The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal Spend the Day at St. Mary’s

The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal Spend the Day at St. Mary’s

On Thursday, December 6th, the students and faculty of the schools of St. Mary’s were privileged with a special visit from the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, who later that evening presented the parish Advent Mission. As part of this “mission day,” the Sisters gave witness to the beauty of their vocation and provided time for prayer, silence, and Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. We were visited by four of the Franciscans: Sister Kolbe, Sister John Paul, Sister Maria Teresa, and Sister Josephine.

The Community of Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal was established in 1988 in New York with Fr. Andrew Apostoli of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal as Founding Father. The sisters have three locations in New York, a location in Atlantic City, NJ, one in Ireland, and one in England. They serve in poor neighborhoods, reaching out to those in the inner-city who may be in need. The sisters live out their vocations to sanctify their lives in simplicity according to the ideals of Saint Francis, and in a rich spiritual life of personal and communal prayer, daily Eucharistic adoration, and special devotions. The sisters’ apostolic mission is work with the poor and homeless and evangelization. Most of these joyful sisters are still quite young, and no college degree is necessary to join. The sisters encourage young women wishing to learn more to reach out, including for visitations. You can read more about the sisters here.

The sisters began the day on Thursday by visiting classes, and in the afternoon Sister Kolbe and Sister Maria Teresa ate lunch with the high schoolers in Marist Hall while Sister John Paul and Sister Josephine socialized with the elementary school students. Students gathered eagerly around the sisters, asking questions and sharing laughs and stories. Freshman Hannah Turck was so moved by their witness that she asked Sister Kolbe for a hug! It was clear that the presence of the Franciscan sisters brought joy, curiosity, and excitement to the students, some of whom had never seen a fully-habited nun before.

The high school students were blessed to participate in Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with the sisters. Sister Kolbe led Lectio Divina–reading from and praying with a Scripture passage–while Sister Josephine lent her musical talents to enrich the reverent atmosphere. Father Bob and Father Jiha exposed the Eucharist and were assisted by student altar servers. This time away from the noise, bustle, and stress of student life was welcome by many, with high schoolers expressing feeling “calmed” or “refreshed” during and after Adoration. Many students were impressed with the sense of genuine happiness radiating from the sisters. Some had never before considered that a person could be so transformed in service to the Church.

The parish and school community of St. Mary’s is grateful for the testimony and gifts of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal! You can experience the beauty of their visit with the photo gallery linked here.