October 27, 2015 // Local

St. Charles’ vocation committee hosts religious sisters vocations evening

From left, Franciscan Sisters Karol Ann, Maria Gemma and Augustine discuss their order, the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration.

FORT WAYNE — A room erupting with laughter and joy was the meeting place for over 20 young women drawn to learn more about religious life. Present to share their own discernment journey were five Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist and three Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. Additionally, Father Jacob Meyer, parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo, offered his knowledge of the Poor Sisters of St. Clare, a cloistered group of religious women living at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery at St. Andrew Church in Fort Wayne.

Months earlier, when several high school students had asked for the opportunity to talk and interact with sisters from different orders in a casual atmosphere, Father Meyer replied, “I can make that happen!” The energetic gathering Wednesday evening in St. Charles’ Hession Center was the byproduct of his promise.

Dave Stevens, the head of the parish’s Vocation Committee, established in the mid ‘90s, commented on their planning process. “Hosting only three orders seemed to be our biggest barrier because we were concerned that by choosing three, we might be eliminating others. We shifted our approach to one of simply promoting the concept of women religious and allowing the Holy Spirit to come in and help the young women decide what to do after experiencing the evening.”

Father Jacob Meyer, at left, parochial vicar of St. Charles Borromeo Church opens with prayer at the Evening with Women Religious at the parish. Father Meyer offered his knowledge of the Poor Sisters of St. Clare, a cloistered group of religious women living at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery at St. Andrew Church in Fort Wayne.

The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, with their mother house in Mishawaka, enthusiastically shared about their order. Inspired by St. Francis of Assisi’s’ love for the Eucharist, their charism of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel gives their order a uniqueness. Encouraging everyone to send them prayer requests via their website, young Sister Mary Augustine, second-year novice, relayed her thoughts, “It is beautiful to think that we can be intercessors for you. Our spiritual motherhood comes in when we are privileged to take in your needs as our own and present them to Jesus.”

Connecting the power of their prayer as it bears fruit in their active apostolates, second-year novice, Sister Karol, expanded on their charism. “Like St. Francis, through following the magisterium of the Church, we strive to integrate our mission into healthcare upholding the dignity of life while working in over a dozen hospitals in Indiana and Illinois.” On the academic level, the order has sisters teaching grade school, high school and college classes. She noted, “It’s amazing to see the Holy Spirit working through us, planting seeds, which bring the faith fully alive in those we instruct.”

Ranging from grade school to college age, those who came to learn did so for a variety of reasons: curiosity, friendship, serious discernment and simply the desire to be in the presence of joy. “I have been on several retreats with the sisters and I love spending time with them!” said Claire, a student at the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist had two young postulants along to share their discernment stories with interested attendees. Sister Abigail and Sister Racheal, having entered the order this past August, enjoyed an hour of one on one with a table of young ladies. “My family and my parish, especially all the great priests we were blessed to know personally, played a big part in my decision” said Sister Abigail. Her chosen order shares the beauty and awe of the Catholic faith with its tradition of being active in preaching and teaching, and contemplative with a strong devotion to Mary and the Eucharist.

With Father Meyer being a spiritual director for many of the Poor Sisters of St. Clare, he spoke of his precious time spent with them though their cloistered, contemplative calling prevents them from being out in the world. “While their enclosure may separate them from the concerns of this world, their faith allows them to take those same concerns on their shoulders. By offering all their prayers and sacrifices for the sake of those in need, they advance our conversion and their own holiness.”

His message to the young women was passionate and heartfelt. “They would want you to know that by their complete and radical trust that God will provide, He has done more than satisfy their material needs. Through prayer, silence, faith and community they have been given an abundance of joy!”

“I really value the power and beauty of Adoration,” said Emma, a high school student discerning her religious calling. “I know the charism of the Perpetual Adoration chapel is a strong reason I am drawn to the Sisters of St. Francis.”

The importance of the evening was further validated when Sister Maria Gemma added, “When a young woman is attracted to a charism of an order, the Holy Spirit may be gently guiding her towards who she is to become rather than what she is to do.”


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