Over the years, we have identified some skills and traits that are helpful to religious life. These include:
- strong self-esteem,
- effective communication skills,
- an ability to compromise,
- willingness to address conflict,
- tolerance of differences and imperfections,
- positive self-care,
- and a heart for forgiveness and gratitude.
These skills will stand a person in good stead in any walk of life, and they are particularly important to foster and strengthen community living that is at the heart of religious life. For all of us, personal growth is a lifetime project. Along with our efforts to grow in spirituality and in apostolic generosity, we also seek to grow as well-rounded, mature human beings. We seek to grow into all that God intended for us to be.
As you ponder your vocation, ask yourself if you have these skills and traits and if your desire growth in them. This may help you to understand your capacity to live in a community with others in religious life, or in any other community.
Alive in Oneness with Christ and all creation, the theme for Sister Sally Koch’s first vows was “We are Parts of the Whole” and indeed the community that gathered virtually and physically for Sally’s vows represented parts of the whole. She was surrounded by her Porter Ranch, California community and congregational delegate Sr. Kathy Stein. Family members and friends from the many organizations she has been a part of throughout her life and sisters who have been a part of her formation all gathered mostly virtually for a ceremony that called us to Love greater and wider in our world that is hurting.
Her ceremony on July 18 included readings from Colossians, Sue Monk Kidd, Joyce Rupp, and Nan C. Merrill. Kathleen Patrice “KP” Sullivan, CSJ gave the reflection followed by a bread breaking liturgical prayer.
read Sister KP’s reflection
Sally made the religious vows of chastity, the vow that calls us to honest self-expression and inclusive right relationships; poverty, the vow to hold all things lightly; and obedience, the vow of listening deeply according to the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.
Sally has been deeply touched and grateful to everyone who has sent their love, affirmations, and support through all of the cards, greetings, and emails.
Catholic Sisters in communities around the world are reporting growing evidence of a rise in hunger and vulnerability to human trafficking – and they want to be part of an effective, coordinated response.
Sisters are uniquely placed to address the most pressing issues affecting people in poor communities due to the pandemic because they are already at the center of healthcare, education, and community development efforts worldwide.
I would like to share an article about one of my ‘firecracker’ sisters. Just one of the amazing women I’m honored and privileged to call ‘my sister’ in our community.
Sr. Rosemary Flanigan has been called “ethics in action” and a “force of nature.” Both monikers have been appropriate for more than 50 years.
As a young nun in the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, she flew with five other sisters from St. Louis, Missouri, to Selma, Alabama, in March 1965 to participate in a voting rights march. Read more….
We are living through extraordinary times. I am reminded of the beginning of Dickens’s book: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We are facing a pandemic, an economic meltdown, social unrest, violence, and injustice against people of color and against immigrants. As people of faith, we are called to live with an extraordinary commitment to the gospel.
As Sisters of St. Joseph, we are called to reach out to others, whom we call our ‘dear neighbor’. There is no stranger for a Sister of St. Joseph. There are only dear neighbors to whom we reach out in prayer, kindness, and service. We have been asked to wear face coverings. In some regions and organizations, we are mandated to wear masks. We have learned that our masks provide limited protection to the wearer and substantial protection to the dear neighbor whom they encounter. Public health professionals tell us that we are all interconnected. The health of all is interconnected. Public health official echo the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph: we are all Dear Neighbors. So I am wearing a mask for the dear neighbor.
Stay safe and healthy!