by Therese Horvat
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When my niece was a toddler and her baby sister arrived, the older child was somewhat puzzled that the newborn didn’t have a veil or wear a habit. She had been around Catholic Sisters enough to associate those exterior signs with the concept of sisterhood. That was almost 25 years ago.
As we observe the first-ever National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14, it occurred to me that there are children today who may never have had the good fortune of meeting or knowing a Sister. To remedy that loss, those of us who have experienced Sisters can pay tribute to those who have influenced our lives by sharing a story or two with sons and daughters, grandkids, nieces and nephews or other acquaintances. We can help them understand what it means to be a Sister.
Let them know that Sisters are women who have dedicated their lives totally to God. Earthly possessions and stuff aren’t important to them. They focus on the big things like goodness, justice and the dignity of all human beings. They give up marriage and families of their own to be able to give more freely and completely of themselves in service to others. They most typically live in community with other Sisters who share the same values and commitments.
Sisters come in different “brands.” They belong to a variety of religious communities or orders, each of which takes on the mission or “charism” of their founders and their founding traditions. For example, in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, there are Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Little Sisters of the Lamb, Benedictine Sisters, Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and others — all of whom share similarities as Sisters, yet have differences based on their origins and development.
Sisters serve in many different ways. They are teachers in schools, universities and other settings. They do health care ministries through direct patient care and in administrative roles. Some Sisters pray around the clock for all of us. Others work in social service agencies or parishes, as campus ministers or counselors, in church offices or foreign missions. Many Sisters have a special devotion to reaching out to persons who are poor or underserved. They witness through service, prayer and presence.
Sisters are real people, too. They enjoy a good time, and they are generally characterized by happy spirits and peace of mind. They trust in the Lord and work wholeheartedly to serve God’s people, especially those in need.
The Catholic Church is many times blessed to have Sisters among its members. They deserve this special week to highlight their good works, their boundless contributions and their deep commitment. The week also has the potential of encouraging young women to consider religious vocations.
Thank you to all the Sisters who have graced and shaped my life. Blessings in abundance for the goodness you have shared.
Sisters in the archdiocese
In the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, there are almost 500 Sisters.
Among those with convents, motherhouses, provincial houses, or other forms of residence here are:
- The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (www.scls.org)
- The Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica (www.mountosb.org)
- The Sisters, Servants of Mary (www.sistersservantsofmary.com) and
- The Little Sisters of the Lamb
Two public associations of the faithful are also based here:
- Association of the Apostles of the Interior Life (www.apostlesofil.org)
- Franciscan Servants of the Holy Family
Finally, there are women religious from 12 other communities currently serving in the archdiocese.