Sharing your desire to be a sister with family and friends can be challenging, especially if they only envision their teacher — wearing a habit — standing at the head of the class before the late 1960s after Vatican II when many religious communities chose to wear everyday clothing more reflective of modern times? “Refinery 29” recently published the article “What Convent Life Is Really Like In 2017,” and Show me a sign invites you to share the conversation with those around you who don’t necessarily understand what it means to live religious life — in life style and ministry — today.
Sister Winifred teaching at Aquinas High School in her habit
Sister Laura teaching at Viterbo University today
"As is often the case with mainstream religions," begins the article in which Sisters of St. Joseph Karen Burke speaks to "faith, service and living as a nun," "misconceptions about sisters and their congregations abound."
First introductions often spark confusion as she says she hears, "'Oh, sisters don’t wear habits anymore?' or some other remark on her everyday outfit of jeans and a sweatshirt. While women in other orders may choose to wear a full habit, many congregations no long require it, the Sisters of St. Joseph included."
As Sister Sarah shares, we can relate.
"Sister Karen tells us that the Sisters of St. Joseph has always worked in the fields of education and health care, but in the past few years they've concerned themselves with, of all things, environmentalism ..."
As Sister Lucy ministers, we can relate.
"Sister Karen describes her decision to leave her career as an educator as a "leap of faith," adding that it surely won't be her last. "Through my own faith and through my own prayer and spirituality, my life will continue to change."
As Show me a sign recently explored career changes as a Catholic sister, we can relate.
Amidst changes in religious life and the growing needs in our world one constant is sisters' commitments to follow the Gospel and serve those in need. Whether their service takes them to classrooms, parishes, spirituality centers, organic farms or liminal spaces of our borders, sisters will find a way to meet today's needs.
What do articles like these do to spark your imagination about discerning life as a religious sister? We invite you to share it and www.fspa.org with your family and friends and show them a sign of what it looks like to live religious life today.