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Postings by Patrice Tuohy

#GivingTuesday: A day to give back by paying forward

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Sunday 19, November 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life,Mission & Evangelization

#GivingTuesday is a global effort to help others through charity and service. Over the years, you have assured us of the benefits you received from the resources provided by VISION Vocation Network and its annual VISION Guide and Vocation Match service. 

During this season of gratitude, we invite you to give back by paying forward with a contribution that helps us continue our ministry's reach. 

For the past 30 years, VISION has helped more than 5 million people find their place in the church, and we've connected thousands of men and women to vocation directors and religious communities around the world. 

The church needs our help, and we need yours to continue our important mission. 

Your donation will allow us to assist the next wave of spiritual pilgrims in their discernment journey and ensure a hopeful future for religious life. 

Please remember VISION Vocation Guide on Giving Tuesday and any other day of the year! We rely on the generosity of donors like you to support our work in providing vocation-related education, awareness, resources, and services. 

Please partner with us through prayer, engagement, and financial support in encouraging men and women to invite God into their decision-making and consider a vocation to religious life.

When you give back by paying forward in support of VISION, you become part of this great calling and mission to help others find their way to lives filled with joy and love. What a perfect gift!

Donate now
 Vision Vocation Guide and are resources of the Natiional Religious Vocation Conference, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit.


TV series on Catholic sisters worldwide

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Tuesday 25, July 2017 Categories: Consecrated Life,Mission & Evangelization
Salt and Light TV series on Catholic Sisters

Sisterhood, a special, seven-part series produced by Canadian Salt + Light TV in collaboration with Loyola University New Orleans, gives viewers an exclusive look into the daily lives of sisters from around the world. As Salt and Light decribes the focus of the series: "Day in and day out, in every country, religious sisters provide an enormous service to the Church, giving life to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Without their prayer, their wisdom or their charity, the Church could scarcely begin to achieve its mission. Yet, the number of sisters in North America and in other countries is dwindling, and at a time when the world desperately needs their charisms."

The series, which already aired in Canada, is available for streaming  at  Salt + Light.

Pope: A life not shared belongs in a museum

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Wednesday 14, June 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Catholic culture,Pope Francis,Mission & Evangelization
Pope and youth
Pope Francis at the general audience in St. Peters Square, May 31, 2017. Photo by Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Pope Francis said that a life which isn't shared with others "belongs in the museum," according to Inés San Martín reporting for Crux. In a Google hangout with youth from around the world, the Pope urged young people not to succumb to an "elitist education" but to be agents of a "human globalization." 

“To educate is not to know things," said Francis, but to be "capable of using the three languages, that of the hands, the heart and the mind. Education is to include.”

New Denver Carmelites urge discerners to answer the call they hear

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Friday 21, April 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life
Carmelite sisters
Discalced Carmelites of the Holy Trinity now serving in the archdiocese of Denver.

“If you feel that call, answer it!” Sister Imelda Cardona of the Carmelites of the Holy Trinity says in a general message to young Catholics. “God loves you, so you should answer.”

Sister Cardona is one of six Allied Discalced Carmelites, who have come to the U.S. from Mexico to open a convent in Denver and care for the archdiocese's Holy Trinity Center.  

The community, whose charism is to know and to make known the glory of the Holy Trinity, has arrived to Denver to care for the archdiocese’s Holy Trinity Center. 

Founded by Sister Martha Maria Ramirez-Mora on July 16, 1986, the order has 200-plus nuns serving in various apostolates – ranging from assisting at nursing homes to retreat centers – in Mexico, Italy, Rome, Argentina and Chile.

“It is by the grace of God,” Mother Martha Patricia Malacara, superior of the community, told the Denver Catholic that the sisters have made their way to the U.S.

Although they will be helping out in the archbishop's residency and caring for the sacristies on the John Paul II center campus, prayer is the primary ministry of this semi-cloistered, comtemplative community: “We want to let people know that we are praying for them.” Mother Malacara says. “Prayer is our main charism.”

Prayer requests may be emailed to or mailed to Allied Discalced Carmelites of the Holy Trinity, 1300 S. Steele St., Denver, CO 80210. Be sure to tell them VISION Vocation Network sent you!


Jesuit-educated man has surprise for the Sisters of Mercy

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Thursday 07, April 2016 Categories: Catholic culture
St. Ignatius class of 1962
James Flavin (lower right in letter jacket) with St. Ignatius classmates in 1962. (Photo from Sun-Times story.)

"James A. Flavin wore old clothes, drove a beat-up old car, and lived alone in a small home he had inherited from his parents in a poor inner-city neighborhood," writes Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown. "When he died a year ago at age 71 with no obvious family in the picture, his fellow parishioners at St. Adrian’s Catholic Church in Marquette Park came together to give him a proper funeral and burial."

What nobody knew was that Flavin, an alumnus of St. Ignatius, a Jesuit high school in Chicago, was a wealthy man. A safe deposit box discovered after his death revealed stocks and investments valued above $3.4 million. And more surprising, a will prepared in 2008 indicated that Flavin wanted the bulk of his estate to go to the Sisters of Mercy, who had educated his mother. 

The authenticity of the will needs to be verified, but as his only living relatives aren't disputing the terms set in the 2008 document, it looks as though the Sisters of Mercy are in for some money. How nice! 

"Your visit gives us courage," sister living in Kenya tells Pope

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Monday 30, November 2015 Categories: Consecrated Life
Sister of Mercy Mary Killeen
Sister Mary Killeen, R.S.M. addresses Pope Francis during his November 2015 visit to Kenya.

Sister Mary Killeen, R.S.M., an Irish Sister of Mercy, who has been working in the slums of Kenya for the past 30 years, was chosen to address Pope Francis during his visit there this past week. Sister Mary told the Pontiff of the adversity the people of the slums face to achieve an education and self-sufficiency, not the least of which is rampant corruption and landgrabbing. Sister Mary thanked Francis for visiting their poor community, "Your visit gives us courage. By coming here, you shine a light on the challenges. Your meeting with us gives us dignity."

Follow Sister Mary's blog of her life in Kenya. Or better yet, join her in her work among the poor!


Mercy sister spearheads efforts to address hunger and homelessness at World Meeting of Families

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Wednesday 23, September 2015 Categories: Catholic culture,Mission & Evangelization
family homelessness and hunger
The Francis Fund, one of three key initiatives to combat poverty, as part of the World Gathering of Families programs.

Update: Pope stopped on his way to celebrate his final Mass in Philadelphia to view the "Knotted Grotto" art installation, sponsored by

Art installation in Philadelphia
Knotted Grotto, desiged in honor of Mary, Undoer of Knots, Pope Francis' favorite artwork. Visitors of the grotto add or remove knots that symbolize their personal struggles and their desire to help others.

Sister Mary Scullion, R.S.M., a Mercy sister, was asked by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia to help with preparations for the World Meeting of Families, convening from Sept. 22-25, 2015. “The archbishop wanted to talk about how we could protect the poor and hungry,” says Scullion, in an interview with Huffington Post. “But I never imagined we could get so much done in that short time.”

"Since launching the World Meeting of Families Committee on Hunger and Homelessness, reports Jaleem Kaleem, "Scullion has used the pope’s high-profile visit and the convergence this week of the nation’s leading Catholic figures to raise $1.3 million to aid 52 projects and organizations centered on helping people struggling with poverty, mental illness or both."

“Pope Francis says the greatest virtue is mercy,” says Scullion. “But he also said that concrete works of mercy and spiritual development are not enough. We also need systemic change.” Learn more about the works Scullion helped spearhead at

Click her for more informations on the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

Score another vocation for Google

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Wednesday 06, May 2015 Categories: Consecrated Life,Vocation and Discernment

When Sister Mary Anne Francalanza considered religious life, writes Janet Tansley in an aricle for the Liverpool Echo, she did what most of us do when we’re looking for a book or new outfit: She went on the internet.

Sister Mary Anne took her final vows with the Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) in Wavertree, Liverpool (U.K.) three years ago.

“I was the first person to have contacted the sisters through the internet," she says. But things are different now. “Today if people want to look for us we are on Facebook, Twitter, [VISION!], the lot..."

“It’s about finding God in all things and all places!”

Click here to learn more about the Faithful Companions of Jesus.

National Catholic Sisters week begins Monday, March 8

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Friday 06, March 2015 Categories: Consecrated Life,Vocation and Discernment
National Catholic Sisters Week
National Catholic Sisters Week, an annual celebration to honor women religious, begins March 8. Events during the week, sponsored by groups all over the country, are meant to instruct, enlighten, and highlight the lives and witness of women religious and encourage a new generation of young women to follow their example.

Here are some ways to participate in National Catholic Sisters Week:

• Visit, to find resources and ideas for
celebrating both the Year of Consecrated Life and National Catholic Sisters Week. 
• Participate in the hashtag campaign during National Catholic Sisters Week.
• Watch oral histories of Catholic sisters, read blog posts by the young women who created the
histories at, and read first-person accounts of religious life.

Franciscan Friar to explore the roots of creativity

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Wednesday 30, July 2014 Categories: Catholic culture,Consecrated Life
Franciscan Friar, Fr. Bob Hutmacher, O.S.F., of Chicago, hoping to go viral on youtube to help fund a PBS video project on creativity. 

Learn more about the project at Learn more about the Franciscan Friars here.

Catholic nun among passengers on downed Malaysian flight

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Saturday 19, July 2014 Categories: Consecrated Life

Sacred Heart Sister Philomene Tiernan, R.S.C.J., on a return flight to Sydney, Australia after a trip to Europe, was aboard Malaysian Flight MH17 that was shot down over Ukrainian airspace July 17, 2014. 

According to a statement from the school where Tiernan worked, the 77-year-old sister had been making an annual retreat that included a trip to Europe and a visit to St. Francis Xavier Church in Paris, where the founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, is buried.

"She was a leading light and will be an incredible loss to the Society of the Sacred Heart, and a huge loss to our school community." said Ms. Johnston-Croke, principal Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart, where Tiernan served as a teacher and administrator for more than 30 years.
The Society of the Sacred Heart has schools in 44 countries and all have conveyed their tributes and condolences to the school, Johnston-Croke told The Australian."I've been getting email and texts from all over the world," she said.

Below is a short video made earlier in which Sr.Tiernan and past students talk about the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart and Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, its foundress.

The wedding singer priest wows the world

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Thursday 10, April 2014 Categories: Clergy

Wedding Singer priest Fr. Ray Kelly

Fr. Ray Kelly of County Meath, Ireland, surprised an out-of-town couple who didn't know of his singing prowess with an absolutely beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, replete with verses specific to the bride and groom.  

Several things to love about this story:

  1. That the priest sang to delight his congregation: "I enjoy singing but I wouldn't want to do it full time - I love what I'm doing as a priest." 
  2. That his efforts were so well received: by the wedding goers, who gave him a standing ovation, and by the world: with nearly 5.4 million views so far on youtube.
  3. That he presented such a joyful and loving image of priesthood. 

Thank you, Father Ray.

Here is more from a BBC story:

The parish priest of Oldcastle, County Meath, told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme  that the couple had no idea what was going to happen.
"Normally local people know I sing at weddings, funerals or when I'm asked, but they didn't know - the bride Leah is from Dublin and the groom Chris is from Cookstown in County Tyrone," he said.
"They were having their reception at a hotel about 10 miles away and chose our church.
"We had the rehearsal on Thursday evening and at the end I said, 'sure maybe I'll sing an aul song for you myself' - Leah grinned and said 'OK sure' but I don't think she was taking it too seriously."
Fr Kelly changed the original lyrics to be more suitable for a wedding. It begins: "We join together here today, to help two people on their way."
Fr Kelly is a trained singer who is currently working on his third album.
"The way I look at it is, it's a gift one has, and if you have a gift you use it."

Initial plans for the Year of Consecrated Life revealed

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Saturday 01, February 2014 Categories: Clergy,Consecrated Life

women religious

In a press conference on Friday, the Vatican prefect for consecrated life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, outlined the three objectives for the Year of Consecrated Life, which will commence in the fall of 2014 and conclude in November of 2015:

1) The first objective: “We believe that the [Second Vatican] Council has been a breath of the Spirit not only for the whole Church but, perhaps especially, for the consecrated life. . . .  For this reason, he said, the first objective of the Year of Consecrated Life would be to “make a grateful remembrance of the recent past.”
2)     With this positive outlook on the past, he continued, “we want to ‘embrace the future with hope’— the second objective.
3)    This hope cannot keep us from “living the present with passion” — and this is the third objective of the coming Year. . . . In this regard, the Year of Consecrated Life will have an evangelical focus, helping people to realize “the beauty of following Christ” in the various types of religious vocations.

The Year of Consecrated Life is expected to begin in October of 2014, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Lumen gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the Church, which has a specific chapter dealing with consecrated life. The anniversary of the publication of Perfectae caritatis, the Council’s decree on the renewal of consecrated life, will be the occasion of the close of the Year in November 2015.

Learn more here. Be sure to look to the VISION Vocation Network for resources and information on consecrated throughout the year.

Justice-seeking nun is the main character in new TV pilot

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Saturday 19, October 2013 Categories: Consecrated Life
America America FerraraFerrera, Emmy-award winning star of "Ugly Betty," is set to play a nun-lawyer who practices on behalf of the least fortunate in a new CBS TV series, according to Deadline.

The plot for "Damascus" may seem a bit unconventional for primetime, but it actually sparked a bidding war between networks.

Woo-hoo! Let's hope it is not too cliche-ridden and actually captures the great work Catholic sisters do on behalf of the poor, including representing them in court.

Sisters: Witnesses to the horrors of war

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Tuesday 09, July 2013 Categories: Consecrated Life
daughtersofcharity_civilwarThe Daughters of Charity are featured in an essay by Tony Magliano for National Catholic Reporter. Magliano recounts the sisters' courage and compassion ministering to fallen troups following the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest of the American Civil War:

In that three-day period [July 1-3, 1863], the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the opposing Union Army of the Potomac suffered more than an estimated 43,000 combined casualties.....
Not content to safely sit out the battle, about 16 Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, as they were then known, headed to Gettysburg [from their motherhouse in Emmitsburg, Maryland] to nurse the wounded.
As they arrived, they encountered the horror of war. Sr. Marie Louise Caulfield wrote that she saw "thousands of guns and swords lying around. ... further on we saw many soldiers on horseback as silent almost as the dead who lay there ... The rain had filled the roads with water, and here it was red with blood. Our carriage wheels rolling through blood! Our horses could hardly be made to proceed on account of the horrid objects lying about them."   
On the battlefield, and later in area hospitals, the sisters cared for the medical and spiritual needs of both Catholic and non-Catholic Confederate and Union soldiers.
According to Denise Gallo, provincial archivist for the Daughters of Charity, the care from the sisters was so good that many of the soldiers actually cried when they learned they were going to be transferred to other hospitals.
The love shown by the sisters melted even the most hardened hearts. In the context of anti-Catholic sentiments of the time, Gallo reported that some of the soldiers said, "And these are the people that we insult" who are being so kind and loving to us. 

Learn more about the Daughters of Charity.

Pope Francis: Lowly but chosen

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Monday 18, March 2013 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Clergy

Pope Francis Coat of Arms
From a story by Veronica Scarisbrick on Vatican Radio: Pope Francis has chosen the motto Miserando atque eligendo, meaning "lowly but chosen," which in Latin means "by having mercy, by choosing him."

The motto is one the pope had already chosen as a bishop. It is taken from the homilies of the Venerable Bede on Saint Matthew's gospel relating to his vocation: "Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an Apostle saying to him: Follow me."

This homily, which focuses on divine mercy and is reproduced in the Liturgy of the Hours on the Feast of Saint Matthew, has taken on special significance in the Pope's life and spiritual journey.

It was on the Feast of Saint Matthew in 1953 that a young 17 year-old Jorge Bergoglio was touched by the mercy of God and felt the call to religious life in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and entered the Jesuit order.

Beyond the motto, the coat of arms has a blue field and is surmounted by the mitre and the papal keys. On the crest itself at the centre is the symbol of the Jesuits, a flaming sun with the three letters recalling the name and the salvific mission of Jesus. Underneath we have two more symbols: to the right the star representing Mary and to the left the nard flower representing Joseph.

Pope Francis among 34 popes from religious communities

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Wednesday 13, March 2013 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Clergy

Pope Francis I

In being a member of a religious order and the first Jesuit elected pope, Pope Francis joins 33 other pontiffs who came from religious communities: Here is the list, thanks to a Wikipedia entry on popes:

  • Benedictines (17):-
    • Gregory I, Boniface IV, Adeodatus II, Leo IV, John IX, Leo VII, Stephen IX, Gregory VII, Victor III, Urban II, Paschal II, Gelasius II, Celestine V, Clement VI, Urban V, Pius VII
  • and including Camaldolese (1):-
    • Gregory XVI
  • Augustinians (6):-
    • Eugene IV
  • and including Canons Regular (5):-
    • Honorius II, Innocent II, Lucius II, Gregory VIII, Adrian IV
  • Dominicans (4):-
    • Innocent V, Benedict XI, Pius V, Benedict XIII
  • Franciscans (4):-
    • Nicholas IV, Sixtus IV
  • and including Conventual Franciscans (2):-
    • Sixtus V, Clement XIV
  • Cistercians (2):-
    • Eugene III, Benedict XII
  • Jesuits (1):-
    • Francis I

    Learn more about these communities in VISION's Community Search.

Congratulations to the Maryknoll Sisters on their founder's recognition

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Friday 08, March 2013 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life
Sr Mary Joseph
Mother Mary Joseph in her office at the Sisters’ Motherhouse, Maryknoll, NY, 1941


The founder of the Maryknoll Sisters, Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, MM, has been named one of nine American women to be inducted in 2013 into the National Women’s Hall of Fame (NWHF).

Mother Mary Joseph, whose “extraordinary achievements were recognized and applauded” by all the judges, according to NWHF deputy director Amanda Bishop, will join the 247 eminent women who have been inducted into the Hall since its founding in 1969. Among others included in this year’s list were Betty Ford and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“We are thrilled and honored by Mother Mary Joseph’s selection,” said Sister Janice McLaughlin, MM, president of Maryknoll Sisters, and happy for the recognition it gives to our founder who achieved so much, not only for women religious, but for all American women, at a time when possibilities for them were far more limited than they are today.

“Mary Josephine Rogers, as she was called prior to joining religious life, broke through the negative stereotypes about the role of American Catholic women in church and society at the beginning of the 20th century,” Sister Janice said. “As founder of the first American mission congregation of Catholic women, she proved that women were equal to the demands of life and ministry abroad, particularly in places where poverty, physical hardship and sometimes, even safety during wartime, were commonplace.”

Mother Mary Joseph drew from a lifetime of spiritual depth when she stressed the need for the sisters to be compassionate women, adaptable and willing to try new ways without fear of failure or censure, according to a release put out by Maryknoll. Above all, she emphasized the primacy of a holy life.

Today, Maryknoll Sisters serve in 26 nations around the world, ministering to all people in need. Their numbers include doctors and nurses; authors, artists and dancers; social workers, ecologists and peace activists; theologians and spokespersons to the United Nations.Learn more about the Maryknoll Sisters here.

Young adults: Losing our religion?

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Thursday 24, January 2013 Categories: 

/images/cms-images/spiritcitings/Pewgraph.jpg"When Jesus came to Nazareth, he 'went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day' and read from a scroll of the prophet Isaiah," writes Dan Grippo in the "Preaching the News" column for Prepare the Word. "But if Jesus were to speak in a synagogue, church, or mosque in the U.S. today, how many young people would be there to hear him?" asks Grippo. "Dramatically fewer than in previous generations, according to Pew Research Center."

According to results of the Pew study, “Nones” on the Rise, one-third of Americans under 30 say they have no religious affiliation, a dramatic increase over numbers from just a few decades ago. Many researchers believe the trend is tied to religion's association with socially conservative politics.

"I think the single most important reason for the rise of the unknowns is that combination of the younger people moving to the left on social issues and the most visible religious leaders moving to the right on that same issue,” says Harvard professor Robert Putman, in an NPR interview by Heidi Glenn.

For Father Mike Surufka, a Franciscan priest in Chicago, there are indeed issues that are fundamental to the church but what seems to really matter is more basic: that the parishioner's spiritual needs are being met. . . . Surufka says he is hopeful about the future of religions in America. "There was a theologian from the mid-1900s who  . . . described hope as an attitude toward the future that we cannot see, but we trust that somehow it's held by God and that there are possibilities beyond what we can even imagine."

And Putman points out that, "Even with these recent changes, the American religious commitments are incredibly stronger than in most other advanced countries in the world . . . we are a very religious country even today."

What do you think the church can do to encourage a younger generation to encounter Jesus and tap into the spiritual riches of Catholic teachings and traditions?

Augustinian Sister Mary Thomas honored by Queen

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Thursday 03, January 2013 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life

Sister Mary Thomas MBE
For her services creating the state-of-the-art St. George’s Park Retirement Village in Sussex, U.K., Augustinian Sister Mary Thomas was awarded an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth in her New Year’s Honor’s List, Zenit reports. Sister Thomas, a native of Ireland, accepted the award on behalf of her religious community, the Augustinian Sisters of the Mercy of Jesus, and those who provide care in the Augustinian homes: “I recognize that the award is given not just to myself but in recognition, too, of my own religious community and many other professionals who have worked with us over these years to assist the elderly and most vulnerable in our society.”

The Augustinian Sisters of the Mercy of Jesus order was founded by Canon Peter John Maes in 1842. The sisters were to offer assistance to him in his ministry to the mentally ill. Today the sisters run four care facilities throughout the U.K. Their most ambitious project was the St. George’s Park Retirement Village. The award-winning development includes senior apartments, community building, restaurant, bar, shop, hairdresser, library, gym, game rooms, treatment facility, and lush grounds with a lake and park.
St. George's Park Retirement Village

Sr Mary Thomas trained as a general and psychiatric nurse and has spent all of her religious life caring for the sick and elderly. When she was appointed Superior of the Order in the 1990s, she began to realize the sisters’ dream of an innovative new assisted living and care community.

For more on the Augustinian Sisters, read their online listing in the VISION community directory.



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