Religious order brings message of life, trust to Cowtown
FORT WORTH — Three Sisters of Life from New York traveled to St. Andrew Parish and spoke on three subsequent days, reminding parishioners of their worth and God’s love. After their final talk on April 1, they visited with students at St. Andrew Catholic School and Nolan Catholic High School, concluding their visit with prayer on the sidewalks of Planned Parenthood.
Deacon Kevin Bagley said he learned about the sisters “through their good work and reputation, and a parish family has a daughter progressing through formation to be a Sister of Life.” He was encouraged to bring them to St. Andrew because, “We believe that life begins at conception, and having religious women who have committed themselves to the cause of life is an important message.”
The late Archbishop of New York Cardinal John O’Connor and eight women started the Sisters of Life community in 1991. Since then, they have spread to a handful of cities in the U.S. and Canada, with more than 100 sisters in the order. Their mission includes giving support to pregnant women and women who have suffered after an abortion.
Olga Watson, Director of Campus Ministry at Nolan, said the sisters had lunch with students and played dodgeball with them. “It’s important that students can get to know religious and see they are real people.”
The sisters told students about their order and their journeys that led them to a religious vocation.
At the first evening talk at St. Andrew Parish, Sister Mary Grace, SV, spoke on how to trust God in real life. That requires rest, she said, and understanding that God is in control.
She reminded listeners to be patient and that Jesus works even during the waiting periods of life. Sr. Mary Grace encouraged her audience to “ask Jesus how have you created me to love here and now?”
The sister also told the crowd to “stand up straight” and have confidence. Eating with others and having communion with people “strengthens the body of the Church.”
She shared another tip: “pick up prayer and don’t put it down. Think about when, where, and how long to pray.” She said trust “lets God remind you of who He is and who you are, sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.” Her final tip is “let Jesus love you. Love sets us free to be ourselves.”
The second night Sister Marie Veritas, SV, spoke on “three ways to invite peace: prayer, rest, and communion.” She said people can’t have peace without prayer. “Lack of rest can make us prone to temptations. Peace comes from letting His light fill us and transform us.”
She described how Catholics are to be in communion with others and “being at odds with others disturbs our peace.”
Sr. Marie explained that when a woman in need comes to the sisters, the first thing they do is have a tea party, and the sisters listen to her. The sisters then celebrate her life and the life of her unborn child and let her know that her life is a gift from God. She said “unforgiveness is the greatest block to peace.”
Sr. Mary Grace gave the third talk and spoke more on trusting in God.
“God’s perfect love casts out all fear,” she said. “Trust in God and we are restored.”
We are not defined by what we can do and God’s love for us is unconditional, she added. “God loves us on our worst day. No sin is bigger than God’s ocean of mercy. Sins don’t define us.”
Sr. Mary Grace said even though we suffer “God suffers with us in every experience and the suffering is not meaningless and can do powerful work for the world. His peace carries us on.”
Dcn. Bagley said parishioners warmly welcomed the sisters. “It is always a special time when we can see religious women wearing habits at a parish church and interacting with the parishioners.”
The Sisters of Life also promote their work through SistersofLife.org, their seasonal magazine Imprint, and their “Let Love” podcast.
By Amanda Deats-Coello, North Texas Catholic