When someone believes the Holy Spirit is nudging him or her to begin another religious community, it takes a lot of courage to follow through with that calling. Yet, when he calls, we just go. His calling to us is one way a religious community comes to fruition. Our community began in 1997. Since then, we have received numerous vocations, and we continue to be very blessed by God with this.
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Now, what does this translate to if I’m referring to missions? When a young woman goes through the novitiate and completes her vows and her education, she will be sent on what we call a mission. In so many words, a mission is a smaller convent in a different part of the world where a young woman will be assigned to live and teach in a particular community.
When we send the sisters out, they live the very same daily schedule as they do at the Motherhouse. That is the beauty of entering religious life; there is a comforting consistency in living out your faith no matter where you are. Because our monastic schedule stays the same, we know what we will be doing no matter where in the world we may be. When we send sisters on a mission, we typically send out at least four to allow us to lead the best possible monastic life. Depending on many variables such as the needs and size of the school, we might send more.
The beautiful thing is that people today want sisters back in Catholic schools, so there is a great demand. At the present moment, we have well over 400 invitations to visit various schools.
People have long made huge sacrifices so that their children could go to a Catholic school and be taught by sisters. Many families have moved to ensure that their children would be taught by sisters. In the case of my family, my parents turned down promising and appealing job opportunities knowing that those jobs wouldn’t have been worth the payoff if their children could not be educated by sisters.
If it wasn’t for my Catholic education, would I be a sister today? I had a beautiful family who sent me out to school. I saw the reverence and love my parents had for the sisters. The sisters took me in, and as I grew up with them, they became like family to me. That is something I can say for my current community of sisters teaching all over the world: we really do know and love all of those with and around us.
Looking back, I could laugh thinking about my parents’ daily inquisitions at the dinner table. They asked about what I had learned in religion class that day. When any answer deviated away from religion class, they always refocused the conversation by asking, “But what did you learn in religion class?” It wasn’t until I became an adult and reflected back that I realized that my parents were trying to vicariously learn the faith through my siblings and me. They didn’t have the opportunities that we did to learn and actualize our own faith; my mother grew up as a Southern Baptist, and my father, from an immigrant family from Poland, did not have the money to go to Catholic school. Through my siblings and me, the sisters were also teaching my parents. And that is exactly what we try to do today.
What the Dominican order works to teach through all of the sisters and their missions is the truth. What we want and what we desire is holiness for you; we want you to know the truth. There is joy in taking a moment to reflect on the many sisters scattered all over the world and to think about where they are, who they are teaching, whose parents they are reaching, whose lives they are touching, and beyond. When we get home to heaven, it’s going to be so neat to see how all of these interconnecting webs came together to make up this portion of that great mystical body of Christ.
We are currently in over 15 dioceses and over 25 different schools, but these numbers fluctuate on a day-to-day basis. We are now in the following cities: Phoenix, Arizona; Buda, Texas; Sacramento, California; Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; Worthington, Ohio; Washington DC; Georgetown, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Peoria, Illinois; Lansing, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan; St. Claire Shores, Michigan; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; Houston, Texas; and St. Paul, Minnesota. We now even have four sisters in Rome, two of which are librarians at the Pontifical North American College and the Casa Santa Maria. The other two are studying for their advanced degrees at the Angelicum Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. Evidently, our sisters are in missions all over the world.
Let us go out and take the truth that we have been given and challenge ourselves to learn more, to actually put forth our desires, to study, to discipline ourselves, to get good books, to share good books, to begin reading communities, and to encourage discussions with those around us. Thank you for being here, and may God bless you.
Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP is a Foundress and Vocations Director for the Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Her Podcast “And The Truth Shall Set You Free” Can be downloaded every Friday at 1:00 p.m. EST from iTunes. The Podcast can be seen on YouTube at: GoLEDigital.
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