Monday, February 2, 2015

What You Might Be Surprised To Learn About Our New Religious

February 2, World Day for Consecrated Life, is a time for the Church to celebrate the gifts of men and women religious, especially during the Year for Consecrated Life, called for by Pope Francis. As in years past, the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocation commissioned a study of those who professed perpetual vows in religious communities in the United States in 2014.

Along with the statistical data of this report from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, this report gathered what could be called the surprising gifts of the Class of 2014. Heavily educated and diverse, respondents to the survey were asked to complete the prompt, "People might be surprised to learn that I..."

Here's what some of them said:

"...studied broadcasting before entering and I wanted to be a news reporter." - Sister Madeleine Schumacker, Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, Immaculate Heart of Mary Province

"...have had personal conversations with both "Weird Al" Yankovic and Richard Dawkins." - James Dominic (Alan Rooney), Dominican Friars (Order of Friars Preachers), Province of St. Albert the Great

"...was an engineer for 20 years before entering the Jesuits." - Thomas Frink, Society of Jesus, New England Province

"...started painting in oils at the age of 13. I worked for eight years in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. I have a 44 year old son who has finally gotten used to the idea that  his mother is a Sister of St. Francis." - Sister Anne Marie Saphara, Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

"...studied computer engineering for two years before entering the seminary. My goals before entering the religious life was to someday work at NASA." - Luis Cruz, Order of the Pious Schools (Piarist Fathers), Province of United States of America and Puerto Rico

"...graduated from Harvard University where I studied sociology and pursued pre-med requirements. Although I felt called to religious life from a young age, I was hesitant to share openly about it. It was not until I was engaged to be married that I knew for sure that God had made my heart to be totally His -- and He gave the grace to finally say yes to my religious vocation." - Sister Ann Kateri Hamm, Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal

"...practiced martial arts for 7 years and was a competitive runner prior to joining." - Alexandro Rubio, Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, Christ the Priest Province

" rock and alternative music. The wisdom, courage and depth of our elder sisters inspire me in my vocation and in my life of love and service to the people of God." - Sister Carrie Flood, Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

"...went to college at Harvard, taught at a university in Ukraine, and became a wine-maker my first year in the Order as a novice." - Ryan Thornton, Order of Friars Minor, Saint Barbara Province

"...was a software engineer that worked on the 4G network before I entered the convent. When I gave my two weeks notice, I was asked if I had found another job. My manager also offered me a raise if I would stay at my job. I told them I was going to enter the convent where I would have no money." - Sister Maria Jose Acosta, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

"...worked as a chemist before entering the Oblates and hope to continue teaching science as part of my future ministry." - Ryan Cronshaw, Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Wilmington-Philadelphia

"...attended UCLA before entering religious life and discerned my vocation with the support of a beautiful group of friends I found there." - Sister Agnes Maria Pineda, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

"...begged the Lord to let me go to college before calling me to be a sister. Always a gentleman, He pursued me after I graduated." - Sister Dominica Bickerton, Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation

"...really love to shovel snow." - Sister Maria Benedicta Mantia, Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregration

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