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Does religious life have a future? Yes.

As the Church’s Year of Consecrated Life has just ended, it is worth reflecting on what has happened to religious life in general in Western countries over the past 50 years and whether it has a future. At first sight it is a rather grim picture. Many religious orders in the West are declining and ageing, but there’s actually plenty of good news as well. Those of us who entered religious life just after Vatican II will probably remember it in the words of Wordsworth after the French Revolution: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive”.