MINNEAPOLIS (CNS) -- Events around the country are marking National
Catholic Sisters Week March 8-14. It's the fifth annual celebration of women
religious taking place during National Women's History Month.
celebration is intended to honor the nation's 45,605 women religious and the
sisters before them who founded schools and hospitals. These sisters were, and continue
to be, missionaries, contemplatives, activists and spiritual leaders.
meet a Catholic sister is to be inspired," said Molly Hazelton, director
of National Catholic Sisters Week based at St. Mary's University of Minnesota
in Minneapolis. "Shining a light on their ministries can move the masses,
and that's what we're aiming to do. In a time when there isn't much good news,
we need more than ever to hear stories of how they help and heal a fractured
are hosting panel discussions, pilgrimages, dinners and retreats during
week. Many of the events are informal and local, others are formally
funded by 89 mini-grants of up to $1,000 each awarded by the National
Sisters Week office. There is a website,
www.nationalcatholicsistersweek.org, and the week's events can be
followed it on social media using #NCSW2018.
the week the Sisters of Christian Charity in Mendham, New Jersey, are sponsoring
a nun run for young women to tour different convents and the Sisters of the Presentation
of the Blessed Virgin Mary in New Orleans are participating in a service day at local soup kitchens and
Sisters of Mercy will celebrate the week with a series of videos and a Facebook
Live streaming chat March 9 where Mercy Sister Patricia Donlin, a theology
teacher at Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, will
answer questions about vocations and consecrated life at https://www.facebook.com/MercySisters.
sisters in the videos found here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMercySisters/videos
will share their vocation and ministry stories and their connections to critical
concerns of the order such as care for the earth, nonviolence, immigration,
anti-racism and women.
a religion teacher at St. Francis International School in Silver Spring is
taking middle school girls to visit the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore
to see Catholic sisters who share their ethnicity. "It's important for
African-American girls and other girls of color to see sisters that look like
them so that, if they feel they might be called to religious life, they will
believe they can achieve the vocation," said the teacher, Kirk Gaddy.
year, there has been a deliberate effort to engage diverse groups and introduce
them to the possibility of religious life by fostering friendships with
Catholic sisters. Spanish-speaking School Sisters of Notre Dame, for example,
are hosting a canvas-painting party, "Pintar Y Orar" ("Painting
and Pray"), in Texas to reach out to the Latino community and invite teens
to paint and talk with the sisters.
Bridget Waldorf, a School Sister of Notre Dame and the event organizer, said the
influence of Catholic sisters is needed now more than ever as a balm for
so many consecrated sisters are engaged in ministries where deep reverence for
others is fundamental to who they are in mission, they are ready to help heal
and listen and engage," she said.
out that the work the sisters do is varied -- from contemplative prayer to
working with the poor -- but she said the "goal seems to be universal: to
love one another."
Catholic Sisters Week was launched, Hazelton said, she has repeatedly heard from
young adults who are impressed with the connections they have made with women
of the causes that drive Catholic sisters resonate with millennials: social
justice, sustainability, simple living and authenticity, when your daily life
matches your core values. Sisters have so much to teach us," she added.
on the organization's website points out that the weeklong initiative is "intended
to amplify the rich legacy of women religious, to illuminate their current
ministries and to spotlight the young women who are continuing to pursue
According to the Center for Applied Research in the
Apostolate, based at Georgetown University, more than 100 women became sisters in
2017, ranging from 24 to 86 years old and the average age was 36.
Catholic Sisters Week is a branch of the National Catholic Sisters Project based
at Alverno College in Milwaukee and is supported by a grant from the Conrad N.