provides my sisters and me withcompanions for the journey. We arenot family, yet living in communitygives us the opportunity to live intentionally through shared decisionsregarding what it means to live livesof simplicity, service, and prayer asa group.
Such decisions and communalliving are based on two things: ourcharism and our vows.
Charism and vows
Every congregation of sisters has a
unique charism (i.e., the manner in
which a group lives out its gospel
call). From Franciscan Sisters to
Sisters of Saint Joseph, Adorers of
the Precious Blood to Handmaids of
the Sacred Heart, each community
brings its own unique flavor to how
its members live the gospel, unit-
ing them in their life as religious
Just as charism unites sistersin community, publicly professedvows ground and distinguish ourlives through our public witness tothe gospel. While a woman livinga single life may make her owncommitments, a sister vows to livea life according to the “evangelical counsels” (or vows) of chastity,poverty, and obedience. These vowshelp define religious life. In poverty,chastity, and obedience, I give mylife completely to God, witnessingto something greater than myself,affirming my sole reliance on God.
The vows reflect the way sisters are called to live and love. Inpoverty, we choose to live simply,proclaiming our dependence onGod alone for all we truly need inlife. In chastity, we declare the onlylove to which we are truly given isthat of God—a love from which allother love comes. And in obedience,we vow to listen attentively to thecall of God and the ways in whichthe Spirit is active in our lives, communities, and the world.
Public witness to faith
The public profession of vows islived daily by sisters. Having thetitle “Sister” before your namemakes you a public witness to thefaith. You are a public representativeof the church, your congregation,and faith in action at every moment.
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Sr. Barbara O’Kane, MPF email@example.com filippiniusa.org
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