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Sisters, Catholic faith support Olympians

Posted by: Anne Marie O'Kelley 🕔 Thursday 15, July 2021 Categories: Catholic culture
Simone Biles
Simone Biles references her Catholic faith repeatedly in her autobiography Courage to Soar. (Photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias, wikimedia)

Gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky both say an important source of strength in their lives is their Catholic faith. For Ledecky, who attended a Catholic school run by the Sacred Heart (R.S.C.J.) Sisters, support also comes in the form of the sisters from her high school who have cheered her on. Both Biles and Ledecky won four gold medals apiece at the 2016 Olympics and both qualified for the 2021 Olympics in Japan.

Biles has noted that she carries a rosary in her gym bag: “My mom, Nellie, got me a rosary at church,” she told Us magazine. “I don’t use it to pray before a competition. I’ll just pray normally to myself, but it’s there just in case.”

Swimming Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky (center) receives an award at an international competition.
Swimming Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky (center) receives an award at an international competition. During her sports career, she has enjoyed a warm relationship with the sisters who educated her at a high school run by the R.S.C.J. sisters. (Photo: Oleg Bkhambri (Voltmetro), Wikimedia)

Likewise, Ledecky told journalists that her faith was a mainstay in her life and that she likes to pray a Hail Mary prior to competitions: “I do say a prayer—or two—before any race. The Hail Mary is a beautiful prayer and I find that it calms me,” Ledecky told The Catholic Standard.

In her autobiography, Courage to Soar, Biles noted many Catholic milestones in her upbringing. For instance, she wrote about her Confirmation day: “I marched into St. James the Apostle Church that Sunday in a line of teenagers with solemn faces . . . in a way, our procession reminded me of a medal ceremony, except that no gold, silver, and bronze medals would be given out. Instead, our prize would be something much more powerful: in a few moments, each of us would bow our heads to receive the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation.”

In drawing upon their faith and the support of Catholic sisters, Ledecky and Biles are continuing a tradition familiar to many Catholic athletes: turning to God and community for strength, courage, and perspective.

The value of staying put

Posted by: Anne Marie O'Kelley 🕔 Thursday 15, July 2021 Categories: Consecrated Life
cloister
"By making a vow of stability the monk renounces the vain hope of wandering off to find a ‘perfect monastery.'"

Many who join monastic and contemplative religious orders take a vow of stability, committing themselves to a particular community.

The vow of stability means that a monk stays put. Unless he’s sent somewhere else by his superiors, or gets a dispensation from Rome, a monk must remain in the monastery of his profession. [Cistercian writer Thomas] Merton explains: “By making a vow of stability the monk renounces the vain hope of wandering off to find a ‘perfect monastery.’”

There’s a lesson here for happiness. It’s often tempting to think that we’d be happy if only external circumstances would change. Sometimes it’s true that some external change would make a huge difference to our happiness . . . [But] sometimes we need to embrace a vow of stability and make our happiness in the situation in which we find ourselves, instead of searching restlessly for perfect circumstances.

From “Monks Take a ‘Vow of Stability.’ Maybe You Should, Too” by Gretchen Rubin, on Slate.com.

Early lesson: “It’s not all about me”

Posted by: Anne Marie O'Kelley 🕔 Thursday 15, July 2021 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Catholic culture
Sister Irene Eckerman, O.P. with second-grade students at Our Lady of the Elms School in Akron, Ohio in 1983.
Sister Irene Eckerman, O.P. with second-grade students at Our Lady of the Elms School in Akron, Ohio in 1983. (Photo courtesy of Sister Irene Eckerman, O.P.)

My most beloved teachers were nuns who taught us to help the poor, pray for the sick, and send our milk money to El Salvador. It was there that I learned of the necessity—and the possibilities—of self-sufficiency and cooperation. . . . In their polyester pantsuits and orthopedic shoes, Sister Irene and Sister Betty—my first- and second-grade teachers—emanated a sense of joy and purpose I found infectious. . . .

I was 5 when I began first grade in the fall of 1981. Sister Irene, with short, silver hair and oversize glasses, sat before my class in a little orange chair. With a map of Central America pulled down behind her, she passed around a badly photocopied picture of the sisters’ burned-out van [American sisters killed by Salvadoran death squads]. I don’t remember her words, but I remember the sensation: the gravity of the shock tempered by Sister Irene’s insistence on forgiveness. We did not learn about “capitalism” or “revolution.” The nuns did not traffic in propaganda . . . Sister Irene taught us that vulnerability didn’t separate humans, it connected us.

The nuns taught us generosity and introspection as directly as fractions and cursive. My education, in other words, was never only about me, but also about the world I was poised to inherit.

From “Everything I Know About Feminism I Learned From Nuns” by Liesl Schwabe, New York Times, Feb. 16, 2019.

Who’s entering religious life?

Posted by: Anne Marie O'Kelley 🕔 Thursday 15, July 2021 Categories: Vocation and Discernment
Chalice at Eucharist table
Those entering religious life today are attracted to the prayer, spirituality, charism, community life, sense of call, and mission that they find in consecrated life. (Photo: Robert Cheaib, pixabay)

Plenty of valuable data exists about who has been entering religious life recently and why. The National Religious Vocation Conference has made this information available in a highly visual “storymap” online.

That research, and other data, also appear in written form at “Studies” at nrvc.net.

Some highlights:

• Newer members express hope about the future, even as they acknowledge that the demographics of religious life are changing fast.

• Newer members are diverse, ethnically and in terms of age, although most are young. The newest research shows the median age for those entering religious life in 2020 was 26.

• What draws new people into religious life are a desire for prayer, spiritual growth, charism, the joy of community life, a sense of call, and mission.


Discernment resources in the time of COVID-19

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Thursday 07, May 2020 Categories:
 

Many religious communities are offering online liturgies, prayer services, retreats, and discernment discussions. Please check out the VISION calendar for upcoming events.

Prepare the Word, a parish evangelization resource published by TrueQuest Communications, has a round up of some prayers and reflections and livestreamed liturgies: https://preparetheword.com/publication/6284/article/21380-resources-during-covid-19-pandemic.

Find additional resources on Prayer, Discernment, and Being Catholic in VISION's article library.

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LENT: 40 ways to observe the 40 days | Lenten calendar

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Wednesday 26, February 2020 Categories: Prayer and Spirituality,Catholic culture
2020 Lenten Calendar
2020 Lenten Calendar

Download this complimentary calendar to help guide you on your Lenten journey.

Legal size: 8.5 x14 (one-sided)

Standard size: 8.5 x 11 (two-sided)


©2020, TrueQuest Communications.

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Secret to a happy life from a Catholic sister who has served 7 popes

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Friday 03, January 2020 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life,Mission & Evangelization
St. Peter's Basilica - 123rf
St. Peter's Basilica, Rome (123rf)

After 90 years on earth and 70 years as a Catholic sisters serving seven popes in the Vatican, Sr. Maria de Céu, a Franciscan Missionary of Mary, has learned the secret to a happy life: "A life given to others,"

In an interview in Rome Reports, Sr. Marie explains, "If we don't give ourselves to others, what's the purpose of living? The Lord always comes first."

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Millennial sisters get their 9 minutes of fame on Tamron Hall!

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Wednesday 18, September 2019 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life,Catholic culture

Millennial sisters with many doors open to them chose religious life. That was the theme explored on a recent Tamron Hall Show, a new daytime talk show. The Catholic sisters featured on the show, Sisters Anne Marie Findlay C.S.S.F.; Elizabeth McGill, I.H.M.; Rachel Lauritsen, F.M.A.; and Boram Lee F.M.A. were brought to the attention of Tamron Hall producers by VISION publisher Patrice Tuohy, who worked closely with the show's producers to provide information on the contemporary religious life, Two of the sisters are also recipients of grants from the National Fund for Catholic Religious Vocations, established by the National Religious Vocation Conference to help alleviate the obstacle of educational debt to religious life. Patrice Tuohy and Phil Loftus, Executive Director of NFCRV, were in the audience to cheer the sisters on.

Millennial Sisters
NFCRV Executive Director and VISION Publisher Patrice Tuohy in the audience of the Tamron Hall Show featuring millennial sisters.

New Jersey convents attract new sisters

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Wednesday 11, September 2019 Categories: Consecrated Life,Catholic culture
Millennial Sisters in New Jersey
Caption Here

Serveral VISION sponsoring communities from New Jersey received a nice writie up in the North Jersey Record article "Number of nuns are dwindling, but these Jersey millennials are still hearing the call" by Deena Yellin.

And VISION got a mention too! 

As many orders are dwindling, some remain strong. The Salesian Sisters of Saint John Bosco . . . is among the largest women's orders in the world, with more than 13,000 sisters in over 90 countries. It is also among the few orders that are growing. This year, three new women joined the order in New Haledon.

Some women continue to feel the pull to the religious life, offering hope that nuns will continue to serve, perhaps in new ways.

The Felician Sisters in Lodi have four women in different stages of discernment, the multi-years process of considering religious life. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in Englewood Cliffs had six women take vows over the past 15 years. The Discalced Carmelites in Flemington has two candidates this year, and Sisters of Christian Charity in Mendham has 12 women in various stages of formation.

Patrice Tuohy, publisher of Vision Vocation Guide, which provides information about religious communities, says an average of about 3,000 women fill out profiles each year, seeking to be matched to a religious community, but that number rose to 3,500 last year. "That surprised me," she said. "They were predominantly people under 30. There's definitely been an uptick of inquiries into religious life."

Africa takes the lead in the future of Catholicism

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Tuesday 03, September 2019 Categories: Mission & Evangelization,Catholic culture
Catholics around the world
Catrpolic Populations around the world

In September 2019, Pope Francis will make his fourth visit to Africa. Among the key reason's for the Popes special attention to Africa: Africa is the fastest growing Catholic population on the planet. Read more in a recent BBC report.

Related to the growth of Catholicism in Africa, is the rise of African priests in the U.S. Martin Emehs, former president of the African Conference of Catholic Clergy and Religious in the U.S., estimates that in 2013, "there were about 700 African priests in the country and believes the number is much higher today." African priests are serving as "reverse missionaries," doing what their Global North counterparts did for several centuries: "taking God’s word to people across the ocean." 



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Benedictine Sisters introduce a virtual open-door policy

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Tuesday 09, July 2019 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life,Catholic culture
 
Virtual tour of St. Mary Monastery
Virtual tour screen capture of the Chapel at St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island, IL.
Ever wonder what life in a modern-day monastery is like? Here's your chance to get a sneak peek without leaving home. The Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary’s Monastery in Rock Island, IL have introduced a Virtual Monastery Experience that combines aerial footage and 360 photography of the monastery with information and resources about their way of life. The virtual tour gives discerning women, who may want to become Benedictines themselves, a way to experience life at St. Mary’s before they visit.
 
“People use the internet to gather information about a school or a vacation spot," says Sr. Stephanie MacDonald, O.S.B., vocation director of the monastery. "So we thought to offer a virtual tour of our monastery as a helpful guide and for those discerning a vocation. It would provide an excellent word of welcome from St. Mary Monastery.” 
 
 
 
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Four women named by Pope to serve as consultors to bishops

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Tuesday 28, May 2019 Categories: Pope Francis,Church History,Catholic culture
Women name consultors to Synod of Bishops

The Pope has named four women, three religious sisters and one laywomen, to serve as consultors to the secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, an important Vatican department. According to Sister Nathalie Becquardt, xav., one of the women named, the move reflects Pope Francis' desire to be more inclusive and provide greater leadership roles for women in the church. The other women named are Sister Alessandra Smerilli, F.M.A,. Sister Maria Luisa Berzosa, F.I. and Professor Cecilia Costa.

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/11724/pope-appoints-four-women-to-top-synod-jobs-

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-women/pope-names-women-to-key-vatican-department-for-first-time-idUSKCN1SU1TJ


Prepare for consecrated life

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Wednesday 20, March 2019 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life
Praying at mass
Morning Mass

Thinking of consecrated life? Prepare for vowed life by incorporating simple practices into your daily life today. Read more here.

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VISION's Four Steps to Vocation Discernment display big hit in Panama

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Sunday 17, February 2019 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Prayer and Spirituality,Catholic culture
 
2019 World Youth Day in Panama VISION Vocation Networ
VISION Vocation Network booth at 2019 World Youth Day, Panama
 

Our banner display at World Youth Day Panama on the Four Steps to Vocation Discernment was a big hit. An article (in English and Spanish) and pdf of "Four steps to vocation discernment" now available. Click here for more.

The VISION crew met thousands of World Youth Day pilgrims at the Vocation Fair in Panama City's Omar Park. We passed out prayer cards and VISION bookmarks and signed up pilgrims to receive daily "Take Five" meditations and stay connected with VISION. One lucky pilgrim won our Fit Bit door prize.

We look forward to the 2022 World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal. Hope to see you there!

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VISION at World Youth Day! Join us at the Vocation Fair

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Wednesday 09, January 2019 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Pope Francis,Prayer and Spirituality,Mission & Evangelization,Catholic culture
2019 World Youth Day in Panama VISION Vocation Network
Caption Here

Join VISION Vocation Guide in Panama City, Jan. 22-25, in the Vocation Fair

Parque Omar, Section A, booths 23, 24, 25.

Walk through our "Steps to Discernment" display and enter to win a fitbit! 


Other World World Youth Day events

Fiat International Festival for Youth and Young Adults, hosted by the U.S.A.

Sponsored byKnights of Columbus, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Fellowship of Catholic University Students

Wed., Jan. 23, 2019, 2 p.m. - midnight

Centro de Convenciones Amador (Figali Convention Center)

Recognizing the context of the Church this year (including the crisis, the Synod, the Encuentro, the National Dialogue, etc.), the conversation will center on “What is the role of young people at this moment in the life of the Church?” 

Featuring music, witness talks, prayer, dialogue. Learn more here.  


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I will not work in a segregated dining room, obedience or no obedience . . .

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Thursday 06, December 2018 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life,Church History,Catholic culture

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth featured Sr. Pat Haley, S.C.N. in a recent newsletter. This line caught our attention: "I will not work in a segregated dining room, obedience or no obedience . . ."

Sr. Pat explains, "When we got to Nazareth as postulants we were assigned duties. I was assigned to the white men’s dining room. I thought, ‘There’s no way I’m gonna do that.' Mother Lucille was coming down the hall, and although I knew I wasn’t supposed to, I stopped her. I asked for a meeting with her and her Council ‘because I am assigned a duty I simply will not do.’ The next day Sister Constance said that the meeting would take place that afternoon. I told the Council, ‘It is not right to be segregated in a place like this. I just spent my years in high school and earlier fighting segregation. I know I was coming into a white world, but there is no excuse for this.’ Sister Mary Ransom Burke, bless her heart, said, ‘What would you suggest we do?’ I looked at her and said, ‘It’s just a partition between two dining rooms. If you have a ladder and screwdriver, I’ll take it down….Mother Lucille said, ‘We will have to have a conversation with the workers.’ I said ‘You didn’t have a conversation with them before. It was decided by the Council. I will not work in a segregated dining room, obedience or no obedience.’ Nothing else was said but in a week the partition was down and I took the duty. Many of the workers did not like it but it was down. In the hallway there was a white water fountain and a colored fountain. I said you also need to do something about those two fountains. So they did. Sister Mary Ransom later said ‘Thank you’ to me and so did Mother Lucille.”

Learn more about the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth here.

Sister Pat Haley (left) and Betty Collier, newly graduated from Holy Family Mission School, were featured in a local paper for their plans to enter religious communities.

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Our gift to you in honor of Giving Tuesday and the season of giving

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Monday 26, November 2018 Categories: Catholic culture

VISION has a gift for your in honor of Giving Tuesday: Our VISION Giving Calendar!

Click here to download. 

Find great ideas on the VISION Giving Calendar. Make every day of December a day of giving. 

Enjoy and thank you for giving! Feel free to share with others! 

#GivingTuesday

#ActLocally

#VISIONGivingCalendar

Donate to support VISION Vocation Network.

You talk. We'll listen. A conversation with young Catholics

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Tuesday 20, November 2018 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Mission & Evangelization,Catholic culture

The National Religious Vocation Conference, VISION's parent organization, hosted a conversation with young Catholics recently about their faith, their challenges, and how older Catholics can be of service to them. One youung person's advice to all Catholics: "Speak less. Pray more. Be faithful."

Find more highlights here:

Full session

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Olympic-sized theatrics add another dimension to the Sistine Chapel

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Tuesday 13, March 2018 Categories: Church History,Catholic culture
 

“Universal Judgment: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel," a new multimedia production celebrating the Sistine Chapel opens March 15, 2018 in Rome, according to Elisabetta Povoledo writing iin the New York Times. Notwithstanding a renowned artistic director, Marco Balich, and the theme song written by Sting, the shows choregrapher Fotis Nikolaou admits that "we can’t do anything bigger than Michelangelo, it’s like committing a sin to suggest that. We’re dialoguing with this masterpiece in the new forms of art, video, dance, theater. It’s like saying thank you to a masterpiece like the Sistine Chapel.”

According to the Times report, "As most sightseers to the real Sistine Chapel know, the visit isn’t always edifying. The hall, though large, is almost always packed, and even though silence is mandatory it can be noisy experience. Ensuring that visitors have a positive experience there 'is constantly on my mind,' said Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums, and a problem that still has to be resolved.

Ms. Jatta saw a rehearsal of the 'Universal Judgment' by artistic director Marco Balich and gave it a thumbs up. "It’s a delicate way to tell a beautiful story of faith, art and history," she says. And it communicates the Sistine Chapel "in a way that many generations can understand."

Asked whether she thought it could replace going to see the real thing, "No, sorry," she said.

Sisters and priests make beautiful music together

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Thursday 01, March 2018 Categories: Consecrated Life,Mission & Evangelization,Clergy,Catholic culture

Daughters of Charity Sister Liz Sjoberg and Sister Brenda Fritz love making music together. They've enjoyed themselves so much that they decided to invite other musicians to join in on the fun. Thus, after one week-end long session and lots of laughs, "Music Inspires: Beautiful Name" was born.

 

Musicans at Flatlander Studios (clockwise): Sr. Brenda Fritz, D.C.; Sr. Liz Sjoberg, D.C.; Sr. Stephanie Spandl, S.S.N.D.; Sr. Danielle Jacob, C.S.F.N.; Friar Thomas Fetz, O.F.M.Conv.; Bill Creamers, Diocesan Seminarian; Sr. Krystal Funk, A.S.C. (not shown).


The documentary video attests to the joy and inspiration that went into this faith-filled work of art.

Sister Liz said in an interview that she "would love for other groups of religious sisters, brothers, and priests and young people to carry on the spirit of artistic collaboration." Consider this your invitation to let the music inspire you to act. 

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