Why do our Sisters serve?
A young woman crossed the threshold of 20 Manet Road in Chestnut Hill to begin formation as a Franciscan sister. Inside one of the classrooms where the novices learned their prescribed Latin courses, the teacher wrote on the clock, "Tempus fugit," or "Time flies."
Little did the young woman know how the experience in that classroom would shape her life. In the years following, her vocation carried her across the Archdiocese of Boston as a teacher. She taught in Newton, Methuen and Roslindale. In addition, her travels as provincial took her to Canada, Australia, Papua Guinea, England and Peru. In her ministry, she wrestled with poverty, violence, lack of quality education -- and for what? Why did she carry on?
Now, 50 years later, I know why that woman described above, like so many religious sisters, persevered in ministry. They did not serve for a combined 54,000 years simply because they enjoyed the work. They served because God entrusted a vocation to serve his people to them.
I am that sister described above. All sisters share a common vocation to serve. Some work in education, nursing, social work, home and health care, immigration services, and service to the missions. Our contemplative sisters pray without ceasing for the needs of the Church. Each of us responds to our vocation, accepts our work and loves God's people relying on one person: Jesus Christ.
As we celebrated our jubilees a few weeks ago, each of us saw retrospectively how God called us, nurtured us in prayer, guided our ministry and invited us to become a cooperator in his mission on earth. We gave thanks to him for the opportunity to serve those most in need; however, today, we find ourselves in a position of need.
As we advance in age (and perhaps some wisdom too!), 80 percent of retirement expenses go unmet by Social Security benefits. I ask you to consider supporting the retired sisters who have served the Archdiocese of Boston through the special collection on Nov. 18-19. No matter the contribution, we appreciate your willingness to help us.
- SISTER SUZANNE FONDINI, MFIC IS THE PRINCIPAL OF ST. MONICA SCHOOL IN METHUEN AND RECENTLY CELEBRATED 50 YEARS IN CONSECRATED LIFE.