(Silver Spring, MD – January 18, 2002) - The lives of sisters, priests and brothers are inspiring to a large majority of young adult Catholics, yet elements of religious life are not well understood, are two important findings of the Image Project Study, set to be released January 29. This release comes just prior to the World Day for Consecrated Life, February 3, 2002.

 Co-sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the study of young adult Catholics’ perceptions of religious life was commissioned as part of the Conferences’ goals to promote a realistic, positive and vibrant image of religious life. “LCWR and CMSM needed to know what perceptions exist out there so we can support accurate assumptions and address misconceptions,” stated Judy Cannon, RSM, LCWR Interim Executive Director. “We are both surprised and challenged by the results of the survey, and will be using the findings to guide us in raising public awareness of the reality of religious life today,” indicated Ted Keating, SM, CMSM Executive Director.

 The study was conducted by sociologist Dean Hoge, Ph.D, of Catholic University. Research was done with a target group of young adult Catholics ages 18-39. The findings were gathered using both a telephone survey of 750 individuals and a series of focus groups in the Washington, DC area and in the Midwest.