First to Serve

Ann M
I read ‘contemplative prayer’ & found it so inspirational. It taught me how to pray & be with Him. I read this, at a time, when there were many confusions in my mind about my spiritual life and it brought me an inner peace and interest to pray. thank you sisters
Very well written!! You had a lot of thought put into that short article. I had never given that history much thought but so true. There are so many options now for women that were only available through religious life previously. Times surely do change things.
Thank you!
Sr. Diane
I am glad to receive all your newsletter, but only have time to comment on this last one – First to serve. I think that you expressed very well a real reason why there are fewer religious now than in former days. To add my own thoughts, many of the options open to women today are very dedicated “vocations”. If women do not see much difference in religious communities in contrast to what is available as lay persons, they may not see the reason to become a religious. However, our vocation does not lie only in the “work we do”, but in an offering of our whole life to God as consecrated persons. Thank you for your insights.
What a beautiful article! I have always said that all sisters are a hidden treasure in our church but you have just broadened that belief into the community and country. I am grateful for your service and your prayers.
On vocations — very good newsletter “First to serve” — the problems are deeper and greater than you say. I think that we are in a new spiritual age — the changes of the 20th century changed everything really — all those medical and scientific developments, the advance in women’s rights and power, the prosperity and information-saturated world of Europe and America etc The answer is to do what we do not want to do — we must appeal to the women whom we did not call to before — which means we may have to change to survive — we have to become the best publicists for God’s love, publicity was never the task before, it was done by others. Each congregation must produce a high profile sister (like the examples you mention) to get the image and message to the ones who will grow when they hear — also, perhaps we need to accept in love affiliations and secondments from religious women in other churches (perhaps short term, a new possiblity of outreach and building love in the world), serving together in a sisterly task, supporting our charism, and building love, surely this is the way — the empowerment and strength of Mary was Jesus’s great gift
When I first met my husband’s Aunt 45 years ago, who was an IHM nun, Sister Cyprian, and saw her dressed in a habit, I was impressed with her dedication, kindness and warmth. Now, our Pastoral Administrator in Vassar, Sr. Ellen Rinke, is also an IHM nun, no longer dressed as years ago, but still the dedication, kindness and warmth. Time changes the small stuff, but faith grows and may not seem as evident by the numbers in our view, but we are only a small part of God’s world. What a blessing for us for those who use the gifts they have been given and said yes!
Thanks for the thoughtful reflection on the reasons for fewer responses to religious vocations of women. I think its emphasis on what our forebears have given women of today is better expressed than I’ve seen elsewhere. I also think many of us (more appropriate for apostolic-contemplative communitiers) don’t choose first-hand contact with young women, and that, besides a habit of prayer, is THE key toward their thinking seriously of being a Sister. Some communities also are not choosing daily community living together. As one of my discerners put it, “After I saw how they were living, I realized that there was no daily difference in that mode of life than the one I was now living, and decided for a Community called me to live a daily community life.”
I think you make a valid point. I remember two of the sisters I had in 1st thru 4th grade. Even then I knew they were so young. They taught during the school year and went to school to get their teaching degree during the summer. If it weren’t for the order they joined ‘ (Grand Rapids Dominicans) they probably wouldn’t have gotten their training. They both died a few years ago but I remember them with love to this day.Besides wanting an education they also wanted to serve God and for them it meant joining a religious community. Yes, there are many strong women out there today who are faith filled people who do not join a community. But for those who are struggling with this question I will continue to hold them in my prayers.