I normally try not to read The National Catholic Reporter. Part of it is due to the fact that it has such stalwart defenders of the faith as Sr. Joan Chittister and Bishop Gumbleton and Joe Feuerherd (just kidding), and part of it because I like to keep my blood pressure normal.
I stumbled across a series of articles called Young Voices. This week's article, by Kate Childs Graham, discusses the current visit of Mother Mary Clare Millea, ASCJ. As you would expect, Miss (or is it Ms. or Mrs.) welcomes this visit and explains that she too wanted to be a nun. But lo and behold, she is not a nun. Why? As she says:
You see, my discernment to religious life was inextricably linked with my guilt and self-reproach in discovering my identity as a lesbian woman.
However, it was not only coming to terms with my sexual orientation that steered me away from becoming a woman religious, it was also the inherent sexism I saw in our church.
In the spirit of full disclosure, you will be glad to know that while I still try to heed my call to lead a religious life, God has guided me toward my call to married life. My partner, Ariana, and I have now been married just shy of six months. I do wish that one day both women and men religious who feel a call to religious life but not to celibate life will be able to fully heed their call. (Now you know why I offered three different prefixes for her.)
Nope. It isn't because of New Age practices entering into our religious orders. It isn't because of changes in sexual mores in the US. It isn't because of poor religious instruction in Catholic schools or even the failure of us to pray like we should for religious vocations. It isn't because many of our religious feel that it is "all about me" and not "all about God."
Nope. It is because of the inherent sexism in the Church.
So you see Mother Mary Clare Millea, ASCJ, there is no need for you to travel around the US asking questions. (Sister what's her name will not need to worry about even inviting you into the parlor.) No need for you to attempt to determine why orders that are faithful to the Magisterium have an increase in vocations, while those who are not, are seeing their numbers slowly shrink.
You got your answer from Kate Childs Graham. She knows. She knows first hand.
As my mother would say: God give us strength.