How I hope to make a difference

To make the nursing home residents (and their families) feel the Love of Christ, and to see Christ in them and in the other sisters.

Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, Germantown, NY

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Phone: 773-595-4028