Why Religious Life?
In 2004, I had a career and a house. Life was good. But while I was happy, something was missing. I was living life for myself and felt disconnected. I needed to be part of something bigger than the little world I created. People would tell me, “You don’t have to join a religious community. Something or someone will come around soon. Hang in there.”
But Religious life is not settling. It is a life full of adventure, purpose, mission and love. The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities was just what I was searching for. And in the 16 years since I entered, that is exactly what I found.
God is calling men and women to a life of prayer, community and service today and will continue to call people until the end of time. Since 2011, vocations are on the rise and people of all ages are entering religious life. According the 2020 CARA study, there are over 500 postulants in the United States. My community has one candidate and a few who are nearing application phase. We are addressing the needs of the world by giving those who need it a listening ear, providing health care, education, pastoral care, and spiritual direction. We are involved in social justice and offer legal aid to refugees and newcomers to our country. We use whatever gifts and talents we have to serve God and neighbor.
Today’s world is a Global Community, increasing opportunities for women interested in addressing the needs God’s people. Women today are asking for more time to discern God’s call and more programs to assist them. This is why the Sisters of St. Francis started a House of Discernment in Pittsburgh in 2019. In close to three years, I have had nine participants staying at the house from a few months up to a year. Women are searching for intentional living experiences to grow in their faith, discern their next path, and deepen their prayer life. They leave the house with a better understanding of religious life and whether bringing the love of God and neighbor wherever they go as a Religious is for them. I also hold a discernment group every Monday at 8 p.m. via Zoom. It is an opportunity for women discerning religious life to see that they are not alone, and others are discerning as well. Discernment today takes time and space to listen and follow God’s call and the Sisters of St. Francis are ready to help in any way we can.
If you are interested in any of these programs or if you feel that religious life would be a viable option for you or someone you know, do not be afraid to reach out. Visit our website at sosf.org and learn more about who we are and what we do and how you can help. I love my life as a religious sister. It challenges me every day to love God and neighbor. May God enfold you in love and courage to follow in Jesus’ footprints.