October 14, 2013

Janet Hopper said that when she started as a novice at the Society of the Sacred Heart, she thought, "This is completely mad." She had never imagined herself as a religious.

Growing up, she felt she was "too independent and mischievous."She liked soccer and music too much.

But, when she met sisters from the Society of the Sacred Heart, she felt that she fit in. "Something clicked," she said.

Hopper, 33, is one of three novices who joined the society in England and Wales last year. Before that, no one had joined for 15 years.

The bump in interest illustrates a national trend. The number of people entering religious orders is at its highest level in England and Wales for 17 years.

The figure has grown from 19 in 2004 to 64 last year.

The increase does not seem to be matched in the rest of Western Europe.