I know I am not the only vocation director that receives many contacts from overseas. In fact, in a recent meeting of a few of us in this ministry, we easily told each other how many emails we receive asking to join our community. Sometimes I will reply, other times I just delete them. It depends on where they are from and from the content of the email (i.e. Sincerity of questions, not a cut-and-paste email that goes to every US community and Order).
Here is the reality for those who contact us from other countries: we cannot help you discern with us unless you have citizenship in the US or are already physically in the Unites States. We cannot fly you to the US to go to a Come and See. If you can get here on your own and have a college degree, then we can consider you for admission. Short of that, we are wasting your time. The only exception to this rule is if you are already an ordained priest or a solemnly professed member of a religious order.
I understand that it is often more difficult to enter religious life in other countries, especially in Africa, where the faith is alive and vocations are plentiful, but communication is often more difficult. They usually have a longer screening process and postulancy to filter out authentic vocations from those seeking a different social class. We don’t want to say it in polite company, but there are many who seek to enter priesthood and religious life to climb the social ladder. This is antithetical to the authentic vocation that seeks to wash the feet of the poorest of the poor and proclaim the good news to the richest of the rich. We do both of these acts, and everything in between, from a different place: from the heart of the Savior.
It is not easy saying no to foreign vocations, but in a post 9/11 world, it is just the reality with which we have to deal. If you have an authentic vocation, keep seeking and asking. God will not be thwarted in bringing you to life and ministry in the place you belong.