World Day for Consecrated Life was celebrated in a most extraordinary way at the weekend Masses Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, when each parish was given the opportunity to hear about consecrated life from a local religious sister or priest. Four religious priests and 26 sisters spoke at parishes across the Diocese of Dodge City. Each spoke of the blessings of consecrated life, the gift of God’s calling, and the gift of their vocation.
“How do people get called or attracted to such a life?” asked Sister Amy McFrederick, who was unable to attend, but whose message was read at parishes in Kinsley and Offerle. “Some get to know a Religious Sister or Brother, like what they see and inquire further; some receive a direct call from God in the form of an inspiration or a quiet thought that won’t go away until they check it out.
“Today many are attracted by visiting a Religious groups’s website or the Facebook on the internet,” she said.
“Men and women who embrace this way of life come to Christ much the same way the apostles and disciples did 2,000 years ago – as they are not perfect, but come with all their weaknesses and strengths, responding with a willingness to follow Christ and to live as best they can a holy life and engage in the Mission of Jesus with others called by Christ,” Sister Amy added.
Pope John Paul II established the World Day for Consecrated Life in 1997. He said that the celebration was “intended to help the entire Church to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels and, at the same time, is intended to be a suitable occasion for consecrated persons to renew their commitment and rekindle the fervor which should inspire their offering of themselves to the Lord.”
The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life invites all members of the Church to reflect on the role of Consecrated Life within the Christian community. Those who choose to live a consecrated life do so for the sake of the Gospel.
Sister Charlotte Brungardt told parishioners in Scott City and Dighton that “members of religious congregations accept the challenge to keep Jesus visible in the midst of the world, to live lives that witness the gospel message.
“I loved the Sisters who were my grade school teachers and I wanted to be like them,” she said. “I saw happy women who lived lives of service.”
“Religious men and women hear the Word of God and allow that Word to be spoken through their lives, and so to the world,” Sister Gemma Doll told Plains, Meade and Fowler Catholics. “I didn’t hear thunder from heaven or see visions – but I felt a persistent yearning to serve. I had this dream of loving Christ with my whole heart.”
Sister Rose Mary Stein is a pastoral ministry at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She told cathedral parishioners that “an essential aspect of consecrated life is prayer. As consecrated women we are to rediscover, through prayer and meditation, how to follow Jesus – the chaste, poor, and obedient one.”
Sister Diane Traffas told Catholics in Ness City that “prayer is the most essential aspect of our vocation. It is prayer that keeps us grounded and fortifies our relationship with the Father.”
Sister Celeste Albers said that her “call to religious life reveals an intimacy with God in which God alone is my Love and my life, and every relationship I have flows through that divine love.”
Speaking to parishioners at St. Patrick worship site in Great Bend, she told them that “my life of celibacy is grounded in my deep and personal relationship with Jesus, my Beloved. It gives me the freedom to love every person, and especially to reach out to those in need who are considered by our society as the unlovables.”
Sister Janice Thome told parishioners of Marienthal, Leoti and Tribune that “God gave me a wish to be involved with a wider range of people than a family unit. So becoming a Sister gave me an enormous number of people with which to interact and serve....
“For me the title ‘Sister’ means being a sister to all people. Being a Sister provides me with a group of religious women to share and support a life of growing ever closer to God.”
“Consecrated life is a life that seeks to give God first place in our hearts and our actions.”
Sister Martina Stegman told parishioners in LaCrosse, Timken and Liebenthal, “I truly feel the call was a gift to me, a gift to my family, and a gift to the Church,”