We’ve all seen dating services where an online company is supposed to set you up with your soulmate. The funny and unexpected thing is that many do find the right person online.
VocationMatch.com gathers information from inquirers and then matches their profiles against the profiles of religious communities in its database. Inquirers are put in touch with the communities that best match their personal preferences and interests-in much the same way successful dating websites bring potentially compatible couples together.
Prior to the launch of VocationMatch.com those who felt called to religious life were faced with the daunting task of sifting through hundreds of community listings. Keyword searches helped but still didn’t offer insight to discerners on whether they would be more suited for the Benedictines or the Ursulines, the Jesuits or the Marists, for example.
The premise of the site is to match a person with a vocation which appeals to them. VocationMatch.com is attempting to give visitors a better sense of where they might be called and a narrower list of communities to contact.
Vocation directors are happy because the people contacting them already know a little bit about them and have shown interest. VocationMatch.com has the person go through basic questions to start with like choosing between living in a monastery or a house, ministering overseas or in a local community; being part of a large or small community; wearing a habit or religious symbol; or even praying with others once a day or several times a day?
According to their release, “In Vocation Match’s first year, reader profiles jumped from 1,503 to 5,591. This past year, Vocation Match drew in another 6,690 new (unique) visitors.”
In previous decades, many young people had extensive contact with priests, brothers, and nuns. Not so, anymore. So many young people don’t know a whole lot about the varied vocations out there. Patrice Tuohy, executive editor of VISION Vocation Guide, published by TrueQuest Communications of Chicago on behalf of the National Religious Vocation Conference, said, “With fewer Catholics being taught by religious sisters, brothers, and priests, exposure to those living in religious communities has declined but interest in religious life has actually increased in recent years…The internet has played a significant role in getting the word out about religious life. Now Vocation Match has taken things one step further by assisting discerners in sorting through large amounts of information in a more efficient and accessible way.”
Score one for the internet. 21st century solutions to the eternal questions.