Tag Archives: Sisters of Life

Celebrating 25 Years of Life

SL 25The Sisters of Life celebrated the 25th anniversary of their foundation yesterday in New York. They have grown immensely during the quarter-century and have expanded throughout the United States and Canada. The Sisters held a Mass and block party to commemorate the occasion and all the blessings they have received over the years.

The festivities began with the Celebration of Mass in a packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Cardinal Dolan was the main celebrant with several other bishops, a diverse group of religious and lay people in attendance. In his homily, Cardinal Dolan said, “a quarter century ago, we worried – we worried that consecrated religious life was in trouble.” He did, however, state that new orders such as the Sisters of Life are “a booster shot for all of us.”

Sisters of Life Block PartyFollowing Mass, the Sisters of Life took to the streets near their Sacred Heart of Jesus Convent for a block party.  The Sisters served food, had activities for children, as well as provided opportunities for people to go to Eucharistic adoration and confession. An outdoor Eucharistic procession and benediction appropriately concluded the festivities.

The Sisters of Life have grown immensely in the short 25 years since John Cardinal O’Connor founded them in 1991. They are unique in that they take a special fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life along with the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Having grown from eight sisters to nearly one-hundred in the short time span, the Sisters of Life look forward to continuing to grow as they promote the sanctity of human life.

IRL Affiliates and the 2016 March for Life

Cantius MarchJanuary 22nd marked the forty-third anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States. To commemorate the anniversary, pro-lifers from around the country faced great obstacles such as the weather to fill the streets of Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. as a witness to the dignity of all human life.

Over 5,000 people braved frigid temperatures and packed the streets of downtown Chicago on January 17th. Before marching, however, the event began with Masses for Life.  Several Masses for Life around the Chicago area were sponsored by religious orders and were influenced by their spiritualties such as the Franciscan Litany recited at St. Peter’s in the Loop. During the events, over 2,000 of the IRL’s Merciful Like the Father holy cards were distributed by Fr. Jim Heyd and his team.

Winter Storm Jonas wreaked havoc on the east coast during the weekend of the March for Life in Washington D.C. The weather forced many to stay home and participate in local pro-life events, however, many still converged on our nation’s capital to defend life. One group of 165 were led by Fr. Nathan Caswell, SJC  of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. After attending the March, they unfortunately shared the fate of many and were stranded in Pennsylvania. They made the best of their situation, however,  and were able to celebrate Mass in the hotel’s bar. They were even joined at Mass by sisters from another IRL affiliate, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

walk-for-life16-17Pouring rain could not stop tens of thousands of people from attending the 12th annual Walk for Life in San Francisco. Among those in attendance were students from Thomas Aquinas College. The group led the Walk for Life last year and brought the largest group ever from the school this year with 220 students. The Sisters of Life also attended the Walk for Life and appropriately performed the corporal work of mercy of clothing the naked in this Year of Mercy by  giving their cloaks to protesting women so that they would not become ill before being arrested.

These and other tremendous stories emerged from the events surrounding the forty-third anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Pro-lifers will not soon forget them as they witnessed to the dignity of all human life.

Sisters of Life Head West

slThe Sisters of Life are one of the fastest growing religious communities in the United States with 26 young women entering in just the past two years. Thanks to this rapid growth, the Sisters of Life have expanded by opening their tenth convent in Denver from which they hope to evangelize and promote a culture of life on college campuses.

On September 16th, the Denver Mission Team of Sr. Mary Louise Concepta, Sr. Maris Stella, Sr. Maria Anne Michela, and Sr. Fiat Marie joyfully celebrated the opening of St. Mary Magdalene Convent in Denver. They were joined by His Excellency Archbishop Samuel Aquila who celebrated Mass and blessed the convent.

denver3The Sisters of Life plan to evangelize on several college campuses near their new home in Denver. They will be teaming up with chaplains and FOCUS missionaries to provide a ministry of presence and prayer. Their new college outreach program is crucial to their mission as college-aged women are the most likely to pursue an abortion in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. The Sisters have had great success in promoting life, however, having served over 6,000 women since 2002 with over 90% choosing life for their child.

Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, superior general of the order and recipient of the 2015 Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award, said, “It was from this city in 1993 that St. John Paul II exhorted those gathered for World Youth Day to defend the sacredness of human life. Our sisters look forward to strengthening the Denver lay faithful committed to building a culture of life.” The Sisters of Life hope to continue to faithfully respond to the Holy Father’s charge and promote the sacredness of life in their new home.

With Love, There is Joy

The latest issue of the Sisters of Life newsletter has an article about Cardinal John O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, talking to the sisters about a crisis of faith he had experienced many years ago. Excerpts of this hopeful message is very apropos for Good Friday.

Many years ago,as a priest, I felt I had lost my faith. I was in Okinawa, many thousands of miles from home….I was the only priest, for thousands of men without families, without the ones they loved, torn by a thousand temptations….I would offer my Mass each day. I would hear confessions, I would preach. I would work, if anything, harder than usual.

Then the long night would come. I felt total emptiness, of Christ on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I would go to my little tin hut chapel and there I would kneel in the darkness before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, in the glow of the little red tabernacle lamp. There, I would pray to what it was very difficult for me not to believe was but an empty tabernacle….It was an experience of extended, indescribable, terrifying desolation, of emptiness, of meaninglessness….While I had no sense of faith, and surely no sense of hope, I never completely lost the love of the Eucharist.

And the  one day, as quickly as it came, the darkness and the desolation left and the glory of the Resurrection filled the totality of my being….I knew that I would never waver in faith or hope again.

There may be some who find it difficult to believe in the Eucharistic presence of Christ. Don’t try to believe. Just let yourself love and be loved by the Eucharistic Christ. When you receive Him in Holy Communion don’t ponder theological questions. Say, “This is my love. I have receive my love; my love has received me.”

Without love, there can be no joy. One could truly define the absence of joy as an absence of love, a failure to love. I felt no joy in Okinawa, and I felt no faith and felt no hope because I had suppressed love. The Love remained, the Love saved, the Love purified, but I had to let it become active again within me….I had to remember that the Eucharistic Christ is not simply the presence of Christ, but the presence of Christ who is love. And oh how I prayed through Mary, Mary, the womb of the Eucharistic Christ; Mary the womb of love!


Sisters of Life

When bishop-elect John O’Connor visited Dachau concentration camp and “felt the intermingled ashes of Jew and Christian, rabbi, priest and minister, ” he proclaimed, “Good God, how could human beings do this to other human beings?” He vowed then to do all he could to protect all human life, especially the most vulnerable among us.

Later, as Cardinal of New York, he wondered why the efforts of the pro-life cause were not gleaning the results expected. His eyes fell upon the passage from Scripture, “This kind of demon can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.” From this epiphany moment, a new gift to the Church eventually come into being: the Sisters of Life.

If you are not on their mailing list to receive their newsletter, you are really missing out. In every issue, there are incredibly inspirational stories about young, pregnant and vulnerable expectant mothers who find that the love, caring and shelter offered by the sisters transforms their lives and leads them to Jesus.

The sisters offer pregnancy services, “holy respite” facilities for pregnant women to live with the sisters, post-abortion healing seminars, evangelization talks, seminars and assistance to the Archdiocese by staffing the Respect Life Office. For more information about their life and services, visit their website.

A Visible Sign of Witness

According to the Catholic News Agency, the Augustinians of Conversion,  a Catholic order of nuns in Spain, is abounding in vocations. Located on the Way of St. James, they were founded in 1999 by Mother Prado who left her Augustinian convent to lead a more contemplative life. They welcome pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela with a bed, dinner, mass and a special blessing. These one-on-one encounters have borne fruit. The order started with 4 sisters and it is now up to 26 with 8 more in discernment.

The best vocation program is a face to face encounter with real live people. The Sisters of Life often walk the streets in their habits and talk to the people who approach them. (See them praying (right) at an abortion clinic.)  Four religious in habits got a rousing round of applause as they came up to a Chick-Fi-A in Illinois. Every priest can tell the story of being stopped by someone in an airport terminal for confession.

It just points out the power of a visible sign of witness. Of pointing to Whom you belong. It’s an irresistible draw.

Sisters of Life

Today, the Church asks all people to pray for the legal protection of unborn children. Tens of millions of children have died since the Supreme Court ruling of 1973. But out of this darkness, a beautiful seed of hope has arisen — the Sisters of Life. Founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life, they profess the three traditional vows but also a special, fourth vow— to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.

The Sisters of Life, an IRL Affiliate, carry out their mission with the hope of revealing to those they serve the inherent goodness and beauty of their own lives, so that each person may see and experience the truth that they are an unrepeatable creation of the Master.

The Sister of Life are opening their eighth convent in Rockland County, NY, which will be their motherhouse. We pray this day for them and the 700 women a year they serve through outreach programs and advocacy.

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40).