One of the most popular questions that Vocation Ministers are asked is, "What is the daily life of a Sister like?" Serious discerners are also interested in knowing what it's like living in a particular community of Sisters? How do you pray? What are the community and vocation stories that Sisters share among themselves and with others? To help women in serious discernment with the Dominican Sisters of Peace gain more insight into these questions, we offer them a "mini-immersion experience" among some of our Sisters in mission. Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity of traveling with two discerners, LaKesha and Helen, to visit some of our Sisters and mission sites in New Haven, CT, and Watertown, MA. It was a whirlwind visit, but an enriching experience for both the discerning women and the Sisters.
You may have heard the expression, "It takes a village to raise a child." The thought acknowledges that a child's development is not only influenced by parents. The extended family and other relationships also impact their growth. In the language of vocation ministry, the same sentiment is expressed when we maintain that every Sister of the congregation is responsible for vocations, not just the "designated" vocation personnel. Just as a child's development is enhanced by all the positive influences in their lives, a congregation remains energized and viable when the concept of vocation awareness is shared among its members.
Everyone loves a good story! When I first began to think about religious life, I would love to listen to the vocation stories of different Sisters. Whenever I would meet a new Sister, I always eventually asked about her vocation story - or found some way of articulating the famous, "when did you know” question. Although every story was unique, there were also similarities. One such similarity was usually the presence of an occasion or a person that sparked an internal knowing, passion, or curiosity in the person's life about the idea of becoming a Sister. Sharing the stories of our lives as Sisters helps to inspire and promote the viability of religious life among young women growing up in the 21st century.
Is your relationship with God so life-giving that you want to share that Good News with others? Have the feelings of giving more or doing more with your life been tugging at your heart, off and on for a while? Does the idea of religious life and becoming a Sister excite you, but somehow at the same time, seem a little scary? These are just a few of the questions used in the discernment book, "Vocations Anonymous" by Sr. Kathleen Bryant, RSC, written for women thinking about religious life. If you have thought about any of these questions or feel attracted to a life of prayer, service, and love - then the "Come and See" Retreat scheduled for February 15 - 17, 2013 in Columbus, OH, is for you!
Winter is a wonderful time of year to travel south! So where is the best place to have a gathering in the middle of January? Ponchatoula, Louisiana, of course (about an hour away from New Orleans)! At the request of our Prioress, Sr. Margaret Ormond, OP, more than 40 Dominican Sisters of Peace will gather with the Leadership Team and the Ministry of Welcome - Vocations Team at Rosaryville Spirit Life Center in Ponchatoula to discuss the important topic of religious vocations, especially to the Dominican Sisters of Peace. The group will gather January 11-13 with vocation ministers Srs. Cathy Arnold, Pat Dual, and Pat Twohill, who will lead the gathering in a process developed by the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC).
How can we prepare for the coming of God among us? How can we even comprehend or fully appreciate the great gift that has been given us? The rich scriptures used during the season of Advent help to both remind us and inspire us to continue to hope in the Word, who came to bring light into the darkness and salvation to the world. Advent reminds us that there is hope for us all.
In our world today, we are flooded with news of violence, oppression, poverty, and injustice. The nation is currently reeling from yet another massacre that has claimed the lives of innocent children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut. How can we speak of hope in the face of such darkness? Only through the light of faith can the darkness be dispelled and the mystery of hope renewed.
"Young people look at how we live - not our pamphlets." - Archbishop Joseph William Tobin, CSsR
The words "joy" and "hope" truly captured the spirit of the 300 plus Vocation Ministers who gathered November 1-4 for the 2012 National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) Convocation in Plano, Texas. This international group of women and men religious represented every expression of vowed religious life as it is lived in the Church today. As sisters and brothers in Christ, these consecrated women and men fully entered into this year's theme, "Vocation Ministers as Ambassadors for Christ: A Reconciling Presence" inspired by the scripture text, "So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."(2 Cor 5:20)