"Sometimes it can appear that our programs are not as demanding or stringent as in the past, but I think in terms of actual awareness, our young women have a much broader picture of Catholicism," says Elizabeth Lambertus, a former nun who chairs the religion department. "These young women are allowed to come to their own conclusions, but my position is to present the teachings of the church, whether or not they want to hear it."
Michael Livingston thought he heard the call to the priesthood while serving as a St. Wenceslaus altar boy. His older brother, Arden Jr., already was at St. Mary's, a Redemptorist seminary high school in North East, Pa., and Michael was going to go, too.
"I wasn't forced into it, but once I decided, Mom and Dad were so happy, I saw that gleam in their eye," he says. "A 13-year-old probably doesn't know what's involved, but 'Father Mike' sounded nice to me."
After graduating from the 12th grade, the lure of girls and cars and having fun began speaking more strongly to Michael than studying Latin and the Gospels. Arden already had quit the seminary, and his little brother wasn't looking forward to breaking more bad news at home.
"For one whole week after graduating, all I thought about was 'Do I really want to go through with it? Should I do it to make them happy?' I probably cried when I told Mom," he says. "She was hoping one of us would do it. Back then, everybody wanted a priest in the family."
Now, Mrs. Livingston prays that the Roman Catholic Church will sustain her family once she's gone and that her grandchildren will teach the faith to their children.
"It's something you don't have control over, but I hope they carry it," she says. "They've all been brought up to carry it, to do the right thing."