When Saint Mary Joseph Rossello was a girl, most parents carefully saved money as a dowry that was given to the daughter’s husband when she married, or to the religious order she joined as a nun or religious sister. Mary Joseph’s parents had many children and not much money, so it was very difficult for them to save any money at all. Mary Joseph wanted to enter a convent, but without a dowry, she couldn’t. She had to go to work. But her bishop knew she had a talent for teaching other girls religion, so he bought a house, turned two rooms into classrooms, and gave it to Mary Joseph and a few other women as a new order, the Institute of the Daughters of Mercy. For 40 years, Sister Mary Joseph led the order, and she always took in new sisters without requiring any dowry.
Dowries aren’t an issue for most women these days, but college debt can prevent a woman from joining a religious order, because all her debts must be paid before she enters. The Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations provides grants to women to cover their college debt so they can enter the community God has called them to. (They also help pay the debts of men called to become priests.) Today, please consider making a donation of any amount in honor of Saint Mary Joseph Rossello.