What does this mean in simple terms? The word “apostolic” derives from the word “apostle”, referring to one of the first followers of Jesus. The apostles, afire with the mission of their Lord, went out to all the world telling the Good News. To be apostolic women links us with the urgency of that original christian mission as carried out in the Church throughout the world.
To make a “vow” is to formalize one’s intent into a sustained commitment by professing that commitment in the group to which one belongs. To make a vow as a woman religious is as serious as the marriage vow. It is recognized within the Church as binding forever. The Sisters of St. Mary make three vows: poverty, chastity and obedience.
To live a life of faith can be daunting; believing and living by “what the eye cannot see” requires absolute risk-taking on every level. The Sisters recognize, and deeply value, the tremendous love and caring support experienced when living out their faith commitment together in community.
SISTERS' PERSONAL STORIES
My vocation story spans 50+ years. It includes years of gratitude, celebration and ministry to the poor. For me, being a Sister of St. Mary of Namur is a tapestry of love. From the beginning, the Sisters invited me to share a bit of their life. Their hospitality, friendship, simplicity, joy, dedication and outreach to the poor taught me what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. This was also at the heart of my choosing to answer the call to be a Sister of St. Mary. I have been nourished by prayer, and liturgical and community celebrations. Being a member of an international congregation is also a gift I treasure. Through my ministry of evangelization, education and working together with a variety of groups, especially the National Black Sisters Conference, I have experienced such joy and love. Over the years, I have been blessed and enriched. I keep before me our motto, “In the simplicity of my heart, I joyfully give all to God.” Being a Sister of St. Mary is an amazing grace. To God be the glory…
Sister Roberta Fulton, SSMN
April 1, 2020
God can never be outdone in generosity!! No matter how much we try to be generous in our life’s mission, God always gives back a hundred-fold and more.
I can still remember the day I entered the Sisters of St. Mary at 18 yrs. old and with youthful enthusiasm dreamed about all I would do for God. Needless to say, at 76, I now have plenty of wisdom and experience to know it is God who does for us. With his unconditional love, we are guided, gifted, empowered to be his presence in this world, if we allow his Spirit to work within us.
The blessings I have received are like the stars God showed Abraham---impossible to count! Many times I reflect on them so that I may never forget God’s love and faithfulness.
To be a disciple is not without cost. Throughout my life I’ve had to learn to ‘let go’ of my strong will, take leaps of faith, and trust wholeheartedly that what seemed like darkness would come to light in God’s time. Yes, sacrifices were made but nothing worthwhile in life is without cost.
I thank God for that special grace to have said ‘yes’ when I was young and pray for his grace to be faithful as I near my journey’s end.
And remember for your life, God will never be outdone in generosity!
Sister Ann Marie Grasso
When I was a young Sister of St. Mary, I knew exactly what my future would hold. I taught Math and gave piano lessons. Some day I would retire and read books. WRONG! The Lord had different plans. I was sent to South Carolina where I stayed for 20 years, getting my degree in Special Education and teaching severely mentally challenged children and adults. It was the best experience of my life and I loved it. This was followed by 6 years of being teacher and principal of the Cantalician School-North Campus. Here once again I worked with challenged children. Our new Center opened in 2015 and I went there to retire and read books. WRONG! The minute we got into our building, called St. Mary Center, our neighbors, the Somali Bantu, asked if we could help their children, who had just come from Kenya, to learn English and Math. Of course, we couldn’t resist. This friendship developed into obtaining a farm for the men. They were farmers in Somalia. While we can’t dig, we do other tasks, such as collecting glass jars for flowers, selling flowers, making labels, etc. I have a garden myself so I often start seed plants for them. I’ve given up any plans for retirement. I’m too busy. Next time I retire, 6 men will roll the casket out the door. And when I meet my Maker, he will have a little child on one arm and a package of seeds on another. And he’ll be smiling!
Sr. Kathleen Dougherty
April 30, 2020
Join the convent; see the world!
For eight years, I served at SS. Columba Brigid Church, a multicultural parish on the East Side of Buffalo. An opportunity to study Spanish in Puerto Rico opened up and I was delighted to accept. Although I spent five weeks in an Intensive Study Program, I must admit that I did not master the language. However, the experience was unforgettable. Each day the sun was shining, the people dressed in bright colors, the flowers were vivid. For one week, I lived with a family who were more interested in learning English than in teaching me Spanish. I am forever grateful to have experienced the beauty of the land, and the warmth and friendliness of the beautiful people of Puerto Rico.
S. Ann Louise Hentges
May 1, 2020
Praying with the Scriptures has been very important and has enriched me with many blessings, especially in my later years. One way I share this love is my ministry to a group of women who gather once a month for scripture sharing. Another group for sharing scripture is with our Sisters who are in the Wellness Wing at St. Mary Center. Each Sunday morning we meet and review the Sunday Gospel or one of the parables that works well for ‘walking through’ it. Picturing ourselves in the scripture passage, enables us to understand how it gives meaning to our everyday lives.
Sister Beth Hays
May 2, 2020
St. George Parish is a small community, approximately 200 families. We are located south of Buffalo amid rolling hills and farmland. My role as Pastoral Administrator is to manage the day to day operations of the parish. This includes mundane tasks such as purchasing everything from candles to paper goods as well as ministerial roles such as visiting the ill and meeting with the bereaved to prepare funerals. Our sacramental minister is an 80-something retired priest who is well loved by the community. He and I have collaborated very well for the past four years. The pause in gathering as a community during the Covid 19 pandemic has been a strain on parish life. We do, however, maintain a website and publish our weekly bulletin and Father Jim's Sunday homilies for those able to access the internet. We eagerly await the ability to again join together as a parish to worship and celebrate Eucharist.
Sister Lori High
May 2, 2020
Sister Lori is Parish Administrator at St. George in West Fall, NY