Nuns (I’m using the term loosely–I mean Sisters) in America are really going through it these days. And, that stinks because nuns are awesome. They are the butt-kickers of the Church. They get things done, and do it right. But, lately, their work and their methods (and I’m not talking about ruling with an iron…well, ruler—those days are long gone) have been called into question. It has been a painful time for many of our Sisters, no matter how faithful to the teachings and practices of the Church they have been. There has been an outpouring of support (thank God) from Catholics in the media, and Catholics across the country letting the good Sisters know that they are appreciated for doing the work that all of us should be doing—educating, caring and advocating for the poorest of the poor, helping the sick and grieving, fighting for the rights of people that are often forgotten—living the corporal works of mercy every single day. The work that they do is super important, and our Church could not afford to replace them with lay people if they ever decided to walk off the job.
Many of our lives were affected and even shaped in part by the tenderness and direction of the Sisters who work in our schools, parishes and hospitals. I know that, if it weren’t for certain Sisters in my young life, I might not have pursued the vocation in ministry that I have. Sr. Laura, my elementary school principal, helped plant the seeds of vocation for me. She showed me with her kindness and thoughtfulness what it means to be Christ to others. Sisters Nick, Miriam, Judy and Maria, throughout my college experience, encouraged me to see the gifts that God had given me and to allow myself to be led by God’s plan for me. More recently, Sr. Eileen, my co-worker and kindred spirit, has helped to keep me focused and sane(ish) in my job. Working with her is a joy, and the compassion, wisdom and friendship that she brings to every situation that we face is invaluable to me and the others we work with.
This is my shout-out to the Sisters who have ministered to me. If you have a Sister who touched your life that you would want to thank, now is a good time to do it. Like all of us, they need to know that the Church cares for them, as they have cared for us.