Visitation Sisters get proactive about new members

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Wednesday 31, March 2010 | Category:   Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life

In the 2004 issue of VISION magazine we ran an item about the Visitation Sisters of Minneapolis, who for 20 years have opened the doors of their Old Highland area homes to neighbors in need of food, shelter, other physical necessities, or just someone to talk with. They reach out especially to children and families, offering toys, crafts, games, snacks, and activities such as baking and trips to karate lessons. If friends and neighbors arrive during prayer time, they are invited to join the sisters in their chapel, which is consciously located next to the front door.

Baking party at the sisters' house
Now, says a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune by Carolyn Mann, the sisters “are waging a multimedia campaign to draw more women” to their community. They are seeking to double their membership, to 14, and their efforts include news releases, bulletin announcements at parishes, Facebook (they have over 300 fans), and blogging."For a long time we've wanted new members, but we just took the bull by the horns this year," says Sister Katherine Mullin, V.H.M.

Their effort began last January with the launch of a new website. With a group of supporters they call Vocation Partners the sisters are also developing a strategic plan to attract women between 20 and 45 years old. Outreach will include “live in” experiences and “nonthreatening” ways to attract people, like hosting dinners and information sessions, says Sister Joanna O'Meara, V.H.M.

"The effort is really to shout out with a loud voice, 'We're here, we're here!' " O'Meara said. "We want to be able to continue here. Certainly there are many things we could be about, but we need more members to do it, for kind of practical reasons."

Their community, says Sister Suzanne Homeyer, V.H.M., offers young women an opportunity "to combine their spirituality, religion, and life in the real world."

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