|Sister Xiskya Valladares, the "tweeting nun," takes a selfie with young people.|
The name of the Spanish website, buscoalgomas.com, translates to “I am looking for something more.” When users enter the site, a women immediately greets them by asking if they’ve ever considered religious life and says, “You may have a vocation without even knowing it.”
This is just one of the many ways Spanish convents are recruiting new members to religious life. They are also turning to Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media sites.
Many, such as Olga Maria, the prioress of the barefoot Carmelite convent in Valladolid in northeast Spain, seek to give young women alternative methods to discern. In 2012, she went to Rome to ask for permission to use social networks while recruiting young women as well as permission to let discerners join the convent for a trial period to see if it suited them. Since then, the convent’s popularity has grown considerably, with its Facebook profile receiving 8,000 likes and its Twitter account gaining 461 followers. It also uses WhatsApp to reply to young women’s questions about the discernment process.
In Mallorca, Spain, Sister Xiskya Valladares of iMisión has become famous as the “tweeting nun” and has almost 25,000 followers on Twitter. She says, “We have to be in touch with reality, and listen to people who are suffering, both existentially and materially. As Pope Francis says, 'The shepherd should smell of sheep.'”
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