babies and adults, and brings God’s
healing presence to people through
the sacraments of Penance and
Anointing of the Sick. He is involved
in a variety of other works as well—
most often parish-related—but sacramental life is his special ministry.
6. What’s the difference
between a sister and a nun?
Although people use these terms
interchangeably, a sister is a woman
who belongs to an apostolic, or active,
religious order that is dedicated to
ministry, such as education, justice,
healthcare, parish work, advocacy, or
social service. By contrast, a nun is a
sister who belongs to a contemplative
monastery where most of her day is
dedicated to prayer for the good of
the world. Contemplative nuns are
usually cloistered, that is, they rarely
leave the monastery property.
7. How are religious orders
different from one another?
A religious priest is a member
of a religious congregation whose
ministry goes beyond the geographic
limits of any diocese. A religious
priest seeks to live a life of poverty,
celibacy, and obedience within a
community of men. The community
shares a common vision and spirituality and often emphasizes a particular type of ministry.
5. What’s the difference
between a brother and a priest?
A brother is a layman who commits himself to Christ by the vows
of poverty, celibacy, and obedience.
He usually lives in a religious community and works in a ministry that
suits his talents and gifts. A brother
might be a teacher, electrician, cook,
lawyer, technician, parish minister,
or artist. He tries to live his faith by
being a “brother” to others.
A priest is ordained for a distinc-
tive role as a minister of the sacra-
ments. He celebrates the Eucharist
and witnesses marriages, baptizes
SIS TER DEBORAH BORNEMAN, SS.C.M.
THOSE in religious
life highly value
prayer and the
R.G. S. (left) receives
the Communion cup.
to adjust to these changes. We often
depend on the support of our communities or the help of a spiritual
director (someone like a coach) to
help us keep praying during difficult
times. Those of us who are parish
priests have our parish communities and our fellow priests to lead us
toward prayer even when we’d rather
not be bothered. We try to be faithful
even when we don’t feel like it.
4. What’s the difference
between a diocesan priest and
a religious priest?
A diocesan priest ordinarily serves
the church within a geographic area
called a diocese. He usually serves
the people as a parish priest, but he
may also be involved in many other
forms of ministry like teaching, hospital ministry, campus ministry, or
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