Monday, 21 November 2011

Younger sisters answer the spiritual call

It was a lovely surprise to read this today, and I just had to share it with you all. We know each of these beautiful women pictured and Courtney as well. A very vibrant order of nuns.
November 19, 2011

Sisterhood ... nuns from the Missionaries of God's Love. From left, Sister Therese Mills, Courtney Chircop, Sister Rosie Drum and Sister Judy Bowe. Photo: Wolter Peeters
SURPRISES are common at school reunions, but Therese Mills offered up a real revelation.
''One of my friends went, 'oh yeah, I brought the nun,'' she said. ''And a fella we went to school with said, 'you brought the what?' ''
' 'Millsy, she's a nun'. And he was like, 'no way!' A lot of them were really spun out.''
Be it a radical life decision or a counter-cultural call from God, a small but significant number of young women are now bucking the usual trifecta of marriage, kids and career for another one - the chastity, poverty and obedience of religious life.
The number of women interested in vocations is up, reports the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, with inquiries coming from a much younger age group.
The growth of the Missionaries of God's Love (MGL) - a charismatic Catholic order founded in Canberra in 1986 - has left Sister Therese, now 37, and her 11 fellow nuns searching for a larger formation house. They have an average age of about 30.
Three new candidates in their early 20s, attracted by the MGL's ''radical'' vow of poverty, its special ministry to youth and its call to a life with God, are set to join them in the order's rented Quakers Hill household next year, helping boost its numbers from three to eight.
Among them will be Courtney Chircop, 22, who says she was attracted to a religious life but trained as a childcare worker before taking heed of some of her peers.
''I had some friends who wanted to join religious life, and one of them was only 17, and I thought that was pretty cool,'' she said.
But Ms Chircop said the prevailing reaction to her decision was shock, particularly her parents, who realised they would never be grandparents.
''They were like, 'can you have a kid and then get into religious life? We'll raise the child,' '' she said. ''It's taken a while for them to get used to it … overall, they just wanted what's best for me and what makes me happy.''
The order's Sister Judy Bowe, 46, said in an increasingly secular Australia, their lifestyle didn't make sense outside of faith. Chastity, in particular, was ''the nose ring of the church''.
''Because it's radical and sex is everything in this culture,'' she said. ''It's kind of a shocking symbol of counter-cultural 'wow'.''
A further nine Australian women, aged 18 to 36, have signed up with the habit-wearing Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia, a Nashville-based order that established its first mission house outside the US in Sydney in 2008. Four of these were in August.
The local superior and vocations director, Sister Mary Rachel Capets, said there was ''definitely'' a renewed global interest in young people dedicating their lives to God. The 150-year-old teaching order, at 280 sisters, is now as big as it has ever been.
Working with youth made an important difference to promoting vocation, she said.
''If you looked at the history of World Youth Day throughout the world, that is a definite fruit,'' she said.
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Therese said...

We know Sr Judy. She was in Adelaide when we were a part of the disciples of Jesus.

Leanne said...

Hi Therese,Yes Sr Judy is from our area, so she aways comes up this way and has her family, pop in to see her. She is really sweet. We have gotten to know all of them over the years. Looking forward to catching up with again at SSE12. Thanks for dropping by. Leanne

Sue Elvis said...

What a wonderful story, Leanne!

Leanne said...

Hi sue, Yes It is a good story. We love the MGLs can't wait to see them at summer school.
God Bless


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