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Below are selected quotes from press coverage that VocationsPlacement has received.

  • "...inside, the monastery is coming to life, as it does every day by 3:30 a.m. White-robed Trappist monks file into church.... 'O Lord, open my lips,' one intones.... 'And my mouth will declare your praise,' reply the others.... Their chant, from the 51st Psalm, follows instruction laid down 1,500 years ago by St. Benedict. But there is something new here, too: a handful of other Roman Catholic men joining the monks in their prayers and work....Those guests -- college students, a man training to be a civil engineer, a bus driver and others -- are here because Holy Trinity [Abbey in Utah] has engaged a publicity woman, herself a Catholic who calls the effort 'a labor of love,' to place notices in college newspapers, church newspapers and parish bulletins, advertising three-day 'come and see' retreats in an effort to reach those who might feel a call to monastic life." The New York Times, January 13, 2001, front page.
  • "She has managed to send us some increasingly better qualified retreatants... It is always initially hard to get something new going, but now we have a certain momentum... I have found [Natalie Smith] totally dedicated to her ministry and someone who is extremely competent in her profession as a publicist... She is always coming up with new ideas and angles and approaches to explore; she is easy to work with and is genuinely dedicated to this ministry." Fr. Charles Cummings, Holy Trinity Abbey (Huntsville, Utah), Our Sunday Visitor, May 6 2001.
  • "Now paid a minimum wage, and with several volunteers around the country working with her, Smith's work life is quite different from the days when she was making nearly $200,000 annually with a Chicago-based marketing company. But she said she is content using her God-given gifts -- which is more satisfying than managing a big career. "We need concepts that enhance people's perceptions of religious life as an exciting, joyful adventure,' Smith said. 'Our emphasis is not on what people are giving up, but on what they are gaining, which is God.'.... Smith said she is using a system of marketing concepts, repetition and hard work that she learned from several former employers, she added. The first thing she recognized was the challenge of the 'age obstacle'; it might be difficult to attract new members to a religious community that resembled a retirement community....But once a few new young people join a convent or monastery, it isn't such an issue, Smith speculated. 'It should have never gotten to this point, and now we are at the crisis stage... We are experiencing a major depression in vocations, and the only way to get out of it is to consolidate into one effort, one central networking system with everyone's efforts supporting it.'" Our Sunday Visitor, May 5 2001
  • "'It's hard to hear God's call sometimes,' [Brother Alberic of Holy Spirit Monastery in Georgia] said. 'Being here and just listening to the silence can make it easier.'.... Until recently, the monastery didn't actively seek new monks, said Natalie Smith, head of a 50-member group of Trappist Catholics in Coral Springs, Fla., that's sending the men on [vocational retreats].... 'We like to think they answer the call of God, not an ad in the newspaper,' Smith said. 'We're just helping people hear that call'." Atlanta Constitution Journal
  • "Michael Cunningham, a mental-services worker from Johnson City, Tenn., took part in the November retreat and told the Catholic News Service that he highly recommended the experience.... 'Personally, this living experience was made available for me at just the right time,' he said. 'I'd been wanting to visit Gethsemani [Abbey in Kentucky] for quite some time, and I really enjoyed the week.' Bother Gerlac [of Gethsemani Abbey] said that Smith's efforts are adding to the number of people inquiring about life at the monastery every year.... 'We have perhaps a couple hundred people asking for information every year,' he said. 'Natalie's program is adding about 50 people a year to that list, so far, and they're people we haven't heard from before'." The Record, February 15 2001
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