A growing order celebrating its 25th anniversary this year are the Franciscans Sisters T.O.R. of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother. The letters T.O.R. mean Third Order Regular which is a significant addition to their name because the founding sisters wished to live anew St. Francis’ call to the TORs to be contemplative penitents committed to prayer and works of mercy.
In a spirit of prayer, poverty and conversion as well as “Under the patronage of our Sorrowful Mother and with the Eucharist as the focal point of our daily life,” they stand with Mary at the foot of the cross, offering their lives with Christ as a holocaust of love for the salvation of souls. What a beautiful summation of their charism.
Their community’s name is a mouthful but no word is there by accident. Penance is most important for “it is penance that frees us from self-oriented preferential love and instead inclines us to give ourselves fully to love God and neighbor.” They fast on Wednesdays for the renewal of religious life and on Fridays for world peace.
They are truly taking to heart Pope Francis’ admonition to go out to the world. In addition to their more local apostolates of running a soup kitchen, engaging in campus ministry, conducting retreats, helping the poor, and visiting the sick and elderly, they also have completed recent mission trips to Ireland and Nicaragua. Their day begins with adoration at 5:30 a.m. All told, the sisters spend 3 to 5 hours in prayer each day.
Recently, they were featured in the Imagine Sisters new film, “Light of Love,” on religious life.
If you would like to see the sisters in person, come to St. Bernard’s Parish in Pittsburgh on November 16th for a 7:00 Holy Hour or St. Monica’s Parish in Beaver Falls, PA, for a December 1-3 Advent parish mission.
And on August 11th, they welcomed 5 new candidates. What a beautiful 25th anniversary gift! Check out their anniversary video as well!